In Nutrition

July 01, 2010

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Chris Mason outlines a plan of attack for CrossFit competitors interested in using supplements in hopes of increasing their performances.

The CrossFit Games: perhaps a truer test of human fitness has never been devised. For my money, the winner of the CrossFit Games is the true embodiment and owner of the title of World’s Fittest Man or Woman.

Winning or even competing in the CrossFit Games is the ultimate goal for many CrossFit practitioners. For those of you who currently compete or want to compete in the future, the balance of this article will focus on one specific aspect of CrossFit performance optimization that has unfortunately heretofore been somewhat overlooked: supplementation.

Until quite recently, supplementation was not part of the collective CrossFit consciousness. This was, perhaps, part of the CrossFit community’s generalized disdain for hyper-consumerism. CrossFit collectively is a no-nonsense, results-driven methodology, and the grossly exaggerated claims and misrepresentations that are so pervasive in the supplement industry simply have no place in the minds and hearts of its practitioners. You know the sayings: “600 percent increase in your bench press!” “Mind-blowing pumps!” etc.

Whatever the cause, I am glad to see the CrossFit brass willing to allow me to present my thoughts on the subject for the consideration of its practitioners. I truly respect the fact that those at the corporate level for CrossFit value the feedback of their members sufficiently to do so.

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106 Comments on “Supplementation for Competition”

1

wrote …

Glad to see an article like this. I would probably add caffeine to this list as well...

2

wrote …

Chris,

How does Microlactin compare to Glutamine to aid in recovery?

3

wrote …

any info or studies on citriline malate that anyone has seen

4

wrote …

Fish oil?

5

replied to comment from James Galon

Good point, and one I agree with. I think I skipped it because I see caffeine as so pervasive that it is already used by the vast majority.

Thanks for the compliment!

6

wrote …

I thought creatine was bad and mostly induced water retention making you look puffy. (but i am not knowledgeable at all)

Would doing a "cycle" help you build up, or would you loose the benefits once you stop consuming it?

7

replied to comment from Richard Edwards

Biased though I may be, I think it is far superior. I have never really considered glutamine to really be an ergogen for most well fed trainees as they already consume huge quantities of protein and thus glutamine.

8

replied to comment from Jon Haase

Definitely, but I was going for performance enhancers with this article and fish oil is more of general health supplement in my mind.

9

replied to comment from Juan Bermudez

You are definitely misinformed relative to creatine. Read the article and do some more independent research (Pubmed.com is great!).

If you were to use creatine for 30-60 days and then cease use you would lose some of its benefits, but not all. With continued training and proper diet you should be able to retain the muscle that creatine helps to build, but you will lose its strength endurance aid as your phosphocreatine levels will fall back to normal.

10

wrote …

Nice subject to touch on Chris. How important are the times in which these supplements are to be consumed to enhance performance?

11

wrote …

Supplements? Really?

What ever happened to Meats & veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruits, little starch, no sugar??

I came out of bodybuilding and the supplement world- I spent 6 years dumping that stuff into my body, and at great economic expense: my protein ran $80/bucket, and I dropped $65/month on animal pak vitamins. If it was legal, I tried it; Creatine, Carnitine, Glutamine, stacks, Casein, green tea extract, thermogens, and more shit than I can remember.

Out of all of it, I know one thing for certain; Most of it was worthless, and, with a few exceptions, what did work was WAY too expensive to make it worth my while.

I don't see why anyone should be dumping supplement advice into the journal; especially not someone who gains financially from hocking the stuff on here. Yeah, I get it- Thoughtful discussion and debate, must allow people to make their choice, if you don't like it, don't read it, yadda yadda, garbage, garbage, etc, etc- but it wasn't too long ago that this sort of thing was considered ridiculous by the community; indeed, supplements- and folks admitting to taking them- were openly mocked on the message boards.

Why the sudden change?? Now its cool and proper to take all this crap? And on advice from someone who stands to gain financially from convincing us to buy them?

One of the things that appealed to me about Crossfit was its reliance on a clean, natural diet, competition or not; When did we get into supplement advertising? I can see if someone wants to give you cash to put their name on a poster board, but allowing them an official forum to hock their wares is a tad hypocritical for a movement that has spent its entire existence trashing commercial supplements as relatively worthless, don't you think?

I won't even mention the fact that At-Large Nutrition- which Chris Mason owns- is an official sponsor of the Crossfit Games, which strikes me as just a tad odd that Crossfit finally allows this stuff to go up when a company throws money at it.

Now, I know it's business, and I know Chris sees an untapped outlet here, and is going for it; Good for him- I respect that, businessman to businessman. Its a fast-growing untapped market, and there's cash to be made. However, I hope Crossfit HQ will try to be a little less obvious next time they sell out and change their stance because there's money to be made.

12

replied to comment from Jason Ashman

Your opinion is fine and good for the average CrossFit practioner. However, his article was very-much oriented to individuals who either are, or desire to, compete at the CrossFit games level. From all of the descriptions, which we have been told the benefits of before, all seem to work for some form of health and performance enhancement.

Perhaps nobody wanted to go in-depth on supplements in a CrossFit article, but these supplements are frequently recommended on the message board, so I am not even sure you know what you're talking about. There have also been home-made videos of athletes talking about the diets they may, or may not, use and supplements they may, or may not, take.

It isn't our fault you decided to try bodybuilding AND dumped a lot of money into supplements. I spend $20/bucket on protien, $20 per bottle of simple creatine monohydrate and $10 on vitamins. Those last more than a month, each.

Next thing we know, you're going to be standing outside GNC with a posterboard and Michael Moore.

13

wrote …

Nice intro article. Thanks for the info.

14

wrote …

Michael Moore! Nice.

15

wrote …

Question regarding the bit on creatine (not being argumentative, simply curious and generating some debate).

Your article suggests that creatine supplements can help the user synthesize ATP after the initial stores of phosphocreatine in the muscle are used up (which is only a few seconds of work at high intensity). Continuing muscle contractions in the absence of phosphocreatine still requires some form energy, of which the next available source is glucose, and the glycogen pathway to create ATP - phosphocreatine doesn't play a role in that pathway. Otherwise, what you're saying is that creatine can "prolong" the phosphocreatine energy pathway by increasing stores in the muscle, but the benefits here would be negligible at best simply because there is a finite amount of phosphocreatine that can be stored in the muscle cells.

However, I do think creatine deserves a place in the PWO recovery plan. Phosphocreatine is the body's first wave of energy for any movement - adding it to a PWO drink may help refuel the muscles' immediate energy and aiding in the "supercompensation" aspect of recovery - more calories and nutrients can be used to rebuild instead of refuel.

My two cents, would love to hear some more about it from other Crossfitters.

16

replied to comment from Jason Ashman

Sorry to hear you feel as you do. Did you even read the article? I am guessing you and I really feel a lot more similarly about supps than you think.

I totally agree that there are very few supps that make a difference, but I also KNOW that some do. You can choose not to optimize your performance, but that doesn't mean your choice is right for everyone.

With respect to health, there is NOTHING I have recommended that will in any way compromise an athletes health, quite the contrary actually.

17

replied to comment from Gregory Scott

Gregory, the phosphocreatine component is what adds to muscular endurance (in this case, the ability to get a few extra reps with a given load etc.). That is not the only manner in which creatine may benefit the athlete as mentioned in the article.

18

replied to comment from N Selemon

Thank you!

19

replied to comment from Adam Shreim

Excellent points.

20

wrote …

Oh, and Jason Ashman, my next article will be about training and have zero to do with nutrition or supplementation :).

21

wrote …

I know the literature supports the claims that creatine can boost anaerobic performance but I used it for around 4 months and I have to say that if there was a difference it was so small that I didn't notice it. I didn't even gain any weight from it nor lose any when I stopped using it. Maybe I would need to do a couple of 225 bench tests for max reps or something to see if there are any improvements with the creatine, but how would I really even know if it was the creatine or if I just got stronger the next time I did it.
I have to totally agree on the protein powder for post workout nutrition, it is so easy to down a whack load of protein immediately after a workout and that gives my body something to work with while I shower, drive home, prepare and cook something real to eat. One of my favourites is a heaping scoop of whey protein, a tablespoon of cocoa powder, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and the rest whole goats milk. Delish!

22

wrote …

The ability to quantify the potential changes that accompany supplement use is really where the rubber hits the road. For the Games athlete, a 1% improvement is worth the cost and 'hassle.' For the average Crossfitter, what would be a worthwhile improvement? 10 more pounds on a deadlift? 1 minute off your filthy fifty time? The ability to walk away from Fran without a collapse on the floor? As a markedly average Crossfitter (I'm not who this article was written for) I don't think the improvements are likely worth my money and the extra time to buy and mix the stuff for shakes or the extra pills.

Maybe I am missing out on something by not taking some of these. It would be interesting to hear/see some scientifically-backed results on the effects of taking some of these supplements for the average crossfitter's performance. Anything like that out there?

23

wrote …

Why does this article not use proper citation? Surely, Chris, you haven't researched all of those 'facts' on your own?


"Until quite recently, supplementation was not part of the collective Crossfit consciousness."

Who says? Do you have proof? What's recently? Does fish oil not count? Beyond fish oil, how do you know that many, if not all, CF athletes use supplements? There is a video with Josh Everett explaining an 'average day' of eating. He is used supplements, he is one of the original CF legends.


"A loading phase may not be necessary, but consuming 20 grams per day for the first seven days of use is recommended, followed by a maintenance dose of 5-10 grams per day."

Is the loading phase necessary or not? There is either evidence for it, or there is not. This is simply anecdotal - something your article was seemingly trying to avoid.

You talk about Beta-Alanine increasing carnosine stores (and carnosine allows for more work to be done). Is the average person low on carnosine? low on beta-alanine? Does increasing my intramuscular carnosine actually improve my performance or do I just need "enough" carnosine? If it does, can I increase my carnosine infinitely and do infinitely more work?

Why do I require beta alanine and creatine for 2 months before a contest? Which of the supplements are health promoting? If I don't take those ones, will I be less healthy?

I appreciate that you are trying to clear up the jungle of supplementation choices, but you did not do enough to prove it to me. You don't have to answer any of the above questions, unless you want to. These were just my thoughts as I was reading the article. (Yes, I know, I probably scrutinized it more than necessary.) I'm not even against supplementation. I just don't see how this info is different than if I had of walked into a nutrition store and talked to the guy behind the desk.

I want evidence, not opinion.

24

replied to comment from Adam Shreim

Michael Moore is boycotting supplements now?

Geez, you'd think if there was one guy that could use some fat burners......

At the time, bodybuilding was all that existed where I lived; Crossfit was 3 or 4 affiliates strong, (and buried in the Southwest US) and strength & conditioning was the odd stuff only specialized coaches did with athletes, none of it anywhere near Windsor, Ontario. When I was lifting, the cutting edge of fitness was Paul Chek. As for supplement costs, I spent MONTHS researching supplements, and bought only the highest quality stuff on the market, mostly from (at the time) small independent labs who worked by reputation instead of 8 page ads in M&F.

I don't consider any of it a waste; Education is seldom cheap.

Chris....

Understand, my beef has nothing to do with your article, and more to do with HQ suddenly changing their stance on supplements, and for a sponsor no less.

I'll try a clumsy comparison to see if I can clarify my position;

Supplements are used by folks in Crossfit. Very likely though, so are steroids. Both go against what Crossfit has been preaching, regardless of legalities. Louie Simmons considers steroids to be an acceptable training supplement for powerlifting; Therefore I'd not be surprised to see articles pop up on Westside from time to time regarding their use, simply because they're an accepted part of the dogma there. But folks'd go apeshit if an article on steroids showed up here.

It's an extreme comparison, and it should be taken in scale; The reaction to folks using supplements was similar- albeit considerably smaller in scale and intensity- to the reaction of folks here when they got wind of Louie advocating steroids for his top powerlifters; Crossfit was anti-steroids, so there was general horror and gnashing of teeth at the thought of Simmons as an SME.

As I said, Crossfitters on the message boards not so long ago would openly mock those taking supplements, and the topic itself was essentially verboten; You said as much in your article; "Until quite recently, supplementation was not part
of the collective CrossFit consciousness". In fact, IIRC, I believe the only other time it's officially come up is when one firebreather did a journal video "video blog" on why he takes supplements. As I said, scale; Its not "apeshit", but its not exactly profound and willing acceptance, either.

My issue isn't that it's been written, or by whom, its that- regardless of anything else- since it goes against everything Crossfit has recommended for a LONG time, an article on supplements should never have been allowed to make the journal, and the reasons it's up seem to have more to do with sponsorship dollars than anything else. I guess it becomes a question of integrity at HQ. I'd have the same issues if the dude from Progrenex had written this. The question I could ask you is simple; If At-Large Nutrition wasn't a Games sponsor, would this article be up here?

Regardless, I've said my piece; I've had issues with various stuff that's been posted on here before, and always taken the time to voice my displeasure in a coherent and mature manner. And, if you (or Adam) want, Flint's only three hours from my house; I'd be happy to drop an At-Large catalog at Mr. Moore's house next time I'm in Michigan. :-P

I do look forward to your next article; This was was well-written, regardless of my issues with policy changes from HQ. I doubt you'll hear complaints from me about it. :-)

25

replied to comment from Jeff Chester

Matt Solomon,

As I mentioned to the other fellow Pubmed.com is a great resource. In terms of citations, I have garnered a lot of information over the years and I can't honestly tell you where I have gotten it all from. It would be very difficult to reference which particular study provided me which idea.

Nothing I mentioned in that article with respect to the supplements themselves is totally opinion (opinion is present, but not pervasive), it is all research backed. Again, do a few searches on Pubmed.com and you will find a lot of information which should help you to satisfy your curiosity.

I think many of your questions were answered in the article itself. For instance, I think I clearly outlined the case for Beta-Alanine yet you asked why would you need it 2 months out from a competition? You could certainly take it year round, but the 2 month period would allow for the carnosine build-up and for said build-up to aid your training. I would call that a minimum period.

One thing to remember is that I cannot write a Russian novel for an article. Total detail is precluded for the sake of brevity.


26

replied to comment from Jason Ashman

Jason,

One point I would like to clarify is that HQ made it abundantly clear to me that their stance is let CFers make the decision on supplements. I think, I hope that they have the confidence I am someone who will present what I consider to be sound and honest advice on the topic. In other words, I am not the typical supplement company owner. Once I have presented my case HQ wants the CF body to consider it and make a call. I think that is fair and falls completely in line with what I perceive is a major strength of CF, that it is constantly growing via incorporating the best of the fitness world. In other words, much like Louie Simmons tries new methods and keeps those that work, CF does the same and that is what makes both so successful.

Chris

27

replied to comment from Jeff Chester

Jeff, you bring up an excellent point. Not everyone benefits from creatine use. The vast majority do, but some are what is referred to as 'non-responders' and you sound like you fit the bill. Keep in mind that no supplement or drug is universally effective. There is a strata of effects for all of them.

28

replied to comment from Chris Mason

Pubmed is a great resource. I do not doubt that you have acquired a considerable amount of knowledge on the topic. Your article would have more weight with citations.

You outlined Beta-Alanine, and stated the minimum period. Without evidence, this is your opinion. I don't need to give evidence as to why jumping out of a plane without a parachute is more dangerous than jumping with a parachute. It is THAT obvious. I interpreted the goal of your article as trying to be a better resource than a sales pitch. So far, it is not.

"Joe Researcher proved that Beta-Alanine provides maximal benefit after 2 months of use." sounds a lot more convincing than "In my experience, 2 months of Beta-Alanine is needed."

29

wrote …

I agree with Josh, Matt amd Jason that any talk of supplements here should come from someone not peddling the products he's hyping, and quantify typical results from usage so that readers can make a better decision about what to put in their bodies and spend their money on.

30

wrote …

So Sam...

No nutrition advice from Dr Sears?

No training advice from an affiliate owner?

No video on weightlifting equipment from the guys at Eleiko?

No advice on indoor rowing from Concept 2?

etc

31

wrote …

Not a bad article, and I appreciate the authors' experience as given in the article, I would like to ask that if one is going to rely on "scientific" evidence to support ones argument, that said evidence be listed so that it may be reviewed for relevance.

As any thinking crossfitter should know there is a large gap between opinion and evidence and should therefore take opinion for what it is worth.

If one sees reason to object or support Mr. Masons' opinions one should bring evidence (published research, or empirical data) not other opinion.

Thank you for the article, it will give the thinking crossfitter a good place to start in their self experimentation.

Justin Craft CRNA MSc.

32


I do agree that supplementation is a slipperly slope. Whether they are only a natural and basically concentrated foodstuff, it still puts the emphasis on an external factor that is responsible for ones performance, rather than one's own natural ability.

However the fact that they are only concentrated foodstuff may give Creatine, Fish Oil, etc a pass, for those who want to use them. They are not as tasty as a broiled steak or salmon, but on the other hand there is a time and caloric savings.

My main concern would be for a substance like Creatine, is that in response to a regular external supply of it, the body can minimize production pathways of its own. Consequently, when stopping supplementation, or when supplementation isn't enough, i wonder whether the body's own production would be handicapped to some degree. This is a natural body response, when body chemicals are supplied externally. One example is Cortisone (prednisone), taken only when medically neccessary, which I personally experienced. So I would personally only use supplements for a few days prior to and after competition, to minimize this sometimes noted after-effect.

Another concern would be in the crucible of competition, whether the same effects and impact noted in controlled lab tests actually accrue. That is something that hasn't been tested yet most likely, so it would be something of a test on its own to see if there is an acutal improvement in one's times.

So in summary, if the supplement is a body chemical that is only synthesized internally in the body, then I wouldn't touch it. However if it is found in foods and in merely concentrated form, I wouldn't make too much of it, either way, and hopefully neither would you.

33

wrote …

So much for simple nutrition doing the trick. I'm disturbed to know that it's not the athlete and his/her ability and his simple nutritional program that is winning events at the CrossFit Games. Give me an athlete who takes no supplements and relies on his/her own abilities to get the job done and win events and I'll give you MUCH more respect and admiration. Real athletes are just that - real. No use of supplements. It's why I have much more respect for athletes in the pre-supplement era.

I could almost go to the outrageous point and consider any supplement and steroid use to be cheating and not worthy of being at the Games (disqualified).

34

wrote …

I think in today's times, with the way the food industry has destroyed foods, we do not get the nutrients we need in an American balanced diet. YEs we can buy local or grass fed meats and vegetables, etc, but we still live a slightly nutrient deprived life. Are we better than Joe Q. Public eating his Wendy's and Subway, yes, but everyone is still lacking.

Everyone takes supplements, whether it is a multi-vitamin, fish oil, Vitamin D (which is just as important as anything listed in this article), zinc, vitamin C, calcium, etc. Supplementation is something which may be necessary for all CrossFit athletes due to what we do when we are in the gym.

One of the things which has always struck me as a positive about CrossFit is that no matter what, the JOurnal has always been a source for me to start being an informed consumer. You may not agree with the principle of supplementation with the likes of creatine and Beta-alanine, as it is not the pure, idealistic version of what CrossFit is to you, however, it is out there, and people are going to take it. Some will do their own research, others like to be told this is better than that. The decision to take supplements, just like the decision to take steroids, comes down to ones own personal stance and commitment to that stance.

Most of these supplements are legal, well-researched, and legitimate training aids. I take this article as a starting point for individuals who are considering supplements, or are taking an abundance and wasting their money on crap, to be more informed in their decision making process. Is the author an owner of a supplement company, yes, however, he is not saying his brand is superior over competitors. The article is broad based, with the basic scientific knowledge of how these things work.

35

replied to comment from Jason Ashman

Well said...

36

wrote …

Good article on some basic supplements for those looking to push the limits of their performance. As he stated in the article, these may not be for everyone and may not work for everyone, but gives a great place to start for those looking. Chris has given us some great information in the journal in this article and others, as well as been active in answering any and all questions people have about them. He has also been helpful in answering questions about some of the Westside methods we've all been introduced to and been active in discussions on the message boards. Anyone saying he is only here to promote his company should think again. Thanks Chris for all the great info you've given us on nutrition and training! And thanks to those in charge of the journal for publishing a broad spectrum of information for us to read and learn about.

37

replied to comment from Sam Ser

Sam, there is no mention of any of my products in the article proper. In fact, each and every supplement mentioned can be bought from numerous sources.

38

replied to comment from Larry Bro

Larry, creatine is found in all (I believe all) meats.

39

replied to comment from Nick Williams

I Agree with Nick...

40

replied to comment from Tyler Sullivan

Tyler,

Given your point of view, would not something like the Zone or Paleo diets be very similar? They are purposeful manipulation of food intake to achieve a desired goal. In other words, in your world you would not "naturally" consume those specific foods as prescribed in the diets. Even if you lived on the African plains you would not have access to the assortment of foods you might consume on a Paleo diet.

Chris

41

replied to comment from Tyler Sullivan

One more point here Tyler. There is no such thing as a pre-supplement athlete. Here is an excerpt from a study:

Popular Ergogenic Drugs and Supplements in Young Athletes
Ryan Calfee, MD, Paul Fadale, MD

"HISTORY OF DRUGS IN SPORTS
Drug use by athletes to improve performance is not a
new practice. As early as BC 776, the Greek Olympians
were reported to use substances such as dried figs, mushrooms,
and strychnine to perform better.7"

You may want to reconsider your stance. I think you have a common misconception that supplements like creatine are somehow akin to steroids. Creatine occurs naturally in the body and can be obtained from foods. It is not a hormone. It is safe and has antioxidant properties which may actually BENEFIT health.

Chris

42

wrote …

Judah:

Thank you for your perspective!

Nicolas:

Reading what your wrote really made my day! Thank you!

43

replied to comment from Matt Solomon

Matt,

While I somewhat agree with your point, referencing a study does not make said study's results an irrefutable fact. For instance, I could reference you studies which show that anabolic steroids don't make people bigger and stronger. Based upon your statements here I am concerned you might then come to the conclusion that they do not work.

My evidence would be empirical with a TON of athletes whom have used the supplement.

Beyond that, here is a study which showed a benefit after 6 weeks of use:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19210788

Just an FYI, I chose 2 months because I know from empirical observation that Beta-Alanine takes 10-12 days to really kick-in for most users. The timeframe beyond that was to allow its training enhancing effects to help produce results.

You are free to try my recommendation and see what you think. You may feel a different minimal timeframe is in order.

44

Charles Charbeneau wrote …

A simple series of questions:

If Mike Burgener told you to go out and buy a pair of lifting shoes to add 10lbs to your clean, would you do it without asking for citation? Why or why not?

If Barry Sears suggested you buy a specific type of fish oil for maximized response (and he just happened to sell it, but doesn't mention it), would you do it? Why or why not?

If Dr. Romanov suggested you by specific shoes to maximize your running efficiency (say, the Mizuno Wave Universe 3), would you consider it? Why or why not?

45

replied to comment from Charles Charbeneau

To answer your question: No, I would not follow blindly. Perhaps you're different.

Further: If Chris were saying, "My athletes used this supplement and got these results," that would be interesting. Instead, he's saying, "You should all be taking supplements. By the way, I sell supplements." I'm sure he's on the up-and-up, but it's still not the way I would do things.

46

wrote …

I was sooo surprised reading this article that the first supplement mentioned was creatine?!?! Ok, I realize everyone is different and maybe I screwed up preparing for my competition but I figured creatine was by far the worst thing I could have done to myself prior to the regional qualifier. I felt amazing for sectionals and it went to $@#% for the regionals. Mind you I started taking it 3 weeks out but by the time I was at the competition, I had no muscle endurance (relatively) and put on about 14 pounds. My strength did go up slightly but at what cost... To not have any endurance. That's not a good trade off.

I did change a few other things but this one thing really did jump out at me that brought me downhill. Since I've been off creatine, my work capacity is slowly coming back to what I was used to a few months ago.

Well, that's my 2 cents and I will never supplement creatine again... That's for sure.

47

I never answered the questions myself (but it is sufficient to say that I wouldn't follow blindly). I was, however, attempting to frame the suggestions of this article as what they are (or at least appear to be to me); The information of an (arguably) knowledgeable expert directed at a specific subset of athletes. Marginally attempting to ask the question that Coached asked in his most recent video, "What body of evidence would be required to get you to change your mind?" Or, in this case "What body of evidence would be required to get you to consider his argument?"

He didn't say "You should all be taking supplements." Quite the contrary. He also didn't pimp his retail ability any more than any other expert that has produced content for this site in the past.

Let's be clear, I don't supplement, I'm not an elite athlete and I have no stake in this argument save the honesty of it. I also think that there was a significant lack of supporting data in the article, or at least external citation. That being said, I also read the article for the data it did provide, and under the context it was given and instead of attacking the source will ask for clarification and specific data before formulating an opinion.

48

wrote …

I'm not against supplement articles but I think it should include some empirical evidence especially if the author is in the business of selling supplements.

You train athletes right Chris? Why not do a study for us? Show us how each $ we spend on supplements shaves X seconds off our named workouts. And what's the impact of quality? Is there a significant difference between your $15 container of protein at walmart vs your $50 container from progenex?

As an average consumer, all we hear from supplement companies is that each product has an intrinsic value (clinically proven to increase your performance!). But what I really want to know is what's the value/cost. $50/month*12 months=$600 to add 15lbs to your deadlift? Certainly clinically proven but worth it? No thanks

49

wrote …

Dear HQ,

I have no issues with you raising the annual Journal fee by 2 dollars to include a box of tissues with each Journal subscription for some of the "more sensitive" clientele, I think it's only fair.

Hurdle The Weak, Trample The dead
Eat The Meat Cut The Fat
Train Harder

50

wrote …

I do not think that creatine should be used for CrossFit purposes. My reasoning behind this is that creatine uses water for its muscle enhancement purposes, so if you start becoming dehydrated during your FGB, EVA, or Fran workout what do you think will happen? That has been my experience anyways. With creatine supplementation my endurance was worthless, without it I get through the WODs much quicker and the strength gains were negligible. I never experimented with beta al since my bodybuilding days because of the creatine fiasco when I started CrossFit.

51

wrote …

Chris, thanks for the article. I am an average CF athlete who does not regiment my nutrition strictly or take any supplements. Walking into a GNC is completely overwhelming. I am not ready to take supplements, but this article gave a very clear, unbiased breakdown of where to begin if I ever chose to.

There's nothing in this article that makes me feel like I need to go out & start supplementing right now. Quite the contrary. It clearly states that this should be considered only at the highest level of competition - which would basically be AFTER one has made all possible gains from dieting & exercise.

52

wrote …

Although generally a good overview of these supplements, one point that was neglected was the possibility that supplements can reduce performance. Like some others who've commented, I came to CrossFit from a bodybuilding-style regimen and tried a ton of different supplements. I saw more performance gains from wholesome eating and CrossFit than from several years of bodybuilding-style training. While creatine seemed to help with size, one thing that I found personally is that creatine markedly increases my muscle soreness during metcons. Anyone else had this experience?

53

replied to comment from Jason Ashman

The more CrossFit grows, the more diverse it will become. I enjoyed your posts and Chris's rebuttals. Good stuff, well stated. The open-source nature of CF is bound to generate some progress that some would prefer not see. In regards to the $$$ and a sponsor writing this article...I guess I'm desensitized cuz I'm cool with it.

Everyone considering buying supplements should pick up the latest copy of Consumer Reports Magazine who did a great write up on proteins and the potential dangers with some leading brands.

The key to successful supplementation is first and foremost SAFETY. In an unregulated industry, sourcing and quality becomes critical. Your life may depend on it.

54

wrote …

This article seems more like an advertisement, something I would see in Muscle and Fitness, an ad disguised as an article. Beware of the supplementation path, it is a slippery slope.


That being said, creatine does seem legitimate. I have access to many academic journals and there are hundreds of scientific articles backing many of the beneficial claims of creatine use. However, the loading phase is unnecessary and more a marketing ploy than anything else (to make you use more.)Just go with 5mg/day for one month on and one month off, this will be beneficial for you on your heavy days.


For CrossFitters though there are some negative consequences to creatine supplementation. There are reports of increased cramping during supplementation cycles. Also, military trainers seem to caution against creatine use in their ranks, citing stiffness, cramping and overall decreased output in endurance based workouts.


If CrossFitters do want to use creatine they should cycle it one month on and one month off as this allows the heightened creatine levels to drop back to normal range. The recommended 2 week "off" period is not long enough for this to occur. It could be detrimental for a CrossFit athlete to have an "on" cycle too close to competition for the reasons mentioned above. Such use is not recommended unless the athlete has tested creatine supplementation in competition-like multi-WOD days.


As for the rest of the supplements the author of this article recommends they should at this time be avoided. Many supplements have become popular and then fallen out of favour; creatine has stood the test of time and research, the others have not.


The "Anabolic Window" post-exercise is more extensively written about than creatine.You should get simple carbs and a small amount of protein (1:4 ratio protein:carbs) immediately after exercise. You should also have a good meal, liquid or solid (including 20+ grams protein) within 1 hour to 1.5 hours post-exercise.


You don't have to use Why Protein in your post-exercise shake, especially if it gives you gas or indigestion, this is a sign that you should not be taking such a supplement. Other powders exist on the market such as Hemp Protein, Rice Protein, Pea Protein, etc. These proteins are often attacked as not being "complete" but such a notion is false. If you are worried about the amino acid profile, just take 1/5 of a scoop more, this will make up for any gain from Whey.


You also do not need refined sugar or Gatorade type drinks. Try blending dates (which contain glucose) with some lemon juice, agave nectar or honey, and your protein source. Again, be sure to shoot for your 4:1 (carbs:protein) ratio.


Good luck athletes. Always remember, diet is far more important than any supplements.

55

replied to comment from Jason Ashman

Do you see Orlando, Khalipa, Salo or Hackenbruck using supplements? No. The only drug you need is willpower. You can't buy willpower.

56

watch the video of coach glassman talking about endorsement vs. sponsorship. that should answer your question about that issue

57

Umm... Does Progenex count as a supplement company?

58

Jay Ashman wrote …

Jason stole my thunder, the two Ashman's unite for a common cause yet again...

I'll say this once, and say it as eloquently as I can. This is hypocrisy. On one hand you are preaching "better living through food" and on the other hand "supplementation MAY push you to be a better athlete".

I've been around the lifting world long enough to know that supplements work... when combined with a balanced diet, and I've ALSO been around long enough that an endorsement like this doesn't come "free". You are pushing Progenex and At-Large down our throats just like you push the Zone down our throats.

Maybe you need supplements to ward off muscle atrophy after eating 11 blocks a day? Maybe some people are too naive to realize the double message here.

This isn't a random guy posting an article, like say me, about the benefits of egg white protein powder for an athlete. This is the owner of a supplement company writing an article for the company who's "games" he is sponsoring. This reminds me of an ad in MuscleMag for MuscleTech but this time the bottom footer of "advertisement" is missing on this one.

This, like the Glassman evolution article, is a joke. I don't care about what Mason says, hell... he isn't wrong in saying that supplementation works, but he is a paid sponsor, the agenda is PLAINLY clear. Its like "dude, sponsor the games and we'll publish an article about at large on the journal so every firebreathing follower who does as we say can spend their money with you".

Don't take this as an attack on supplements, I take some and they help. Take this as an attack on your so-called "anti-hyper-consumerism" and the blatant hyprocrisy you are now showing by SHOWCASING a consumer product, and not because they may be good... but because they are a sponsor.

And save the HQ posturing and rationale, again. That's exactly what this looks like or why would you have changed your stance so quickly as soon as 2 supplement companies get involved with the games.

59

replied to comment from Jay Ashman

"Maybe you need supplements to ward off muscle atrophy after eating 11 blocks a day?"

Haha this made me lol. So true.

60

replied to comment from Sam Ser

Sam,

If it helps my athletes hold all-time records in several weight classes. That makes them the best ever. :)

In truth, I did not use that tact because I think it is overplayed and appears disingenuous. The truth is some of the best in the world use our products of their own free will because they like them and feel they work.

Chris

61

replied to comment from Mike Eberts

Mike,

What you are describing makes no sense. Creatine will not impair your work capacity. In addition, I have never known ANYONE that gained 14 lbs from creatine. Most people will gain 2-4 lbs from its use. I think more of the weight you gained was from fat than muscle hence the reduction in work capacity.

Chris

62

replied to comment from Michael Miller

Michael, your understanding of creatine and how it works is quite flawed. My only guess is that you used one of the typical cheap creatine products which are high in impurities thus causing bloating and possibly the effects you mentioned.

Chris

63

replied to comment from Steve Macdonald

Steve,

First, the fact that you are mentioning cramping and creatine use indicates to me you really don't have a solid handle on the topic. That is a myth that has been disproven in the lab over and over again since creatine was used as the scapegoat for a high school football player's dehydration and subsequent death during practice years and years ago. The myth keeps getting perpetuated by people like yourself who present themselves as authorities and then present flawed information.

I am not mad at you, I simply know that you are lacking information on the subject. As studies seem to hold a lot of credence with this audience, here is an abstract from a meta-analyses of the topic:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19295968

Here is an even better one with the title: "Putting to rest the myth of creatine supplementation leading to muscle cramps and dehydration."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18184753

64

replied to comment from Chris Costelloe

Have you spoken with those gentlemen personally to know they do not use any supplements?

65

replied to comment from Jay Ashman

If you actually knew the truth about how our sponsorship came about you would truly be embarrassed by your statement.

You can think what you want, but that does not make your opinion objective fact.

First, yes, I would like to sell products to CrossFitters. I own a business. To stay in business I need to sell supplements.

The above fact does not negate the message. If my business fails and I no longer own a supplement company you can bet your buttocks that I will still endorse intelligent supplementation (which I define as using a limited number of proven supplements in proven doses).

Guess what supplements I personally use? Exactly those I have recommended.

A BIG reason I wrote the article is because I personally feel that CFers who want to compete and do not use the supps I recommend are short changing themselves. I will say it again, they can take my products or someone else's, I just want them to consider and hopefully adopt their use for their benefit.

As ANYONE who has met me at ANY of the powerlifting certs, I am not some slimeball shilling crap. I recommend what I feel is best. That's it.

Chris

66

replied to comment from Sean Bynon

Great points Sean.

67

replied to comment from Chris Costelloe

Seriously? You think none of them at least use protein powder and fish oil? What a ridiculous statement to make. The whole line about a healthy diet being all you need has always been crap. People who train heavy and hard need additional shit that you can't get from food. A large number of CFers do not fall into this category however. Doing 30 minute met-cons every day and strength work once a month doesn't really require the use of anything.

68

replied to comment from Chris Mason

Chris, I think this is the significant point. You might buy some cred for yourself and your business with a well written article, but it's not as if you're pumping proprietary products. The ones you mention can be found from many sources. At least one of these was already mentioned by Mr. Progenex in those awesome vids from a couple months back.

At any rate, in my cycles of focus which run from "workout to live don't live to workout" to "I just have to make some Fing progress now!" I get curious about what might work. Will give some of this a try 'next cycle.' Paul

69

wrote …

Lots of respect to Chris Mason for being active in the comments. There are plenty of writers who would run and hide after being attacked by so many. I love that he is willing to address all comments, both positive & negative. Way to stand by your message, Chris. I seem to recall this same scenario with an earlier article from Chris. Don't recall the subject, but I remember the same stand-up attitude. Good for you.

70

Hi Chris,

I understand the Creatine is found in food, and made that point in fact.
That makes it realatively safe, but the amount that is taken gives it
the potential to down-regulate the body's own production mechanisim. And from the little that I've read on the subject, this is a concern, and users to recommend cycling on and off the stuff...

To each their own ...

Larry

71

replied to comment from Paul Eich

Thank you Paul!

72

replied to comment from Donovan Conrad

Thanks Donovan!

73

replied to comment from Larry Bro

Larry, why would it be a concern? If I recall correctly the body produces somewhere in the 1-2g/day range for most (I could be off on this - just going by memory). If one did stop using creatine and the body produced less for a period of time, one could merely focus on consuming a bit more creatine rich foods for a period of time to allow the body to kick production back in gear.

74

wrote …

So many Crossfitters are failing to see that there are two sides to CrossFit. The competition side, and the workout program side that benefits people from all walks of life. Old men and women who struggle climbing a flight of stairs need CF more than us former athletes looking to find ways to tap into our competitive side.

My point is, elite competative CFters like Khalipa and Mikko are looking for any advantage they can get (legally and safely of course). Try finding a pro/olympic/elite athlete that doesn't have a locker full of supps. It's just a reality of modern day athletes of all types. This article is long overdue and geared for the competative CFter, ie the people who call CF their sport.

Of course the average CF box member doesn't need these supplements. I just hope that the integrity of CF doesn't get compromised by the sport side and steer away other non-competative CFters.

Good article and I like how the list was brief and all the supplements were highly researched and backed by much science.

This just a thought for those who are anti-supplement. Do you think wearing Skins during/after competition is 'cheating.' What about ice baths? How about taking an IV full of fluids, sodium, and sugar between WOD's during the Games? Pro athletes do it all the time. Just food for thought and also trying to get the point across that there is a competition and non-competition side to CF.

75

Julianne Taylor wrote …

I do CrossFit just to keep fit, I am not at all athletic.

However as a nutritionist, I was researching supplements a while back and reading up on sports and performance supplements. I decided to try Beta-Alanine as I was getting lots of muscle burn in workouts.

Well - it made a big difference - much less burn.

76

replied to comment from Chris Costelloe

Yes ... we do see them using supplements.


If you look on SicFit there's a video of a nutritionist working with Tommy Hack, and during part of it Tommy talks about a handful of supplements he's putting in his bag.


In an older video, Josh Everrett shows a handful of supps that he's using.


There was another recent video with one of the top female competitors (it may have been the Wagners, but I am dreadfully sorry if I am wrong about that) and they were talking about advocare supplements or something.


The other athletes you mentioned. May or may not be supplementing. Just because they haven't publically declared that they are using product X,Y,Z doesn't mean that they aren't. If they aren't taking ANYTHING, sweet, very cool and very good for them. But, it's kind of odd, when you start talking about supplements with people in your gym, you'd be surprised to find out who is taking what and never telling anyone about it. Look on the tops of people's fridges when you visit them at a bar-b-que, you may see cans of colon clenses, beta alanine, creatine, glutamine, taurine, fish oil, BCAAs, herbal teas, and a host of other stuff you never expected them to be taking.


I played Lacrosse in College, am now a Registered Dietitian, am a CrossFit Trainer/Athlete, and work for the military on health/nutrition/fitness areas. In addition to doing a hefty amount of research, I've used Creatine on and off for years and the only side effect I've ever had was pudgy cheeks that made me look like I chubbed out a bit--that and being able to squeeze out an extra rep or two on some of my lifts. Never experienced a single cramp. It's well researched, and I have no problem with my athletes/soldiers using it as long as they consult with me first on dosing and hydration. Stay hydrated and you are fine.


In correction to post number 54 ... 5 mg (milligrams) will likely do nothing for you. 5 g (grams) is probably the figure you're going for. The rest of your post is good intentioned and a good contribution. One month on/one month off may be pretty conservative, especially if you are not loading. It may take several of those weeks to get concentration in the muscles up to a useful level. Then you may be left with only a week of full effect before you drop it. 3 months on, 1 month off is more reasonable in my opinion. It'll still give the body a chance to clear it from the system, but will give the athlete longer to reap the benefits.


Beta Alanine, I have no opinion on right now. Looks most likely safe. There's growing evidence to suggest it's effective. I haven't tried it, so wont stand behind it just yet.

Every other supplement has to be evaluated on a case by case basis for safety first, effectiveness, cost-to-beenfit ratios, etc.


The postworkout window may be over-rated. There is good evidence showing that muscle glycogen is replenished quicker in the 30 minutes postworkout and somewhat elevated for 2 hours. But there is also evidence suggesting that 24 hours later, muscle glycogen can be replenished even if postworkout feeding is not utilized.


There is a limited amount of space in your muscles and liver. You can fill it really fast and be full in an hour, or you can fill it more gradually ... but the next day the result is pretty much the same. And ... adding a gallon of gas to a full tank wont make you drive any faster if you're just going around the block.


As an aside. The very large majority of the sports nutrition research on diet and timing is on endurance athletes competing in events upwards of 1-2 hours. In my opinion, you can't very well translate that to extreme high intensity efforts lasting 5-15 minutes. Different energy pathways, different level of exhaustion, different amount of fuel needs and depletion. Anaerobic exercise is poorly studied unfortunately--likely because the medical community (source of funds) is still enamored by the benefits of aerobics. (if anyone has good anaerobic research references please share!)


The international olympic committee consensus on sports nutrition suggests that if an athlete has a greater time before their next workout (12, 16, or more hours) they are just as well to eat when is preferred to them. I'd rather wait an hour and eat real food than slam down a shake right away. To each their own though.


The greatest benefit of quick postworkout feeding comes on days with multiple events, multiple workouts, or particularly long, exhausting workouts. You can probably figure out the reasons why you would want to start restoring asap in those scenarios. In contrast ... if you crank out a Fran in 5 minutes, and don't have workout until the next day ... you haven't depleted that much and are just as well waiting till you get home and eating something in line with the meat, veg, nuts.seeds, some fruits ... etc.


Also ... what are your goals. Trying to build muscle. Trying to lose bodyfat. Both? Neither? Just perform better? Just be healthier? Manage your diabetes? Depending on what you're after, postworkout feeding strategies may be very different from one person to the next. Then again ... this article WAS geared towards the COMPETING athlete.


I encourage my athletes to stick to a diet and exercise program for a significant period of time before considering adding supplements--and if they do, one at a time--so that they can truly evaluate which ones are working, which ones are not, and which, if any are causing negative effects.


Thanks for the article Chris. Your contribution has triggered great amounts of discussion which can only advance our understanding of human performance.

77

If you actually knew the truth about how our sponsorship came about you would truly be embarrassed by your statement.

---- Maybe so, but you still are a sponsor, a paid sponsor, and I don't see an article from the president of Species Nutrition on here.

You can think what you want, but that does not make your opinion objective fact.

---- No, it makes it an opinion, which it is.

First, yes, I would like to sell products to CrossFitters. I own a business. To stay in business I need to sell supplements.

The above fact does not negate the message. If my business fails and I no longer own a supplement company you can bet your buttocks that I will still endorse intelligent supplementation (which I define as using a limited number of proven supplements in proven doses).

---- I endorse intelligent supplementation as well, I've trained, and trained people for years, and I know they work when used properly.

Guess what supplements I personally use? Exactly those I have recommended.

---- Good, practice what you preach, nothing wrong with that.

A BIG reason I wrote the article is because I personally feel that CFers who want to compete and do not use the supps I recommend are short changing themselves. I will say it again, they can take my products or someone else's, I just want them to consider and hopefully adopt their use for their benefit.

---- I beg to differ, the reason the article was written is because you are a sponsor. Same as the Glassman environment article for obvious reasons...

As ANYONE who has met me at ANY of the powerlifting certs, I am not some slimeball shilling crap. I recommend what I feel is best. That's it.

Chris

---- Your personal character has nothing to do with this. You could be a saint or John Wayne Gacy and I would still say the same thing.

The fact is that HQ changed their stance on supplements JUST as two sponsors came onboard for the games that happen to sell supplements. While I don't have any issue with a person changing their mind I do have an issue with the mind being changed because money now comes into play. At Large could be the best company out there that is filled with integrity and class and I would still say the same thing. This isn't a fault of yours, you gotta capitalize on what you are given and what you have, this is more HQ changing their stance on something because of the influence (money, sponsorship, etc) of an outside source.

If CF would have said (before you came on board). "we have reason to believe based on our data that intelligent supplementation can benefit your health, fitness, strength and work capacity and here is what we found...." I think this point would be moot, but they waited until sponsors came on board before taking that stance.

78

replied to comment from Jay Ashman

A BIG reason I wrote the article is because I personally feel that CFers who want to compete and do not use the supps I recommend are short changing themselves. I will say it again, they can take my products or someone else's, I just want them to consider and hopefully adopt their use for their benefit.

---- I beg to differ, the reason the article was written is because you are a sponsor. Same as the Glassman environment article for obvious reasons...

_______________________________________________________________________________

Jay, you can beg to differ all you want, but you are incorrect. The reason I wrote the article from a CrossFit HQ standpoint is because I am a member of Louie Simmons' cert team. At the first cert I met Mike Warkentin who handles the content here. To make a long story short we kept in touch and I offered to write a few articles for the journal and he accepted.

The only thing that bothers me about your posts here is you pretend to KNOW something you really know nothing about. You confuse your assumptions with objective fact. That is a very common mistake people make and an unwise one. Unless you know all of the facts you should not submit your opinion as anything other than a guess (educated or not).

Chris

79

wrote …

Chris,

Are the vitamins in your supplements synthetic or derived from foods? Just wondering, I know there are specific multi-vitamins that are derived from food, but not sure how the mixes work.

80

wrote …

So many Crossfitters are failing to see that there are two sides to CrossFit. The competition side, and the workout program side that benefits people from all walks of life. Old men and women who struggle climbing a flight of stairs need CF more than us former athletes looking to find ways to tap into our competitive side.

My point is, elite competative CFters like Khalipa and Mikko are looking for any advantage they can get (legally and safely of course). Try finding a pro/olympic/elite athlete that doesn't have a locker full of supps. It's just a reality of modern day athletes of all types. This article is long overdue and geared for the competative CFter, ie the people who call CF their sport.

Of course the average CF box member doesn't need these supplements. I just hope that the integrity of CF doesn't get compromised by the sport side and steer away other non-competative CFters.

Good article and I like how the list was brief and all the supplements were highly researched and backed by much science.

This just a thought for those who are anti-supplement. Do you think wearing Skins during/after competition is 'cheating.' What about ice baths? How about taking an IV full of fluids, sodium, and sugar between WOD's during the Games? Pro athletes do it all the time. Just food for thought and also trying to get the point across that there is a competition and non-competition side to CF.

81

replied to comment from Chad Hobbs

They are primarily synthetic.

82

wrote …

Thanks for this article Chris, and your followup comments.


And thanks for turning us on to pubmed.com! Google has its limits.






I am a skeptic. In particular, about the creatine-growth hormone connection.


Here's what I found on pubmed:


20 gram creatine dosage causes HGH bump: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11297004


A non-skeptic might have stopped there. ;-)


Creatine doesn't affect hormonal response to resistance training: (dose not mentioned in abstract) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11252073

Creatine + exercise produced "no changes in plasma growth hormone concentrations compared to the placebo" :
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8971495

If I'm reading this next abstract correctly, they found that GH increase helped creatine uptake. Maybe there's a glimpse into the metabolic pathway here? This study was on rats.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/460177



I might conclude that the GH-creatine connection is real. In the context of exercise, however, creatine's GH effect is not evident. Those trying for a GH boost might take this to mean bedtime is a good dosage time.


Sorry if I missed any relevant studies. Again, my focus was narrowly on HGH and creatine.


Thanks again, Chris. This was fun.

83

Daniel Schmieding wrote …

I've been following CrossFit since 2002.

Those of you arguing that CrossFit has been anti-supp should take your heads out of the sand. People have deficiencies, and CrossFit has always promoted closing those gaps as naturally as possible.

Fish oil was recommended far before Barry Sears posed for the cameras.

Those who think Chris was actively pushing his product in the article are sorely mistaken.

Stop acting like the food you eat is exactly like the food our ancstors ate.
Stop acting like people who are a part of CrossFit certification teams are only posting content to the journal because they're making a killing.

84

replied to comment from Jay Ashman

"---- Your personal character has nothing to do with this. You could be a saint or John Wayne Gacy and I would still say the same thing."

this.

85

Jay Ashman wrote …

Then Chris, since I am "assuming"... are you a paid sponsor or was it "gifted" to you?

And you may have agreed to write a few articles but you are still a sponsor and you are listed as one, and that doesn't come free.

Regardless of the reasons behind the sponsorship and your reasons for writing the article... again, you are a sponsor and the timing of this coinciding with that fact is the problem some people see, not the actual article.

And I will submit my opinion, that is what the comments section is for, you can either ignore it or address it.

86

replied to comment from Brian Olaughlin

You are welcome.

Yeah, I have never heard of creatine increasing GH levels, and even if it did, I would find it very hard to believe any response would be sufficient to make a difference in one's training. Creatine exerts its effects via different pathways.

87

replied to comment from Daniel Schmieding

Thanks Daniel!

88

wrote …

Chris, good article.

To all those who do take creatine:

How do you take yours? With juice? Water? With whey? Just curious.

A part of me wants to maintain "no sugar" but can't stomach the taste of plain ol' creatine monohydrate.

Thoughts?

89

replied to comment from John Guerrero

John, mix it with your protein shake. You will be good to go.

90

wrote …

I have to admit that I have no knowledge at all about this topic. But I really appreciate the way Chris is handling the critisizm without getting zealous or offensive. Something I missing lately in some HQ publications and staff responses.

91

replied to comment from Steve Macdonald

Well said; Great post!

92

replied to comment from Chris Mason

I have gone through everything I did quite extensively and that was the only logical answer other than perhaps overtraining. My weight sky rocketed from 170 to 184 in 3 weeks and you think it was fat? I'm not a wizard by any means but to put fat on that fast sounds way off when one is eating perfectly clean and right and working out about 9 times a week while consulting with and following OPT's programming and dieting protocals (besides the addition of the creatine supplement... That was a different person's idea). I have narrowed it down quite extensively and I know my body quite well from many years of very competitive sports and I know for a fact that the 2 times I've supplemented creatine in my diet, I've put on massive weight (relative) and some strength. Only thing is this time I did it while crossfitting and boy was I cramping wayy too soon than I do when I am not supplementing it. Maybe I'm different and allergic to excess creatine, you can make your own assumptions about that but what I'm telling you is true cold hard facts of what I perceive it did to me and my body. Hope this helps :)

93

wrote …

Mike,

If you added 14 lbs in 3 weeks and creatine was the only change then you must have some sort of a food allery or the like that causes you to suffer from severe edema due to its use. In addition, you must have used a creatine with a LOT of impurities which is the more likely culprit for a food allergy type reaction. All creatine is not the same in that respect, and lot of the people who say they bloat from creatine use aren't bloating due to creatine per se, they are bloating due to the use of an inferior product riddled with impurities.

Chris

94

wrote …

When i was on the "other side" of the gym i used creatine and drank the shakes...made me a little bigger but never noticed any real strength gains. When i decided to give CF a try 9 months ago i inquired on the "boards" about supplements. Pretty much all replies were the same: We don't really use any of that stuff over here...not necessary...paleo...zone...etc...eat more fat if you want to get faster and stronger. I felt quite liberated that i didn't have to go into another GNC for a while. I like the fact that we are all training on the same level. ARE THEY GOING TO HAVE TO TEST FOR STERIODS AT THE QUALS AND THE GAMES?? WHY NOT? the winners are going home with big checks now..they should be tested. Why are they getting such big checks now? Sponsers and some are supplement sponsers...lol

95

wrote …

For anonymous #94, your post makes about zero sense.

In your first sentence you note that creatine and 'the shakes' did not help you to improve your performance. You then go on to say you were happy with CF because they did not use supplements and everyone trains on the same level (do they work, or don't they). You then reference testing for steroids and that not happening because of sponsors; seemingly correlating steroids to supplement companies???

CF HQ is not telling you to take supplements. If you don't want to then you most certainly should not. I don't think anyone is forcing you to go to a GNC?

Whether or not steroids are tested for at the games has ZERO to do with sponsors.

96

wrote …

One thing that I notice a lot of the dissenters stating again and again is that they feel this article is some act of hypocrisy on the part of HQ. I've been a member of this community for about 4 years now, and I've never actually heard Coach Glassman or any member of the HQ staff publicly decry the use of supplements. If someone could reference an article or video where this actually occurs, I'd like to see it.

97

Olivia de Santis wrote …

Thanks for this article. It's nice to get an overview of the basics.

I had no idea that people think supplements are "anti-Crossfit", and the idea is a little strange to me. So much of what we do can be considered unnatural to our species, so I don't see much wrong with using supplements to support our chosen lifestyles. Yay for science!

98

wrote …

Thanks Olivia!

Team ALN

99

wrote …

Chris great information here. So is it the consensus that this type of supplementation is only for Crossfitter's who want to compete or is this for anyone? Also will taking these amounts of creatine affect your bodies leaness?

Has anyone one ever used GENR8 Vitargo? Thoughts? Also any good suggestions for a protein brand for the PWO recovery or does it not matter too much?

Thanks.

100

wrote …

This one seems to have provoked a firestorm - why? If you don't want to take supplements, and for the majority of people doing Crossfit, legal supplements will probably make a negligable difference, then don't. As for those that do, what's the big deal...it's not like there's Olympic medals at stake!!!

I have done competitive sports, I don't any more. I took up Crossfit because I find it mentally engaging, physically challenging, scaleable to however I'm feeling on the day, and FUN....however, elements of the "community" and lots of the journal articles increasingly leave me cold - just seems to me there's as many neurotics, obsessives and suckers for mass-media body-image propaganda and "quick fixes" involved in Crossfit as there are in other niche pursuits like bodybuilding....

101

wrote …

Chris

Interesting article. When you give estimates of the quantities of the various supplements to be taken (eg at least 30g protein and 30g carb post training) do you mean for the average gym monkey? Obviously it's aimed at CF competitors in training but I was wondering if you had any guidelines on how much of the stuff you have to swallow based on your weight ... kind of thing. My guys are rugby players and are of various shapes and sizes.

Cheers

Duncan

102

wrote …

What is a good brand or a few good brands of creatine to use?

103

replied to comment from Nick Williams

very good point, would you rather someone with no involvement in the issue to write the article?

104

wrote …

chris,

it has been awhile since the last post. i tried reading through all this but i either missed it or it was not mentioned. when to take creatine, before and/or after workouts? same goes for beta alaine, before and/or after? also, will something like powerade be good for the simple CHO for post workout? if not, can you just buy the sugars you listed in your article? thanks
-frosty

105

wrote …


Chris's I was wondering if taking the creatine monohydrate from "at large nutrition" is paleo friendly and if it will cause water retention. If you could get back to me I would appreciate it.

Thanks

106

replied to comment from Richard Edwards

Just curious?

What's everyone's take on L-arginine?

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