With CrossFit Regionals and the Games right around the corner, you may notice one less familiar face around Vendor Village: Progenex. In years past, Progenex was a staple at Regionals and the Games. However, last year a class action lawsuit was filed against Progenex and subsequently, with no explanation, CrossFit HQ cut ties with the company. The lawsuit, which was brought by an unknown number of individuals who purchased the product, claims Progenex made false product representations.
As to avoid boring everyone with the legal jargon, among other things, the individuals are alleging that Progenex represented that its product contained comparatively more Branch Chain Amino Acids ("BCAAs") than regular whey protein isolate and that its product was enriched with Growth Factors, which the Plaintiffs claim it was not. For example, Progenex claimed that it's More Muscle contained 20% more BCAAs and Leucine than regular whey protein isolate. Plaintiffs however allege that after scientific testing, the product actually only contained 7.218 grams of BCAAs per 31-gram protein serving. They go on to list several other whey proteins that include a much higher content of BCAAs. This case will likely be litigated for several years, but in the meantime, CrossFit HQ (for whatever reason) made the decision to part ways with Progenex.
However, on a larger scale, it begs the question why are we taking the supplements we take? For many people, they simply take the product because CrossFit HQ has endorsed it or because their favorite Games Athlete uses the product. While we would hope that HQ and the athletes are only recommending the best products, at the end of the day, they are all in the business of making money. HQ received a lot of money from Progenex and the athletes who were sponsored by it did too. Whether through entry fees, equipment, clothing, supplements, or the like.
Relying blindly on HQ and athletes when making decisions on what to put into our bodies is not the best course of action. In a world where people can make hundreds and thousands of dollars by simply posting about a product on their Instagram, we as a fitness community need to be more diligent and do our own research. We cannot rely on the fitness professionals (or blame them), because most of the time they are being paid to promote a product.
While admittedly it would have been hard for a consumer to test Progenex's claims, a quick look on the back of the More Muscle product shows that the product has up to 9g of sugar. More Muscle is marketed as a recovery protein therefore if you take this supplement immediately post workout you are putting more than two teaspoons of sugar down your throat after training. This alone should have deterred most people.
The uncomfortable reality is that it is up to the consumer to educate themselves about the ingredients they are putting in their bodies. Look at the back of the labels and research each ingredient that is included in the supplement. The FDA requires ingredients to be listed in order by the amount of each ingredient, from the most used to the least used. Therefore, when looking at a label, take this into account while also keeping in mind the purpose you are taking the supplement. Don't just take a supplement to take it, take it because you need the ingredients it provides.
We live in a generation where information is always only 5 seconds away. Do your research. In fact, a lot of the information on how to properly assess supplements can be found on the Culture Report. We have written about what proprietary blends really mean, we have written about sugar substitutes and which ones to avoid, and the list goes on.
At LuaVíve, we are constantly brainstorming ways to be a trusted source for the fitness industry. We never try to up-sell our product. While we are confident that we manufacture and produce the highest quality products on the market, we never assume you should take our word for it. Instead we seek to educate our visitors on what we put in our products and why it is beneficial to them. Our mission is ultimately to educate the community to make smarter more informed decisions about their health. You are spending the time training in the gym, the time meal prepping your foods and the money buying supplements; it only makes sense that you also take the time to know what you are putting in your body and why.