In the Science Lab, someone mentioned that they were combining Vitargo with Progenex to create this delicious concoction, so I thought I would give it a shot. It’s basically Vanilla Progenex (2 scoops) and Orange Flavored Vitargo (one 70g pouch or two scoops). You can find links to Progenex (10% off) and Genr8 Vitargo S2 (free shipping) in this article I wrote on “Supplements I put in my body”.
We have representatives from both Progenex and GENR8 in the Eat To Perform Science Lab, and they have been great about getting us info so people can make more informed decisions related to their health choices. Science Lab membership is free when you buy Met Flex for Fat Loss.
Proper supplementation around training is one of those things that can make a big difference in how you feel and perform. I know some people don’t agree, and they’d prefer to get all of their nutrition from whole foods. It should be obvious that I am not suggesting that people should live on protein shakes and carbohydrate drinks; the majority of my diet comes down to whole foods. So while I suspect a fair amount of noise related to a supplement post, the simple facts are these:
- CrossFit HQ recommends moderate starch consumption for athletic performance (“World Class Fitness in 100 Words”.) The quicker your carbs can load, the more moderate your intake can be, and you can get back to burning fat. If you want to get all of that from sweet potatoes, have at it but not everyone has the time or the stomach capacity.
- You’ll notice that throughout this post, I recommend products from Progenex. Why? Well, Progenex makes some amazing stuff and they sponsor the CrossFit games. Clearly their products are CrossFit approved, and they care about our sport. End of story.
I am going to start off with the easiest recommendation: in my pre-workout and post workout drinks, I use Vitargo. I will talk a bit more about my workout nutrition at the end of this post. Typically, I use two scoops which is 70 grams of fast-loading carbs. The goal of carbohydrate consumption is to get the carbs in and out of your system as quickly as possible. This is favorable as it relates to keeping insulin levels low and blood sugar stable. The simple fact is that you need carbs for protein turnover to elicit muscle growth and (more importantly for most people) muscle maintenance. If you are struggling finding great carb sources, struggle no longer; Vitargo is the best product on the market. It’s not cheap, but in the end you get what you pay for.
If you follow the link above, there’s a special offer exclusive to Eat To Perform readers that gets you free shipping when you order Vitargo directly from GENR8. Vitargo is not a sponsor of this site; we are merely an affiliate, so if you are interested in supporting ETP, I would ask that you use this offer with the accompanying bonus codes (either free shipping or additional product.)
In my pre-workout and post-workout drink, I use both “Recovery” and “More Muscle”. Both are hydrolyzed whey (more on that in the next paragraph) with an additional filtering process that breaks the aminos down for better absorption. (Which means you maintain and potentially build muscle better as a result.) Before bed, I use their “Cocoon” product and I couldn’t recommend it more.
All Whey protein isn’t created equal. There isolates and concentrates, but by far the best choice for building muscle is a whey hydrolysate because of the rapid rate of absorption. One issue I addressed with Progenex is their use of sucralose as a sweetener. Per bag, there is a very small amount of this noncaloric sweetener (basically equal to about a half of a packet of Splenda.) What people don’t realize (and it’s addressed on Examine.com) is that unless hydrolysates are flavored with fructose or sucralose, they are literally gag worthy. That is why there are sweeteners in their Recovery and More Muscle products.
As far as an alternative, they tried stevia, and it tasted awful. If you have used any supplements with stevia, what you find is that they have to use a lot to make it tastes right and it becomes basically a stevia supplement with a side of Chocolate or Vanilla. I have researched this topic endlessly; if I thought a half of a packet of Splenda would harm me or kill my performance, I would not put it in my body and I would not recommend it to you. If they could have made the product taste more like chocolate and less like stevia they would have done that because obviously they know it’s a sticky point for a few people. They couldn’t and you can’t. Period.
Here is a quote from Examine.com explaining the rational behind using a sweetener with whey hydrolysate. The guys at Examine do a great job writing up completely unbiased reviews for supplements. ”This bitter taste, especially that of the hydrolyzed whey (very bitter) can be somewhat negated by sucralose, fructose, sucrose, 5′AMP, 5′AMP disodium, sodium acetate and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Table salt is partially effective, while the combination of cold water and a sour stimuli can suppress bitterness“
Cocoon is great for getting restful and restorative sleep. If your sleep is off, it’s very hard to recover from training so this is obviously a big part of the deal. Cocoon contains a slow acting protein with L-Tryptophan. I have had to use melatonin occasionally when I was dealing with sleep troubles, but I no longer do. Cocoon does the trick. The effect is literally drool-on-your-pillow-type sleep. You wake up refreshed and ready for your WOD’s. (For more advice on fixing disordered sleep, check out our sleep tutorial article.)
I use two other supplements from Progenex: their “Omega Plus” product and their “Force” products (pre-workout). The Omegas are a fast absorbing fat source and the active ingredient in their Force product is beta-alanine, which allows for better performance during training by clearing oxidative waste from the muscle so the mitochondria can work more efficiently. If there was any supplement that was literally meant for CrossFit, it would be Force.
Creatine is literally the most researched supplement on the market. It’s cheap, and it works. I personally don’t think there is a difference between monohydrate and the Con-Cret that I use. The only real difference is the amount you have to take; Con-Cret allows me to take fewer capsules, which is why I recommend it. Many women find that it loads more efficiently, which leads to less bloating. Here is my article on creatine and my suggestions as to how much and when you should take it.
Follow this link to Amazon.com where you can buy either Con Cret or monohydrate.
How (And Why) I Take These Supplements
There’s a bit of a debate going on about whether or not you should keep your creatine and your caffeine separate. I think it matters, so I usually stop drinking coffee about an hour before I take my creatine.
I make a workout drink before training that looks like this:
- 2 scoops of Vitargo (70 grams carbs)
- 2 scoops of “Recovery” and 1 scoop of “More Muscle” (61 grams of protein)
About 45 minutes before I WOD or lift, I take this in these amounts:
- Progenex Force (BCAA’s and beta-alanine, it tastes like lemonade)
- 3 Capsules of Con Cret
- 1/3 of my workout drink
2/3 of my workout drink
1-2 capsules of Con Cret
I take 3 capsules of Omega Plus with food. I take two scoops of Cocoon before bed with hot water. Its like a non-alcoholic “hot toddy” that knocks you out so you can sleep like a baby.
You can obviously substitute any of these products for your personal preferences, but Progenex and Vitargo are top shelf nutritional supplements and I can’t recommend them more. Again, you get what you pay for so if your health and performance are important, you can’t do much better.
- Good supplements can be a life-saver when you need specific nutrition around your training.
- We recommend Progenex products because they’re great quality and they support CrossFit. End of story.
- Vitargo is the perfect carbohydrate for athletic performance; nothing else comes close. Two scoops in a blender bottle around training will improve your recovery and help you replete muscle glycogen.
- Progenex “Recovery” and “More Muscle” feature fast-absorbing whey hydrolysates to stimulate protein synthesis and help build/maintain muscle as efficiently as possible.
- Cocoon will literally knock you on your butt and it’s got a slow-digesting protein that’s perfect for bed-time.
- Creatine and beta-alanine (Progenex “Force”) round things out and may provide improved performance during WOD’s so they’re worth looking into as well.
This is a pretty popular quote by Greg Glassman and you pretty much see in every Crossfit Gym “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.”. The reason he is suggesting a moderate amount of starch is because starches and sugars are relatively inefficient and can lead to inflammation and bloating. I have been testing Vitargo for almost two months now around my workouts and the results have been nothing short of phenomenal. Basically it is an extremely refined starch, as anyone who reads this blog regularly knows we believe in moderate carbohydrate consumption to support athletic performance. Vitargo does this without bloating and inflammation and so the net result is a more efficient loading mechanism which means you don’t need to take near as much to refill your glycogen stores so you are ready for more activity sooner.
We have an offer that allows you to buy Vitargo directly from the company with no shipping costs at all. Using this link simply pick a flavor and it will bring you to the details page to order. Once you are there you will see an area of the form to enter a code. On that line you will enter the promo code:
Like in this image:
We also have another promo code that gets you more of what you really want, Vitargo. By entering Promo Code (in the coupon code section like above):
When you enter this code you receive these items (you will not receive free shipping with this code):
Here is a video that shoes you how to mix Vitargo for optimal results and goes into why the product absorbs into your cells so effectively.
Also for those that haven’t seen it this is the article I wrote on Supplements I put in my body (the when’s and why’s)
Hydrolyzed Whey or Hydrolysates are known to be fast acting amino’s but don’t take my word for it, the website I would consider to be the authority on the topic does a great job of describing why using a form of whey that is broken down easily is not only favorable but if you dairy protein allergies (like I do) hydrolyzed whey is a better option because of how it breaks down in the body. This is from Examine.com’s Human Effect Matrix, you will not get a better and more usable understanding of supplements than you can from using their HEM. Period!
Make particular note about the part where they are talking about two-a-days.
For people that read Carb Back Loading Hydrolysate’s are the form of whey Kiefer talks about in the box repeatedly.
“3.3. Whey Hydrolysate
Hydrolysate is protein that is enzymatically and acid pretreated to reduce the particulate size even further and is the fastest absorbed. Hydrolyzed protein is protein that cleaves peptide bonds, and reduces large quaternary proteins down to peptides and free amino acids. Due to this, special bioactive effects of quaternary protein structures in whey (immunoglobulins, bovine serum albumin, lactalglobulin and lactalbumins) may not apply to hydrolyzed whey, depending on the di- and tripeptides left over. An excess of free amino acids, particularly the Branched Chain Amino Acids and Proline (the latter more of a concern to casein hydrolysate) can produce a large adverse bitter taste.
The process of hydrolyzation can reduce the allergic potential of whey and milk protein, due to removing allergenic epitopes; a reason for the usage of hydrolyzed proteins in infant formula which, according to meta-analysis and systemic reviews, is effective in reducing the occurrence of atopic dermatitis (an inflammatory condition) when compared against cows milk; although breast milk for infants is still advised. Hydrolysis, even partially, can improve the solubility and improve in vitro digestability.
In a study comparing the effects of whey protein hydrolysate to casein hydrolysate (a fast absorbed form of casein), whey protein resulted in more muscle protein synthesis over 8 hours after 20g in older individuals (74+/-1yrs) at rest. Whey hydrolysate had a mixed fractional protein synthesis rate of 0.15+/-0.02%, while casein hydrolysate and regular casein had 0.10+/-0.01% and 0.08+/-0.01% respectively. A correlation (r=0.55) was noted with plasma Cmax values of essential amino acids, and a slightly higher correlation (r=0.66) with Leucine in particular.
In instances where a faster protein source is desired (perhaps pre-fuel for fasted training, or protein synthesis in the elderly), then a hydrolyzed whey protein may confer additional benefits when compared to a whey concentrate. They have either equal health benefits, or hydrolysate may confer less (or at least different) health benefits due to breaking of large peptides prior to digestion
One study that gave participants Whey Isolate or Whey Hydrolysate and tested performance at baseline and then 6 hours later noted that only the Hydrolysate group recovered power in such a short time frame, although no differences existed in muscle soreness. Protein in general appears to enhance recovery, but most studies are done on subsequent days; this suggests Hydrolyzed Whey may be of benefit to two-a-day workouts.”
Since day one, we’ve tried to align ourselves with brands that support CrossFit; Progenex obviously fits that bill. By clicking the banner below, you automatically get 10% off of all of their products. If you are asked for a code simply type in ETP10.
Almost from the moment I started this page I was getting pitched by supplement companies, many of which I have tried their products and did not like, so that was an easy decision. While we might have a discussion on the value of whey protein to Paleo athletes, in general, I recommend it for most people under 15% body fat. For people over 15% I tend to want them to take a more real food approach (partly because supplements are a real easy way to get a lot of energy density and that won’t help those folks). That of course is just my personal recommendation, you can certainly do what you like and it’s not as if 15% or lower is some sort of gold standard. So keep that in mind.
To flavor supplements you have to do one of two things, flavor it with an artificial additive (in the Paleo world that looks like Stevia) or flavor it with starches and sugars (typically Maltodextrin and maybe Dextrose in rare instances). Some of the more popular products in the Crossfit community I can’t even choke down because they have so much damned Stevia in them. It shouldn’t be called Chocolate or Vanilla flavored it should be called Stevia flavored.
Simply Pure Nutrients doesn’t taste like that, it tastes like real food because it is real food. The nutrient density in this stuff is off the charts. It’s not overly sweet so if you are looking for a supplement that tastes like a snickers bar this won’t be that. 75% of the people will love the taste. For the other 25% I would ask you what your goals are. Are you lean? Then maybe a teaspoon of dextrose will be the flavor you might like best (the 15 calories ain’t gonna kill you and dextrose is pure glucose meaning it prioritizes muscle glycogen replenishment). Beast moding not your thing, add a bit of Stevia. I’ll make some videos soon about these other options but coconut milk, whole milk or coconut water are all great options. Lastly let me make a pitch for good old water. Like I said it won’t taste like ice cream in water but if you avoid sugars most of the time you will like the taste.
The Crown Jewel for me though is the Sweet Potato recovery mix
I have a dairy protein allergy that was more acute when I was a child. As far as I can tell it only slightly affects my cardio when I have too much in my system (hard to say because my cardio won’t blow your mind no matter what). I have used egg protein in the past but that never tasted right with various stuff I made. The Sweet Potato mix is a recovery drink that you would use post workout that has sweet potatoes as the base and egg protein at about a 2.5:1 ratio. For a post workout drink that’s a real good ratio. Once again you can try it various ways but for this product water works well because it already has a sweet flavor.
Also if you need help with your order shoot email@example.com an email.
This is $49.99 and they will ship it to you in 2 business days for $5.99
The combo as a special deal to our readers is $89.99 and they will ship it to you in 2 business days for $5.99
This is the best stuff they sell, you really have to look at the nutrition info to truly appreciate this product.
The combo as a special deal to our readers is $99.99 and they will ship it to you in 2 business days for $5.99
I’ve talked a lot about a few of the other products that I use on occasion but this is the one I use after all of the sessions where I work out in the evening. The nice thing about it is that it would surprise me if you need to put it in anything to make it tastes better. I mean it’s not like ice cream but it smells kind of like Gingerbread and tastes almost as good. The main ingredients are sweet potatoes for carbs and eggs for protein. So far people trying to avoid dairy this is a great option. To order some check out our offers using this link.
For people that just want the recipe and not the explanation
10 ounces of Light Coconut Milk from a can, for people looking to add mass full coconut milk is an option here.
Frozen Banana (you need this to make the product cold and add flavor), other option is to blend the night before.
1-2 teaspoons of dextrose, you will 100% need to put this in the refrigerator the night before, just trust me on that.
I am not sure exactly what I am going to be doing this morning (I am leaning heavily towards Zerchers or Bench Press, maybe both!) but this will be my post workout drink. Now let me first caution you, frozen bananas look awful in a picture, so while this is a regular banana you have to THINK of it as a frozen peeled banana.
Let’s talk about what is going on with this shake and the options for flavoring. First there are almost no carbs in Pro3 which is nice because it gives you good options as it relates to flavoring. Certainly you could throw a scoop in ten ounces of water, it’s not an overly sweet product but if you are looking to cut a few pounds this might be the best option for you.
For me however I am looking to add some lean mass.
The second part of this shake that is certain to be controversial is that one of the options for flavoring is dextrose. Dextrose is basically pure glucose meaning exactly what the muscle wants to replenish post workout, most sugars or carb sources aren’t pure glucose and pure glucose converts more easily into glycogen which is what fuels your muscles during high intensity workouts. Which is all great but that’s not why I am using dextrose here, I am using it because it’s sweet and Pro3 is not necessarily a sweet product, it isn’t meant to be by design, which is nice because it doesn’t get in the way of the flavoring I am adding. The most dextrose I will add will only be two teaspoons which is 30 calories or roughly 8 grams of carbs. So not a lot and with all the fat my body is barely going to notice any minor insulin spike from the sugar.
The other option for flavoring is a banana. If it’s a big banana a half of one might work. You are going to have to play with the flavoring to see what works best for you. Just remember it needs to be frozen or you need to make the shake the night before and put in the refrigerator.
But won’t all that fat make me fat
Let me just get this out there, your meathead buddy at GNC trying to load you up with $250 pounds of supplements that’s going to “get you jacked”. He/she is on commission. So am I for that matter (when you buy products from my site it supports our content), the only difference is I am being honest about it and I know what the hell I am talking about. So will all this fat store as fat? There is no simple answer to that but the answer is almost certainly no. It always comes down to your overall intake for the day, most of us are LACKING in calories and energy dense options. THIS IS A GOOD ONE! All that fat keeps insulin low and allows slow absorption of the nutrients which incidentally makes it appear more like real food in your system.
But Kiefer said…..
First of all this is pretty consistent with his protocols for AM shakes. Do I really care? Not really. Kiefer writes for body builders and powerlifter’s, I write for people that do Crossfit. If you want to squat 1,000 pounds you might want to listen to him over me, I don’t know. I can tell you this though, the people I work with could potentially win the Crossfit Games. So I think it’s safe to say I know a little bit about how people who Crossfit should eat. Does that mean you shouldn’t listen to both of us and make your own decisions as to what works best for you? That’s why I sell his book.
This is what I had post workout today, it was an evening workout so there was really no restriction on carbs. I am normally not a fan of coconut water because it’s basically just sugar water and it always amazes me that people think it’s substantively better than table sugar. It is however good for flavoring and there isn’t a lot of sugar in coconut water. Combined with the Pro3 product (this is Chocolate Coconut) it tastes very good. One of the things I really like about Simply Pure Nutrient products is that there isn’t a lot (if any) artificial flavoring in them. That allows the coconut water to work with the protein better. Most products have so much artificial flavoring it detracts from the taste of the product.
If you really want to dial things in the best way to do that is by using the seminars which are now free when you purchase items from Simply Pure Nutrients, Rogue Fitness or when you purchase the book Carb Back Loading. Click the link for info.
This was my response to someone who is looking to gain mass while Crossfitting. I thought it was interesting enough to share.
“You are talking to the exact right guy. I was 149 when I was done “leaning out” but I instinctively didn’t feel like that was the right version of myself (though I wasn’t unhappy). Last years open “snatch WOD” changed my life. I realized that I needed to get A LOT stronger to really be who I wanted to become and after over a year doing it the results have been nothing short of phenomenal.