Over the past several months I’ve had the opportunity to try out and test several products associated with the CrossFit world and I thought I’d let you know what I thought about them. There are a few supplements, quite a bit of equipment from Rogue Fitness, several pairs of shoes, and some clothing. Most came from discount sites like Amazon and Zappos or from the retailer’s own online store.
First off let’s talk about Rogue Fitness. Besides the fact that their shipping is horrendous and unrelaible, I love their gear. However the 10 pound bumper plates are junk. Unless you have specific rules about when it is and isn’t acceptable to dump loaded bars in your facility then be prepared to watch the collars pop out of these rubber bumpers in a week or less. Admittedly there’s never really a good reason for someone to be dumping a barbell loaded with only a set of 10’s but hey if you train spoiled “Princesses” its going to happen. These are more of a technique plate than a workout plate and should always be used in conjunction with heavier or stiffer plates.
If you really want a no-nonsense performance bumper plate visit http://www.sportsmith.net. Their bumpers run about half the cost of Rogue or VTX and are the choice of many Olympic Lifters and CF Boxes across the world. That being said if I had the cash and a place to do it; I’d build a Rogue stocked gym in a heartbeat. The majority of their gear is top of the line, American made, and built specifically with Cross-Training athletes in mind.
Also from Rogue I’ve picked up a set of Gymnastic grips. In short don’t waste your time or money. They are awesome quality but are made by the same manufacturer selling them on Amazon for half the price. Be smart chalk your hands and only use rings or bars with a smooth (un-taped) finish. I won’t lie I bought these because I saw Rich Froning using them during the CrossFit games. Since them I’ve taken the time to build up my calluses and practice good handhold technique and can’t stand having anything between me and the bar. Something I did find from Rogue and recommend though are wrist wraps. They come in many different lengths and provide extra support in overhead lifts and presses. If you’re an aspiring “Oly” lifter these are great.
Finally let’s talk apparel. I really like the shirts and Hats I bought from Rogue they’re competitively priced compared to “LifasRx” and “Reebok” but the shirt material seems to be hit or miss. I have a total of 5 Rogue shirts and all sport the same maker tag but some seem to be traditional cotton while others are more of a dri-fit weave. On their website Rogue does not list a fabric type so your guess is as good as mine. Over-all they have a snug athletic fit and cut. If you have the guns to fill them you will love these shirts. However two of them have now shrunk so much as to be un-wearable. Something I do love and have nothing but good things to say about though are the Rogue “Econ” trucker hats. They run $10 and are damn near indestructible.
In shoes my love affair with” INOV-8″ continues though my one complaint would be that they still remain expensive and finding a retailer that stocks them so you can try them on before purchase is all but impossible. The Bare XF-210’s I wrote an article about some months ago are still doing well. One thing I love about these shoes is that you can throw them in the washing machine with a load of clothes and they come out looking brand-new again. For rope climbing these shoes are unmatched and continue to be my choice for any CrossFit WOD not involving a run. In those cases I stick with my F-Lite 230’s or my trusty New Balance Minimus.
I also wrote an article on the NB Minimus 20’s nearly a year ago and mine just will not die. I have not had the wear issues many report and if anything they’re more comfortable now than when I first got them. My F-lite 230’s not so much. After 10 months of hard daily use they are about ready for retirement. I ordered a pair of Road-X 233’s back on January 9th from The Clymb but as of today they still have not arrived and its anyone’s guess when they will. I will probably never make another purchase from this retailer again based on the debacle on getting this order delivered as promised. A final word about my Bare-X 210’s; great for Deadlifts and all around use, terrible for Olympic Lifts. Invest in a dedicated lifting shoe if you’re serious about getting heavy weights overhead quickly.
Let’s wrap this up with supplements. As a Paleo advocate supplements are a touchy subject for me. I’d like to say stay away from them but the reality is the amount of food you’d have to eat to get the extra protein you can obtain from a quality shake is not only costly but impractical. You’ll find that many competitive CrossFit athletes are not close followers of Paleo eating, they eat clean make no mistake; avoiding alcohol, excessive carbs and sugar but many have a supplement stack 10 products deep. I keep it relatively simple with a pre-workout beverage from “Cellucor” called C-4 which I have grown to love for its lack of jitters and after workout crash. Not to mention it tastes great! I had been a fan of BSN’s No-Xplode for years but have converted over.
I also take a multi-vitamin from Optimum Nutrition (Opti-men), Fish Oil, L-glutamine also from ON, Micronized unflavored Creatine powder, again from ON and a Whey Protein blend either from ON or BSN’s Syntha-6. Both have artificial sweeteners but compared to the alternatives the cost difference and taste don’t justify it. Syntha-6 is by far the best tasting protein I’ve tried over the last 12 years and also contains a very unique blend of Whey, Egg, and Casein proteins with over 10 grams of BCAA’s. It also runs about $10 less for five pounds than most brands. If it’s that important to you to go natural ON makes a great “Natural” brand in their lineup and there are many different suppliers of Organic and Grass-fed cow sourced Whey proteins but be ready to pay through the nose for just a pound at a time.
So there’s a rough outline of the products I’ve been trying. If you have a specific question about any of the brands or products I’ve talked about please comment below or email me.