You have likely seen workout "supplements" in your local grocery store. They are sold in a variety of forms: pills, powders, and shakes. In my youth, even I used them frequently!
However, these products have a warning label for a reason.
The global pre-workout supplement market size alone was estimated to reach $13.98 billion in 2020 and almost double in size to $23.77 billion by 2027.
Fitness "gurus" and bloggers tout these products as crucial for peak performance, fat loss, and explosive muscle growth in combination with complicated scientific-sounding names and labels might have you believing you can’t effectively exercise without them. But do these supplements live up to the hype, and are they even necessary—or in some cases, safe? Like other dietary supplements in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not review workout supplements for safety or effectiveness before they are sold to consumers.
What Is In Your Supplement?
Since the FDA does not regulate these products, we don’t know exactly what they contain! This makes it easy for supplements to cause harmful side effects that are challenging to track down due to hard-to-identify ingredients.
A Natural Solution
For many years, I have utilized a combination of healthy, natural products to enhance my workout routine. It is quite simple actually! Today, I am going to tell you my secret...
<-- When I competed a few years ago.
3 Simple Ingredients
Beetroot, Pomegranate, Lemon.
Sounds simple? That's because it is!
Here are the benefits of this amazing combination:
Dietary nitrate, found in beetroot juice, significantly increases muscle force during exercise.
While it is known that dietary nitrate enhances exercise, both boosting endurance and enhancing high-intensity exercise, researchers still have much to learn about why this effect occurs, and how our bodies convert dietary nitrate that we ingest into the nitric oxide that can be used by our cells.
To help close this gap, researchers at the University of Exeter and the U.S. National Institutes of Health traced the distribution of ingested nitrate in the saliva, blood, muscle and urine of ten healthy volunteers, who were then asked to perform maximal leg exercise. The team wanted to discover where in the body the dietary nitrate was active, to give clues on the mechanisms at work.
An hour after the nitrate was taken, participants were asked to perform 60 contractions of the quadriceps -- the thigh muscle active while straightening the knee -- at maximum intensity over five minutes on an exercise machine. The team found a significant increase in the nitrate levels in muscle. During the exercises, researchers found this nitrate boost caused an increase in muscle force of seven per cent, compared to when the participants took a placebo.
This research provides a large body of evidence on the performance-enhancing properties of dietary nitrate, commonly found in beetroot juice. Excitingly, this latest study provides the best evidence to date on the mechanisms behind why dietary nitrate improves human muscle performance.
This study provides the first direct evidence that muscle nitrate levels are important for exercise performance, presumably by acting as a source of nitric oxide. These results have significant implications not only for the exercise field, but possibly for other medical areas such as those targeting neuromuscular and metabolic diseases related to nitric oxide deficiency.
Pomegranates also contain nitrates which are converted to nitric oxide when consumed via a very complex pathway called the enterosalivary nitrate - nitric oxide (NO) pathway.
Let me break down the key steps in this process:
Nitrate-rich pomegranate is eaten and absorbed in the upper GI tract
Circulating nitrate is uptaken by the salivary glands and excreted in the saliva
Nitrate is converted to nitrite by mouth bacteria
Nitrite is swallowed and converted to nitric oxide in the stomach
Additional nitrite enters the systemic circulation where it is converted to NO in the blood and tissue
NO is instrumental in promoting vasodilation and blood flow – key factors for a "muscle pump". NO relaxes the smooth muscles of blood vessels, which causes vasodilation and increased blood flow. In addition, the enhanced oxygen delivery to hardworking muscles from the increased blood flow has also been shown to boost cardiovascular performance in athletes.
Lemons are power-packed with essential nutrients including vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and fiber. They even contain more potassium than apples or grapes. Adding it to your daily routine helps in reducing the risk of stroke and even some cancers due to high flavanone levels that exist in citrus fruit.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drinking lemon water during a workout not only helps in staying hydrated but also balances your body temperature, lubricate joints and protects your spinal cord. Lemon water is full of naturally occurring electrolytes that help balance your body’s fluids and maintain energy. Lemon water also has the potential to aid weight loss. It helps you feel fuller, which can lead to weight loss over time.
As strange as it may seem, even though lemon juice is acidic it helps eliminate excess acids from your body, such as lactic acid, which is forms due to over-exercising. By having lemon juice daily, it helps speed up recovery and get your muscles back on track sooner. In addition, it removes uric acid in your joints, which is one of the main causes of inflammation.
The Fitness Doctor method
A natural, affordable, healthy, workout drink that is scientifically proven! I wish I knew about this in my youth...