Best Supplements for CrossFit for Sleep, Protein, Carbs, and More

Crush your goals and sweep the CrossFit competition with these helpful performance and recovery supplements.

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CrossFit has grown into a widely popular sport since its start in 2001. The sport’s mission is for their athletes to garner improved health and better performance, and be able to reach their fitness goals. The workouts are tough — whether it’s an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible), EMOM (every minute on the minute), or WOD (workout of the day), or you’re perfecting your clean and jerk — and they require a lot of effort and proper recovery. Dialing in your form and consistently training can take its toll though. If you want to perform at your best and push yourself to the limits during that next WOD, having the proper supplementation can be crucial.

With that in mind, we put together a list of eight supplements that may help improve your performance, keep you pushing through tough training sessions, and boost recovery afterwards. We’ve included supplements here that may aid you during your training, such as pre-workoutbeta-alanine, and nitric oxide, as well as those that may help you recover after busting out high-intensity exercises, such as creatinecarb supps, and protein powder. This list covers the basics, as well as more nuanced needs, and is suited toward CrossFit athletes who train hard, utilize high bouts of energy, and need tools that may help them efficiently recover to come back stronger than ever. 

Best Supplements for CrossFit

Best Pre-Workout Supplement for CrossFit

CrossFit programming typically combines cardio and functional fitness with strength training. These two fitness tracks paired together in a workout can drain your energy stores quickly. If you’re looking for the perfect pick-me-up to potentially provide more energy before and during a high-intensity CrossFit workout, Swolverine PRE has ginseng and other helpful ingredients included, which can help naturally increase your energy. 

Swolverine PRE

CrossFit requires a lot of energy and a solid pre-workout could be what you need to unlock your best potential. Swolverine’s non-stimulant pre-workout includes eight performance-boosting ingredients that may help provide a solid boost of energy for tough training without the consequences of using a pre with stimulants. 1,000mg of ginseng is the potentially energy enhancing ingredient in this lineup and has been used for 60,000 years for its energy boosting properties. (1

Swolverine PRE Pre-Workout
Swolverine PRE Pre-Workout
Swolverine PRE Pre-Workout

Swolverine PRE Pre-Workout may lack stimulants, but it makes up for that with a great blend of high-dosed ingredients to help improve blood flow, recovery, and endurance. The citrulline malate and betaine anhydrous can give you the edge you need to conquer your next gym session.

This formula also includes 3,200mg of beta-alanine, which one study suggests increases carnosine content and therefore, can have a positive effect on high-intensity exercise. (2) The addition of l-carnitine may also improve your ability to put on muscle mass, which could lead to heavier lifts. (3) Swolverine included other beneficial ingredients such as betainecitrulline malate, l-taurine, and pomegranate to build a well-rounded list of ingredients that can help enhance your workout.

This formula comes in a Mango Lemonade flavor and costs about $2.11 per serving, which is higher than many others on the market. If you’re on a budget, they also provide a subscribe and save option, which brings that cost down to about $1.80 per serving. 

Who Should Buy Swolverine PRE Pre-Workout

  • CrossFitters who want a pre that may provide energy to bust out a tough workout without the side effects of a stimulant.
  • Folks who want a pre-workout with ingredients like beta-alanine and l-carnitine, which may further benefit muscle gains and high-intensity workouts.
  • Anyone who is looking for a powder they can easily stack with other supplements will like this objectively delicious flavor and mixable powder formula.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine PRE Pre-Workout

  • Folks on a budget can find a cheaper pre-workout on the market.
  • Those who prefer unflavored pre-workout or an array of flavors to choose from as this one is only available in Mango Lemonade. 
  • Athletes who prefer to have caffeine in their pre-workout will need to find a pre with added caffeine — this just has ginseng.

This pre-workout contains ginseng, which may provide a non-stimulant boost, beta-alanine, which may give you more energy for high-intensity workouts, and carnitine, which may help build muscle mass. 

Best Beta-Alanine for CrossFit

Beta-alanine may be the difference between giving every bit of energy to your high-intensity workout and tapping out early. This formula contains 4,000mg of beta-alanine, which can give you that potential boost and of course, the coveted tingly feeling.

Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout

This supplement has 4,000mg of beta-alanine, which one study suggests may be effective for high-intensity sports due to its potential to delay fatigue as a result of increased muscle carnosine levels (4). It also contains some other pre-workout classics, like 6,000mg of citrulline malate, 4,000mg of BCAAS in a 2:1:1 ratio, and amino acids taurine and tyrosine. 

Transparent Labs Stim Free Pre-Workout
Transparent Labs Stim Free Pre-Workout
Transparent Labs Stim Free Pre-Workout

An unusually powerful pre-workout that's packed with clinically effective doses of ingredients linked to everything from power to endurance. All of this without the use of caffeine or other stimulants.

Transparent Labs is known for never including artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners in their products, and this pre-workout is no exception. Because it is a stim-free pre-workout, they added 50mcg of huperzine A, which is a nootropic that can help support cognitive function in place of caffeine. This formula comes in Fruit Punch, Cherry Limeade, Sour Grape, Blue Raspberry, Green Apple, Lemon Lime, Orange, Peach Mango, Strawberry Lemonade, and Tropical Punch flavors. It also sports a very affordable price point of about $1.65 per serving.

Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout

  • Those looking for a high dose of beta-alanine will love that this product has a solid 4,000mg of beta-alanine per serving. 
  • Anyone who wants an inexpensive option for beta-alanine as this is only about $1.65 per serving.
  • Athletes who want a pre-workout supplement without stimulants, but with an ingredient that might still help with focus will like the huperzine A here.
  • If you’re looking to take your beta-alanine within a pre-workout, this formula is for you.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout

  • Athletes who want a straight beta-alanine supplement with no extra frills. 
  • Customers who want an unflavored option for their beta-alanine supp. 
  • Those who prefer their beta-alanine to come in pill form.

This supplement packs a lot of pre-workout favorites, but the whopping 4,000mg of beta-alanine steals the show. It comes at a very affordable price point and may help delay your intra-workout fatigue, allowing you to push harder through intense workouts. 

Best Protein Supplement for CrossFit

Protein is the most important macronutrient when it comes to repairing and building muscle. This pick has 26 grams of protein per serving and is a whey isolate — this means the carbs and fasts are fairly low compared to many proteins on the market. 

Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate 

CrossFit workouts can be grueling and take a ton of strength to perform, which means that proper supplementation can be important for strength and growth. In order to grow in size and strength, protein synthesis has to exceed muscle breakdown from exercise, and that’s where Swolverine’s whey isolate comes in (5). 

Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate

This whey protein formula delivers 26 grams of protein with just 0.5 grams of fat, and one gram of carbs. You’ll also find 10mg of digestive enzymes, and a decent number of micronutrients.

With 26g of protein, one gram of carbs and a half gram of fat, this isolate provides a solid dose of protein, a delicious taste, and only one gram of sugar per serving. This formula also contains digestive enzymes, which may help your body process the protein and potentially avoid digestive discomforts, like bloating and gassiness. This protein comes in Vanilla, Chocolate, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter flavors and costs around $2.09 per serving. In comparison to all types of protein, it sports a higher price tag, but for an isolate, this cost is very reasonable. 

Who Should Buy Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate 

  • CrossFit athletes who want a protein powder that delivers a high 26g dose of protein while keeping other macronutrients low will appreciate this isolate formula.
  • Athletes who have trouble digesting regular protein and want potentially helpful ingredients like digestive enzymes in their formula.
  • Anyone who wants a whey protein isolate over a whey concentrate or other type of protein. 

Who Shouldn’t Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate

  • Folks who are on a budget can find a cheaper protein powders available to them on the market.
  • CrossFitters who want a protein powder that contains higher carbs and fats for help bulking.
  • Those who want a plethora of flavors to choose from as Swolverine’s whey isolate only comes in four flavors. 

This product contains a high dose of 26g of protein, which may help you recover and repair muscle — something that is very important for CrossFit athletes. The added kick of digestive enzymes is a huge perk, as well, as it may help your body digest this powder better. 

Best Sleep Supplement for CrossFit

Sleep is an extremely important aspect of proper recovery. Ensuring a good night’s sleep should be a priority for any CrossFit athlete, and this supplement may be the ticket to your best night of sleep.

Onnit New Mood

After pushing your body to extraordinary limits during your CrossFit training, proper recovery tools are important to utilize. One study on sleep and performance suggests that poor sleeping habits can lead to a decrease in athletic performance and recovery (6). Onnit New Mood is designed with ingredients that may help promote relaxation, decrease stress, and set you up for a restful night of high quality sleep

Onnit New Mood
Onnit New Mood
Onnit New Mood

Onnit New Mood is formulate to improve mood and induce relaxation with serotonin boosting ingredients like 5-HTP and tryptophan. It also contains relaxing botanicals like Chamomile, Valerian Root, Lemon Balm, and Jujube

This formula contains ingredients that may lead to better sleep, including magnesium, which has been shown in some studies to help those who suffer with insomnia (7). It also contains 5-HTP and tryptophan, which may boost serotonin levels in the brain and promote relaxation, ease anxious thinking, and support a mellow mood for better sleep. This supplement costs $2.00 per each two-pill serving. 

Who Should Buy Onnit New Mood

  • Athletes who want to prioritize sleep as a tool for recovery will like that this supp contains magnesium, which may help with insomnia. 
  • Customers looking for a sleep supplement they can take in pill form. 
  • Folks who want to take advantage of potentially serotonin boosting ingredients like 5-HTP and tryptophan, which may help mitigate anxiety.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Onnit New Mood

  • Customers who are pill-averse should look for a powder or liquid supplement.
  • Athletes who are on a budget — this is $2.00 per serving, which is a bit higher than others on the market. 

Getting a good night of sleep can make all the difference in your recovery from your hard training sessions. Onnit New Mood contains ingredients that may help with serotonin levels, mitigating insomnia and anxiety, and attaining recovery-worthy sleep.

Best Creatine Supplement for CrossFit

Creatine is a staple supplement for elite athletes and gymgoers alike. This particular supplement has 750mg of patented creatine hydrochloride (HCl) and nothing else, which may help improve strength gains and increase fat free mass (8).

Kaged C-HCl

Kaged has created a creatine supplement that contains 750mg of pure patented creatine hydrochloride without any additions, leaving no room for artificial ingredients or fillers. Creatine hydrochloride is just one type of creatine, and although there have only been a handful of studies done, one study suggested that hydrochloride was 38 times more soluble than creatine monohydrate, which is the most commonly utilized form of creatine. (9) This means your body may be able to utilize it more readily, and you may experience improved strength, which is helpful for crossfit athletes who are trying to level up their heavy lifts. 

Kaged Muscle C-HCl Creatine Hydrochloride
Kaged Muscle C-HCl Creatine Hydrochloride
Kaged Muscle C-HCl Creatine Hydrochloride

This is a tasty option for folks who are looking for creatine hydrochloride in either pill or powder form. It’s third-party tested for banned substances and competitively priced.

Creatine is found naturally in muscle cells and is known for its potential to help create ATP, which may result in higher performance of muscle activity during high-intensity exercise, like CrossFit (10). This formula is a bit more unique than others as it is available in vegetarian capsules, an unflavored powder, or a Lemon Lime flavored powder option. At about $0.35 a serving, it comes at a hard price point to beat.

Who Should Buy Kaged C-HCl

  • Crossfitters who want an inexpensive option for a high-quality creatine will like that this costs around $0.35 per serving. 
  • Customers who want a straightforward creatine supplement. This supp contains 750mg of creatine per serving and nothing else. 
  • Those who like the option to buy pills or a powdered version of creatine will like that this formula comes in options for vegetarian capsules, an unflavored powder, or a Lemon Lime flavored powder.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Kaged C-HCl

  • Athletes looking for a stacked creatine supplement as this is a no-frills product. You can often find creatine wrapped within a bigger pre-workout supp.
  • CrossFitters who want creatine monohydrate will have to look elsewhere. 
  • Those who want a flavored creatine, but don’t like Kaged’s Lemon Lime will want to look elsewhere. 

This is a simple creatine supplement that contains no additives, but boasts a potentially more soluble version of creatine (creatine HCl), which may help improve strength and performance more effectively than creatine monohydrates.

Best Carb Supplement for CrossFit

Carbs are an important component for fitness as they have the potential to provide immediate energy, and be stored in the body for later use in the form of glucose. This supp has 24g of whole food carbohydrates per serving to potentially help fuel your workout and recover your energy stores.

Swolverine Clean Carbs

Carbs are one of three macronutrients that your body needs to perform. When you consume carbs, the body breaks them down into glucose, which is what your body uses for energy. When you have extra glucose, your body stores it in muscle tissue and your liver to help supply energy for later use (11). 

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Swolverine Clean Carbs
Swolverine Clean Carbs
Swolverine Clean Carbs

This supplement has 100 calories and includes 24g of carbs, as well as more vitamins and minerals (like vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, phosphorus, and calcium) than your average carb supplement. With 45 servings in one tub, this sub-$60 price tag is fairly reasonable. 

CrossFit workouts require a lot of energy, and Swolverine created a clean carbohydrate supplement that is sourced from whole food ingredients like sweet potatoes, yams, blueberries, and oats. The other ingredients in this formula are natural flavors, Xanthan Gum, and Stevia for sweetness. These clean sources of carbohydrates may lead to optimal energy levels without the crash that you might experience with sugar or refined carbs.

It can be taken whenever throughout the day, but may be best post-workout to potentially help refuel glycogen stores in the body. This Sweet Potato Pie flavored powder tastes good, may provide clean energy, and costs about $1.33 per serving, which is a fair price compared to others on the market.

Who Should Buy Swolverine Clean Carbs

  • CrossFit athletes who want a whole food source of carbohydrates that may help their energy levels and glucose stores will appreciate this formula. 
  • Anyone who enjoys drinkable carbohydrates will like this Sweet Potato Pie flavored powder, which can be mixed with other supplements or can be consumed on its own.
  • Customers who want to avoid the crash from refined carbs and sugars will like the natural ingredient list here.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine Clean Carbs

  • Athletes who enjoy consuming their carbs through food sources may not need a post-workout carb source. 
  • Anyone who doesn’t like Sweet Potato Pie flavor will have to look elsewhere as this product is only available in one flavor choice.

When it comes to carbohydrates for sports it can be best to opt for whole food carbohydrate sources to avoid the potential crash from simple carbs. This supp contains whole food ingredients, which can make for lasting energy, assist in your workouts, and help you replenish glucose stores in the body.

Best Nitric Oxide Supplement for CrossFit

This supp contains amino acids and natural ingredients like fermented beets that may improve blood flow, help you power through your lifts, and max out your pumps during your CrossFit workout.

Onnit Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide occurs naturally in the body and is an important molecule that your body needs for proper blood flow and blood vessel dilation. Onnit Nitric Oxide is a supplement that may promote improved blood flow during your workouts and provide a better pump

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Onnit Total Nitric Oxide
Onnit Total Nitric Oxide
Onnit Total Nitric Oxide

This product contains three grams of L-Citrulline DL-Malate, as well as mango fruit powder and fermented beets, which can all play a role in synthesizing nitric oxide. It comes in a sweet Harvest Fruit flavor.

This formula contains 3,000mg of l-citrulline and 1,400mg of arginine, which are the two amino acids that can produce nitric oxide in the body. It also includes natural vasodilators, such as fermented beets and mango fruit powder, which contain a high amount of potassium and may help improve blood flow (12). This formula costs about $2.00 per serving, which is about average compared to the rest of the market, comes in a Harvest Fruit flavor, and is free of caffeine, nuts, soy, and gluten.

Who Should Buy Onnit Nitric Oxide

  • CrossFit athletes who want to optimize their blood flow (which may lead to a better pump during their workout) will like the amino acids and vasodilators here. 
  • Folks who need a supplement that is free of many dietary allergies will like that this formula is nut, gluten, and soy free.
  • Customers who want to avoid caffeine as this product is caffeine-free.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Onnit Nitric Oxide

  • Athletes who want to take their nitric oxide supp within a pre-workout and who want to benefit from a dose of caffeine will have to look elsewhere.
  • Anyone who is looking to save money as this supp is priced high at around $2.00 per serving. 

When it comes to maxing out your CrossFit workouts, getting proper blood flow can be an important tool. Onnit’s itric oxide supplement is formulated with amino acids that can help produce nitric oxide, as well as natural vasodilators, which may lead to better pumps.

Best Post-Workout Supplement for CrossFit

The better you recover, the more training sessions you can crush. This post-workout supp has carnitine, creatine, and corosolic acid, which may work together to improve post-workout recovery.

Legion Recharge

Legion recharge is made with ingredients that may help you recover from CrossFit workouts to come back stronger and allow you to take less time off of the gym between workouts. This formula contains 5,000mg of creatine, which may speed up recovery time between two intense CrossFit sessions and may even diminish muscle damage from the workouts (13). It includes2,100mg of the amino acid carnitine, which may benefit you post-workout by repairing the muscles (14). Finally, it also has 10.5mg of corosolic acid, which has been shown in some studies to prevent inflammation (15).

Legion Recharge
Legion Recharge
Legion Recharge

Legion Recharge is a well-rounded option that includes a solid dose of creatine monohydrate, along with l-carnitine l-tartrate, which may help to reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and improve recovery.

This supp costs about $1.33 per serving, which is on the cheaper side of things for a tub with 30 servings, and comes in Fruit Punch, Strawberry Lemonade, and Watermelon flavors, as well as an unflavored option. If you’re looking to save a little cash, you can buy the 60-serving tub, which brings the cost to about $1.00 per serving and is offered in all of the same flavors, as well as Blue Raspberry, Strawberry Kiwi, and Grape.

Who Should Buy Legion Recharge

  • CrossFit athletes who want a post-workout supplement that contains creatine, which may aid in a speedier recovery between CrossFit sessions.
  • Anyone who likes versatile buying options as this comes in two different tub sizes, as well as a handful of delicious flavors.
  • Customers who want an array of ingredients that may support recovery will enjoy the carnosine and corosolic acid present in this formula. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Legion Recharge

  • Athletes who want a more robust ingredient list will want to go with a different post-workout supp.
  • Anyone who wants a post-workout that’s heavier on carbs and protein will want to hunt down another option.

Post-workout fuel can be an extremely important part of your regimen. This supp has the potential to help you recover faster, suffer from less inflammation, and reduce muscle soreness after your CrossFit workouts.

How We Chose the Best CrossFit Supplements

CrossFit is an intense sport that requires a lot of energy and focus. It is a high-intensity based activity and utilizes full body movements, which can be exhausting. We built this list with several factors in mind, including the unique supplementation needs that CrossFit athletes may have to help them perform at their highest level.

Sport Specific Needs

CrossFit requires a lot of high-intensity training as well as strength-related moves. We chose supplements that can potentially aid in better recovery, such as protein and a carb supplement, which both may help make sure you’re missing less time between workouts, and reducing inflammation and soreness.

Woman strength athlete performing thruster over head in competition
Image From: Shutterstock/Manu Reyes

We also included some supplements that may aid in your performance during your training sessions and competitions, such as pre-workout, beta-alanine, and nitric oxide, which can provide better blood flow for a solid pump during your workouts. 

We also considered strength gains and picked a variety of supplements that have ingredients that are suggested to improve strength — like creatine with HMB. Focus and endurance were two of the other major factors we considered as CrossFit requires both for optimal results during your workouts.

Quality

We choose companies whose branding and integrity we trust based on their ingredient lists, transparency, and dosage levels. Some companies include proprietary blends, which means that dosages aren’t revealed for each individual ingredient. We opted to include mostly straightforward ingredient lists that disclaim each amount. Although proprietary blends aren’t inherently bad, they can fall short of optimal dosages and may include fillers or other ingredients that don’t support your end goal.

Price

Each of the picks vary in price — especially since we’ve included such a wide range of different types of supplements. Each pick has a “per serving” price, and these prices vary from around $0.50 to over $2.00 per serving. We try to pick reasonably priced supplements for what you are receiving. If a supplement is priced higher and it made it on this list, that means we think the ingredients and doses make the price tag worth it. However, we’ve also included some budget options for those who don’t have as much money to spend. Typically the less expensive products on this list contain fewer ingredients (they’re not of lesser quality). 

Powder vs. Pill

We chose supplements in the form of both powder and pill to fit various individual needs. Some CrossFitters may be pill-averse and prefer to take all of their supplements in powder form. Powder can also be convenient for stacking multiple supplements together. Others may prefer pill form as it makes for a quick, easy, and mess-free way to take supplements at home or on the go. Whatever your preference may be, we made sure to include an option for you on this list. 

What to Consider Before Buying

Before purchasing a new product to supplement your CrossFit training, there are a few things you may want to consider to help you make the most informed decision. These include the type of supplement, price, and flavor options available. 

Type of Supplement

This list covers many categories of supplemental needs for CrossFitters, including supps that can help with recovery, building strength, providing energy and focus, and increasing endurance. It’s important to note that not all of these supplements are necessary to utilize in order to do well in CrossFit, but there may be supplements on this list that can help you in certain areas you may be struggling.

Image from: Shutterstock/BLACKDAY

For example, if you’re struggling with your endurance, a pre-workout, beta-alanine, or nitric oxide supplement may be a good choice for you. If your concern is about gaining more strength so you can lift heavier weights, a protein or creatine supplement may be the best choice for you. Just be sure you have an idea of where you’re lacking before deciding which kind of supplement you may need. 

Price

Supplementing for your sport doesn’t have to come at a high cost. Each individual will have their own parameters for what they can spend on CrossFit supplements, and it is wise to look at your needs for the sport and the price per serving to make sure that the price point matches up with your budget. In general, the supplements on this list range from around $0.50 to just over $2.00 per serving, for your consideration.

Flavors

Enjoyability is huge when it comes to supplementation — and that’s where flavor comes in. We advise you to opt for supplements that fit a flavor profile you enjoy, or pick a supplement that is unflavored if you prefer to stack your supps. Pills are also a great unflavored option if that’s your preferred route. But if you’re don’t enjoy the taste (or convenience, when it comes to pills) of your supplementation, it’s going to be hard to stick to any sort of regimen. Ideally, the flavor or easy-access bottle of capsules should make taking your supplements a painless daily ritual. 

Final Word

CrossFit is a high-intensity sport that requires stamina, strength, power, and concentration to perform at your highest level. Supplements may be a helpful tool to level up your performance, help elevate recovery, assist strength gains, and provide energy and focus. This list includes supplements like beta-alanine and nitric oxide, which may provide improved blood flow and result in better pumps during your workout. 

We also included a whey isolate that delivers a high dose of protein, which may help with recovery and strength gains to help you crush your next PR. Our carb supplement pick can help you achieve adequate recovery from tough workouts, and may fuel your body with more energy to help you push through tough workouts. With a plethora of supplements to choose from, you’ll want to consider your needs when it comes to CrossFit training, and pick the supplement(s) that best align with your goals. Regardless of the supplements you choose to add to your stack, this list has something for any CrossFit athlete who is trying to up their fitness game. 

FAQs

What supplements are most important for CrossFit?

This will be entirely dependent on your goals and your needs. If recovery is your main goal, you may want to choose something with amino acids, protein, or creatine that can help limit soreness, rebuild muscles, and provide a speedier recovery. If your goal is to produce a good pump during your workout, you may opt for a nitric oxide or beta-alanine supp. It will be at the discretion of the athlete to decide which supplements may be best for their own journey.

Are CrossFit supps worth the price?

If the supplements can help fill a gap or improve your performance without making a major impact on your budget, we think they are worthwhile. Supplements can be the difference between hitting your goals or performing at your highest level, but it’s also important to realize that supplements aren’t necessary to perform at a top-tier level. Supplements are a helpful tool that you can utilize, but they aren’t going to make you a top CrossFitter without the foundation of hard work and dedication.

What can supplements for CrossFit do for athletes?

We considered several factors when making this list, such as what these athletes do during their workout, what supplements might help them achieve their goals, and how to best recover to land you back in the gym. The variety of supplements on this list can help with power, endurance, recovery, strength, pumps, and stamina.

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