Natural pre-workout drinks
Date Posted:15 February 2020
A pre-workout can be a great addition to give your exercise an extra kick, allowing you to train harder and push your body that little bit extra. However, in the world of sports nutrition, there can be some pretty nasty ingredients. Many pre-workouts contain an excessive amount of caffeine (300-500mg) artificial sweetness and colours which can place strain on your liver, heart and nervous system.
Ingredients to watch out for
- Caffeine exceeding 150mg per serve (a regular cup of coffee contains about 100mg caffeine).
- Artificial sweeteners – aspartame (951), acesulphame (950), neotame (961), sucralose (955)
- Artificial colours – these usually appear on the ingredients list as “red”, “blue” etc.
Using food as medicine is an effective method for increasing energy, strength and endurance. While you can certainly mix your own ingredients into a smoothie or shake, a natural pre-workout powder is quick, easy and effective – the perfect complement for your next work out. Look out for these key ingredients:
Siberian ginseng is a stimulating herb beneficial for increasing energy and helping the body to cope with stress. As an adaptogenic herb, the stimulating effects of ginseng work by boosting natural energy when you need it, but won’t keep you up at night like most sports pre workouts. When used before or during exercise, Siberian ginseng assists in endurance and increased muscular and cardiac output, without overstimulating the nervous system.
Traditional to South America, yerba mate is an antioxidant rich herbal tea used to promote mental clarity and focus, boost the immune system, improve energy and enhance physical exertion. Containing a moderate amount of caffeine (about 85mg per cup), yerba mate is beneficial for improving athletic performance and helping to increase thermogenesis (fat burning) during physical exercise.
Green coffee bean
Green coffee bean extract has a very small, almost negligible caffeine content, gaining popularity years ago due to its ability to assist in weight loss. Chlorogenic acid is the natural compound found in green coffee bean extract that assists in appetite suppression and thermogenesis, resulting in greater weight loss when used in conjunction with diet and exercise. Additionally, green coffee bean helps to regulate blood sugar levels, improve blood pressure, increase energy and provide antioxidant support.
Raw cacao and beetroot powder
Raw cacao powder is high in magnesium, an essential mineral necessary for muscle and nerve function as well as energy production. Cacao also contains arginine, the amino acid precursor to nitric oxide (NO), a natural substance within the body that vasodilates blood vessels. This means that the blood vessels become wider, allowing more oxygen to flow into the muscles, generating greater energy and endurance. While not generally used in pre-workout formulations, raw cacao powder is perfect to add into a pre or post-workout smoothie for natural energy. Beetroot powder or beetroot juice is a natural source of nitric oxide due to the nitrates found in beets which convert within the body to NO. Beetroot juice shots are an easy natural way to improve energy and endurance before or during a workout.
MCT oil or coconut oil
Unlike other saturated fats, coconut oil is comprised of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) which essentially bypass the digestive system, instead going straight to the liver where it is processed and utilised for instant energy. Eating coconut oil off the spoon before cardiovascular exercise can help to boost energy for a better work out. For a greater effect, pure MCT oil or MCT oil powder is a superior choice for instant natural energy.