There is a lot of hype out there in the bodybuilding/workout community advertising pre workout supplements. I would be lying if said I have never tried one…ok truth talk I have tried about all of them. I use to be somewhat of a gym rat and if a supplement helped my lifts and gave me energy I didn’t really pay attention to any of the additives, dyes, or crummy ingredients written in tiny print next to a warning label….whoops :/
Now a days I haven’t been in the gym in a few years due to a couple of back surgeries ( a story for another time) so I have had the luxury of looking at these supplements with an unbiased perspective and the view is not pretty.
Top selling pre-workout supplements such as USP Labs Jack3D, MusclePharm Assault, & MuscleTech NeuroCore contain the following chemically derived ingredients:
Sucralose: An artificial chlorinated artificial sweetener in line with aspartame and saccharin, with detrimental health effects to match(aka Splenda). Sucralose has been show to decrease gut health by 50% and despite its “diet” artificial sweeteners have been shown to:
- Stimulate your appetite
- Increase carbohydrate cravings
- Stimulate fat storage and weight gain
FD& C Red #40:
- A petrochemical. A highly processed, petroleum based chemical used to color foods to make them more visually appetizing.
- It goes by several names including: Allura Red, Food Red 17, C.I. 16035, FD&C Red 40.
- It is banned and/or being phased out in much of Europe due to concerns over health effects.
Acesulfame-K: is a potassium salt containing methylene chloride, a known carcinogen.
Reported side effects: Long term exposure to methylene chloride can cause nausea, headaches, mood problems, impairment of the liver and kidneys, problems with eyesight and possibly cancer. Acesulfame-K may contribute to hypoglycemia.
Concerns: Of all artificial sweeteners, acesulfame-K has undergone the least scientific scrutiny. Early studies showed a potential link between the sweetener and development of multiple cancers in laboratory animals.
When you take a step back and think about the long-term damage you are doing to your body for short-term gains in the gym it seems pretty insane.
So whats the solution to still getting huge pumps, increased lifts, and long-lasting energy to tear the gym a new one?
So why are beets the key to succesful workouts?
- Beets are a great source of inorganic nitrates which friendly bacteria in the mouth convert to nitrate, and then through the body is converted to nitric oxide. Ever heard of it? If you are a gym rat you probably are very familiar with nitric oxide as a pre workout supplement that helps increase your lifts because of its positive effect on blood flow, muscle contraction, and neurotransmission. Basically bigger lifts and more energy.
- Beet juice has been shown to drop systolic blood pressure by 5-10mmHG depending on the dose. The more the better (1 cup is a good serving suggestion) but you will want to start small (about 1/4 cup) or else you could feel a bit light-headed if you are an athlete and your blood pressure tends to run on the low side.
- It is best to drink this a few hours (2.5 hours to be exact) before your workout for the peak levels to be reach while exercising but one hour before will still yield positive results.
Other health benefits from Beet Juice:
• It is an amazing antioxidant and helps prevent the formation of cancerous tumors.
• Beetroot juice detoxifies the liver and aids in healing diseases of the digestive system.
• Good source of folic acid and helps in providing protection against birth defects.
• Beet juice lowers bad cholesterol level.
You can buy a beet root powder but I like to juice mine fresh along with turmeric ( a natural anti-inflammatory which will help decrease muscle soreness), ginger (for added heat to increase blood flow and beat muscles soreness), and carrots for some sweetness and to prevent muscle cramping. This juice is also an amazing pain killer for post workout as well so basically anytime anywhere you can drink this juice and feel amazing!
Bonus Add ons:
- Maca Powder: A powerful adaptogen that increases oxygen, energy, and balances hormones
- Scoop of favorite protein powder to balance the natural sugars and give your body more to work with for extended workouts.
- 1 tbl of chia seeds to aid in fluid retention, halting absorptions of sugars, and for a boost of protein.
Pre Workout Beet Juice Drink
Vegan- Alkaline - Gluten Free - Grain Free - Paleo
- 3 Organic Peeled Beets
- 4 Organic Peeled Carrots
- 2 Small (about 1'') Pieces Peeled Turmeric
- 1 Small Coin of Ginger
- Optional: Maple Syrup, or Honey to Taste but raw and pure is best
- Juice all of the ingredients in a juicer and store in an airtight glass container.
- One serving is 4-8oz (1/2 -1 cup) but start small.
- Don't have a juicer? Chop all of the ingredients into very small pieces and add them to some warm water in a high power blender and puree then strain through cheesecloth.
- Feel Free to add in protein powder for extended workouts and maca powder to increase energy and oxygen levels.
- Excessive consumption of beet juice may cause your urine to turn pink. This is normal and nothing to be worried about.