The best natural pre-workout alternatives
by Harry • 4 minutes read
Last updated: 16 Jun, 2022
It’s crucial to fuel our bodies for those moments we push to our peak performance. For many this means adding a scoop of artificially constructed powder to a bottle of water and downing it in 30 seconds before we head to the gym. But for others, we’re stuck searching for a natural alternative that gives us the same boost. They can often be tough to find, but we’re here to help.
So, if you’re put off by the artificial sweeteners and extreme caffeine kicks of traditional pre-workouts, not to mention the hit to your bank account, then look no further… here are 3 natural pre-workout alternatives.
Now I know I just called out pre-workout supplements for their overwhelming caffeine hits, but coffee is still a great option if you’re looking for an energy burst before exercising.
Coffee is well known for boosting focus and energy and as a cheap, quick drink it’s no surprise that so many of us turn to it to kick off our work days. Relying on caffeine every day may not be the best option for our overall health, but consuming it here and there is absolutely fine.
The scary thing about most pre-workouts is that on average contain 150 mg to 300 mg of caffeine per serving (per The Cleveland Clinic), which roughly translates to one to three cups of coffee. Put that alongside the other artificial additives, it’s no surprise your heart rate tends to go through the roof after consuming most pre-workout supplements out there.
So, if you’re a fan of coffee and you’re looking for a cheaper, quick replacement to the common supplements then try a cup of dark roast coffee before your workout for a lower caffeine dose that still delivers an energy boost.
Green or matcha tea
If you hate the caffeine crash after a coffee-fueled workout then green tea may be a good option for you. Matcha tea is perhaps the best green tea for preworkout - containing 68mg of caffeine, the rush isn’t overwhelming, and it also carries other components that are beneficial for exercising.
The key ingredient in green tea is green tea extract (GTE) which assists with fat oxidation and also assists with energy metabolism.
A a study in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that:
“Matcha resulted in lower respiratory exchange ratio and enhanced fat oxidation during a 30-min brisk walk. Matcha green tea drinking can enhance exercise-induced fat oxidation in females. “
So if you’re looking for even less caffeine but still want that kick before your workout, matcha may be your best option.
Smoothies and fruit
If you want to steer clear of caffeine altogether, there’s nothing better than the humble smoothie or even fruit by itself. The natural sugars in all fruit offer a great short-term energy boost, perfect for a gym session.
Plus, you really can’t can’t go wrong. Throw whatever you can find in your fruit bowl into a blender and you’re ready to go. Don’t be afraid to add greens too! You can add things like spinach and kale to your smoothies with very little change to the flavour - you won’t even notice they’re there. You can also throw in things like chia seeds, which are a great source of natural protein, fibre and healthy fats.
Smoothies also offer a chance to pack on more muscle by adding in protein powder if that’s your workout goal. But you can tailor your smoothie to you. If you’re looking to pack on certain vitamins you can do that, if you want to lose or gain weight then you can do that too, all while giving you the energy you need for a great workout.
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