Would you Pass CrossFit’s Drug Test?
Of course I would pass the CrossFit drug test. All I take is beta-alanine, a pre-workout with caffeine and protein powder. And they’re produced in GMP facilities…
…Thought many a CrossFit athlete who signs up for the CrossFit Open.
But according to Andy Holmes—the Business Development Manager at the international anti-doping lab Informed Sport—just because a supplement is produced in a GMP (good manufacturing practice) facility doesn’t mean it’s safe. In fact, if it’s not third party tested, there’s a 10 percent chance that your beta-alanine isn’t clean, Holmes said.
According to Holmes, eighty percent of the industry produces their products in a GMP facility, yet one in 10 products he and his team take off the shelves for random testing (that aren’t third party tested) always seem to test positive for some kind of a banned substance.
“Every now and then we’ll go into countries and we’ll take a bunch of crap off the shelves and we’ll test it. Whether it’s Australia, Europe, the United States, wherever we’re going, it’s always one in 10. We’ll (test) like 100 supplements, and 10 of them will pop hot,” Holmes said.
Every single time.
A Little More About Informed Sport
Informed Sport has been around for 57 years and is the largest anti-doping lab in the world when it comes to testing banned substances under the WADA list. The company offers two certifications for clean products: Informed Sport and Informed Choice.
The Informed Sport label means every single production run put out on the market has been tested and approved, whereas Informed Choice is a monitoring program, where one production run per month gets tested.
Three Tips to Stay Clean
- Third Party Testing
The biggest thing any athlete should look for when it comes to supplements is that the supplement has been third-party tested, such as by an agency like Informed Sport, Holmes said.
This ensures it has been through the highest level of scrutiny, including GMP verification, label verification, as well as testing for banned substances, heavy metals, pesticides and other contaminants.
So while GMP is certainly “an essential part” of the process, “when you talk about banned substance testing, we’re testing for things about 50,000 times more sensitive than GMP testing,” Holmes said.
- Reach out to the Company
If in doubt, Holmes suggests reaching out to the supplement company and “asking the hard questions.”
“Ask these people, ‘Hey can you send me lab results?’ Because the thing is, it’s your money. You’re the customer. If you’re going to spend money on the product, they should be able to provide you with that kind of information,” Holmes said.
Because even if it’s a company you think you trust, because, for example, “your buddy owns the company,” this doesn’t mean that it’s clean.
- Work with a Nutrition Coach
Holmes also recommends working with a dietician or sports nutritionists to help steer you in terms of what you actually even need to be taking.
Performance isn’t just about taking supplements, Holmes explained.
“It’s the fuel you’re putting into your body,” so oftentimes it’s your nutrition, rather than supplements, you need to be focusing on to improve your performance, sleep, energy levels or digestion. So start there, Holmes suggested.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to supplements, be vigilant.
For Holmes this means, “If it’s not third party tested, I wouldn’t take it because you just don’t know,” he said.
“It’s very easy to get into this space. There are a lot of companies that come in and make a lot of money, and they’ll say whatever to make money, so do your homework.”
- CrossFit Games Drug Policy
- WADA Prohibited Substances List
- List of Current CrossFit Games Drug Sanctions
- “The Historical Ebbs and Flows of CrossFit’s Drug Testing” by Tommy Marquez
- “CrossFit Games Drug Testing 101” by Joe Genetin-Pilawa
- “OPINION: Does CrossFit Have a Drug Problem?” by Patrick Blennerhassett