For the fitness-minded vegetarian or vegan in search of an all-natural product, a trip to the sports nutrition store can be perplexing, not to mention discouraging. Beside the fact that most protein powders are dairy based, pre-workout supplements (a hugely popular category) often contain various artificial sweeteners and stimulants. Fortunately, all-natural ingredients that offer clean energy for intense workouts and sustained performance-enhancing benefits do exist. Here are a few of them:
Yerba Mate: Yerba Mate contains caffeine and xanthine alkaloids that provide long lasting stimulant effects and has been scientifically proven to increase alertness, focus, and exercise intensity. Yerba mate also has a high antioxidant capacity to fight cell-damaging free radicals, which may serve to enhance exercise performance and recovery.
Green Tea: This traditional Asian elixir is a well documented fat-burner, but it’s also useful pre-workout as a means of providing energy and focus similar to Yerba Mate. Green tea is great for bolstering immune system function as well due to its polyphenols and antioxidants. Research has shown that taking green tea extract combined with caffeine containing supplements (like Yerba Mate) prior to exercise synergistically increases fat burning and energy levels. You’ll be hard pressed to find a natural supplement ingredient with more physique-enhancing benefits than this.
Rhodiola Extract: Increasing blood flow to hard-working muscles has been a top priority of gym rats for years. But many consumers are wary of manufactured nitric oxide boosters with debatable effectiveness. If this is you, try the all-natural Rhodiola, which has been found to help dilate blood vessels to increase oxygen delivery to muscles throughout the body. When taken before training, Rhodiola may also play a role in improving protein synthesis after the workout.
[JOE: see below, that is the “simply put” science behind Rhodiola’s effects.
Rhodiola rosea is a potent herbal adaptogen— which, simply put, means increases the body’s ability to handle stress and fatigue by maintaining hormonal homeostasis. Adaptogens have been noted to increase energy and focus as a result of their effects on neurotransmitter release in the brain. Beyond that, studies show that Rhodiola supplementation before exercise increases mitochondrial respiration in muscle and time to exhaustion, and may improve recovery.
Find these all-natural ingredients and others in:
Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer