Could adaptogenic supplements and herbs help improve athletic performance? Well, every athlete is looking for an edge, and it should be something that will make them better than their competitor – legally, of course. At the very least, it should help them improve endurance, focus, strength, oxygen utilization, mood elevation, and recovery from long workouts faster.
While various solutions can help them reach peak performance levels, the list of natural solutions is relatively small. Some synthetic solutions are banned for their specific sports, while others come with side effects. Finding a natural solution that will elevate their performance without these side effects can be a blessing for the typical athlete.
Luckily, adaptogens offer just that. All an athlete will need to do is to introduce them into their diet. Here is what you should know about adaptogens and how they can elevate an athlete’s performance:
What Are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that help the body cope with stress better, whether physical, mental, or biological. These herbs have been around for centuries and have been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions. While some can be consumed as part of a diet, others are mainly brewed into teas or consumed as supplements. Each herb’s benefits might differ from one herb to another, but the general benefit is stress relief.
How Adaptogens Work?
Adaptogens help maintain the right balance in the adrenal system, which is responsible for releasing the stress hormone. Anytime you are dealing with stress, you are likely to develop adrenal fatigue. While stress is supposed to be a temporary state of wellbeing, people are always stressed in today’s environment.
Stress might arise from heavy workout sessions for athletes, having their name circulated in the media, and even family and career problems. The faster they can deal with this stress, the easier it will be to focus on improving their performance.
Sadly, this constant stress often leads to adrenal fatigue. This results in people experiencing symptoms like having a craving for salty foods, extreme fatigue, weakened immune system, and irritability. Different adaptogens relieve the body of this stress in a variety of ways. Here are three adaptogens every athlete should consider trying:
Athletes who want to perform optimally can always rely on Ashwagandha benefits. Being among the most vital Ayurvedic herbs, Ashwagandha is known to improve brain health, boost adrenal functions, increase stamina and endurance, and improve moods. It also plays a crucial role in controlling cortisol levels in the body.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that is mainly released by the adrenal glands to respond to stress. If the cortisol levels in the body become chronically elevated, the athlete can experience increased fat storage in the abdomen and high blood sugar levels.
The impact of Rhodiola on athletic performance and recovery is an issue that has been widely researched. The plant boasts anti-fatigue, anti-hypoxic, anti-stress, immune-enhancing, antioxidant, and sexual stimulation properties. Besides increasing oxygen rate use in the muscles, it also helps produce creatine phosphate and ATP.
The fact that it is also an antioxidant and can lower elevated cortisol levels also makes it ideal for athletes’ consumption. These benefits can help enhance muscle strength and stamina during periods when peak performance is required. Research has also shown that the herb can also help with perceived exertion, assisting athletes in working harder for longer.
Ginseng has, for long, been a prized energy enhancer in Chinese medicine. The adaptogenic herb has its primary active ingredients in its roots, which are known as ginsenosides. These active ingredients increase strength by enhancing creatine production. In one Canadian research, ginseng was administered to rats for four days. Observations showed that the rats extended their exercise time to exhaustion since the herb encouraged the body to burn fat for fuels and spare glucose.
This proved that the herb could increase endurance and aid in fat loss. Ginseng also helps lower muscle fatigue by inhibiting the production of serotonin in the body. Since the body has low levels of hormones that signal exhaustion, you can train for longer.
How to Include Adaptogens in Your Diet
For athletes to enjoy the benefits adaptogens have in store for them, they need to include them in their diet. While they are used to complement well-balanced nutrition plans, adaptogens aren’t in any way meant to substitute living a healthy lifestyle. They should be included in a diet that already has whole food components like carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins within them.
In case you want to add them to your diet, you might only need to buy premixed powder before using it to spice up your food. Alternatively, you can also mix most of these herbs with teas or combine their tinctures with water.
Some adaptogens are also sold as capsules to be taken as supplements. However, athletes need to be careful with the specific pills they choose. Reading the ingredient list will help them assess whether the supplements will improve their workout routines and performance, without causing any side effects.
Adaptogens Contribute To Your Long-Term Health
When taken consistently, adaptogens will do more than enhance an athlete’s performance in the gym or a sport. They promise long-term health benefits without the side effects of most exercise supplements, such as sleep disruption and irritability. Unlike other supplements that the body forms a tolerance towards and demands more of, to enjoy the same effects, adaptogen benefits increase with usage.
The more you use adaptogens, the more you can enjoy their stress-reducing qualities. These herbs are also known to adjust themselves to the specific needs of the user. For instance, if one user has low cortisol levels, they can encourage the body to produce more. Ideally, the herb you opt for during your training will depend on the benefits you need and its availability.
Adaptogens Are Great for Your Overall Health
Your training sessions and performance need every boost they can find out there. Adaptogens happen to offer performance enhancements while improving your overall health. Consider including them into your diet today to enjoy the above benefits and more.