5 Supplements that will give you the edge in the box
The high-intensity, high-volume world of Functional Fitness requires that athletes fuel their bodies for performance before and during an all-out WOD, with a potent dose of nutrients afterwards for super-human recovery.
However, due to the physical demands of this form of exercise, a whole food meal is not always an option, which is when well-formulated supplements really offer an edge. These products are also developed to deliver exactly what your body needs, at exactly the right time and in the most efficacious doses and forms.
To help boost your performance in the box or at your next Functional Fitness comp, here are our top supplement tips.
1. Whey Protein Powder
The physiological importance of protein for recovery, repair and muscle growth means it’s vital that individuals doing high-intensity functional fitness training consume a highly bioavailable and complete protein source after a workout and whey is a tried and trusted product that offers all of these benefits. Gulping down a serving before a workout also has the potential to limit muscle damage and kickstart the recovery process sooner.
Creatine is the most studied ergogenic (performance-enhancing) supplement on earth and the evidence supporting its efficacy and effectiveness is overwhelming. Creatine promotes anaerobic strength and boosts power output, it extends time to muscular failure, and aids lean muscle gain. It is also essential for recovery. More importantly, under such intense training demands, your body cannot manufacture sufficient creatine, nor can your diet provide enough of it from whole food sources to satisfy your body’s needs. That’s why supplementing with it is essential.
Beta-Alanine is an amino acid that helps to boost work capacity and power output at lactate threshold – and individuals participating in functional fitness training know all about lactate. It therefore has the potential to delay fatigue and some research also indicates that it has benefits for sub-maximal endurance performance as well.
4. Branched Chain Amino Acids
BCAAs taken either immediately before or during intense exercise may help prolong performance and reduce markers of muscle damage and inflammation after a WOD. BCAAs in supplemental form are highly bioavailable, making them ideal for use in a pre-workout drink as they offer a muscle-sparing benefit, because they’re preferentially metabolised into glucose when there’s a lack of glycogen in the body.
Supplemental creatine, in the form of L-carnitine, is an amino acid that helps improve metabolic efficiency by transporting free fatty acids across the membrane into the mitochondria, where they are metabolised for energy. By helping to convert energy-dense fatty acids into energy more efficiently, L-carnitine can boost endurance, allowing you to train harder for longer. It also increases the rate at which the liver utilises fat.
All of these products will help you to unleash your full potential in the box. To derive maximum benefit, experiment with each product in isolation to determine your tolerance and level of performance when using them, before combining them. Once you’ve found the products that work best for you, start stacking them to maximise their effectiveness.