Our bodies are the most complex machines on Earth. Like any machine, they need fuel to run, and the better the fuel, the better the performance.
Whether you’re exercising for fun and fitness or training to be the next Schwartzenegger, nutrition is key. What you put in your body effects not only your workout, but your recovery as well. Balancing what you eat pre- and post-workout is essential to achieve optimal results.
You receive most of your nutrition through the foods you eat. This alone will provide you with most of the vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients your body needs. However, if you are exercising regularly, you might require additional nutrition in the form of pre- and post workout supplements. It can be a good idea to drink a smoothie or juice before your workout. This will provide you with the calories and nutrition you need to work hard and achieve your goals. It’s also a great way to take your supplements; just add them into your drink and get going!
Listening to your body is crucial. Physical fitness is about overcoming limitations, but nothing is more important than your overall wellbeing. When using these products, pay attention to how your body reacts. Only use what makes you feel your best.
Before your Workout
Proper preparation prevents poor performance, as they say. Step one is approaching your exercise in the right state of mind and body. You want to feel energized, pain-free, and ready to work hard. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. When we feel tired and sore, working out is the last thing we want to do. However, consistency is key when it comes to exercise; if we only trained on the days we felt like it, we wouldn’t get much done.
Many pre-workout supplement products exist in the commercial fitness space. They are packed full of caffeine and synthetic stimulants, aminos, and sugar. If you’re looking to avoid suspect ingredients and sophomoric marketing, there are plenty of natural alternatives. Here are some ways to get in the zone before you even leave your home.
Cordyceps is a variety of fungus found all over the world. It has traditionally been used in Chinese medicine to treat a number of fatigue-related ailments. In recent years, it has become popular with athletes and people working high-pressure jobs. Studies suggest that supplementing with cordyceps enables muscles to work harder and work longer, as well as decreasing buildup of lactic acid and other inflammatory agents. In other words, you can train harder and feel less sore afterward.
Try mixing cordyceps powder into a smoothie or drink. You might find it’s just the boost you need before you hit the gym.
Moringa trees are native to Asia and Africa, where they are a central ingredient in many cuisines. Almost every part of the tree can be eaten, but the leaves are of special note. They contain an astonishing amount of sustenance and are often described as one of Earth’s most nutritionally dense foods. They are especially high in vitamin C and potassium, which is great for keeping your muscles fueled throughout your workout. This makes moringa powder a great pre-workout supplement.
Powdered moringa leaf blends seamlessly into smoothies or green juice. Throw some in your pre-gym shake for long-lasting energy.
Caffeine can be a welcome boon when it comes to working out. The natural stimulant can provide your body with energy and your mind with focus, enabling you to be your best. However, all things in moderation. Too much caffeine before exercise can leave you feeling jittery and anxious at best, sweaty and out-of-breath at worst. For this reason, it is recommended to get your caffeine from natural sources. Commercial energy drinks or pre-workout powders typically contain an unhealthy amount of caffeine, as well as other stimulants. This can be a recipe for disaster, especially for those not used to consuming caffeine. Instead, try a good ol’ fashioned cup of coffee or tea. Just one cup should pick you up without overdoing it. As a bonus, coffee and tea (especially green tea) are high in beneficial antioxidants and other healthful compounds.
This earthy red root is a workout wonder. Beets are full of fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients, but they have another special property. They are high in nitrate, which is converted through digestion into nitric oxide. This potent vasodilator works to open up your blood vessels and enable a greater rate of blood flow. This helps supply your muscles with more oxygen and glycogen, in turn increasing endurance during exercise.
You can access the benefits of beets by eating them, or by taking beet pre-workout supplements. These come in the form of powders or gummies for convenient use.
Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand, and both are necessary for fitness. Make sure your body is properly fueled before and after you exercise, and you’ll begin to feel a difference when you train.