Whether you’re in CrossFit class or on the goal line, the stronger you are, the better odds you have of turning in an elite performance. To get there, you need to follow a targeted weight-training regimen and a balanced meal plan. Yes, carbs and protein intake must be accounted for — but fats can’t get neglected. Omega-3s fatty acids are particularly beneficial.
Omega-3s have been known to do things such as help reduce the risk of heart disease and inflammation, to potentially providing athletes an edge in staying a step ahead of their opponents. A 2005 study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that omega-3s taken in the form of fish oil (6 g per day) can help promote cardiovascular performance during intense exercise. A separate 2011 study published The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition cited research that omega-3s were beneficial at increasing muscle protein synthesis.
There are three types of omega-3s: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and the goal should be to consume anywhere from 500 mg to 1,000 mg per day. If you’re an athlete who approaches training with ultra-high intensity on a consistent basis — and knowing you, we’re willing to bet that you are — even higher levels are often recommended (though you should check with your physician to be sure).
How can you ensure you’re hitting your omega-3s mark? Select the right foods or rely on a fish oil supplement. Those looking to go the whole-food route should shop these omega-3 rich items first: