Fuelling Your Energy Machine: Part 2

When choosing which supplements to spend your hard-earned money on, make sure you do your homework. When researching a specific product, look for peer-reviewed scientific research. Always be wary of products that have mega “wow” words and descriptions, such as “mega-ripped” or “shredded to the max”. If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Remember, there is no such thing as a miracle pill. All supplements work in concert with an integrated fitness program. Here is another compilation of some of the best natural enhancing supplements that you may consider trying out and purchase it at health stores near you.

 

Caffeine

The findings are refutable. Caffeine is the world’s most popular energy-boosting chemical. The key, of course, is moderation. One cup of coffee, which typically contains about 250 milligrams of caffeine, can enhance your workout, while two or more cups can leave you jittery and anxious.

How It Gives You Juice

Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and increases the metabolism of free fatty acids in the bloodstream. Free fatty acids are the portion of fat that can be burned as fuel by the muscles. It also decreases the contractile threshold of a muscle, allowing a smaller stimulus to elicit a muscle contraction. Until recently, research has been divided as to whether caffeine has a positive effect on energy production for active individuals. To clarify the inconsistent conclusions of studies done on exercise and caffeine, a team of researchers from the University of Florida reviewed the scientific literature on the effects of caffeine. They found that caffeine is a potent exercise enhancer due to its ability to increase fat mobilisation and spare glycogen use. Most experts agree that to burn more fat more efficiently, particularly for long-term exercise, caffeine can be helpful. It raises your respiration and heart rate — and more respiration means more energy.

Performance Busters and Boosters

Excessive caffeine usage can cause nervousness, anxiety, diarrhoea, headaches and heart palpations. Studies have shown that caffeine may cause miscarriage or may slow down the growth of a developing foetus when given in doses greater than 300 milligrams (equivalent to three cups of coffee) per day. In addition, pregnant women who consume large amounts of caffeine can cause problems with the heart rhythm of the foetus and should therefore consume less than 300 milligrams of caffeine a day. For everyone, caffeine has a diuretic effect, which can rob your body of water. As a general rule, drink one cup of water for every cup of coffee you have. And to get just the boost — and not the crash — caused by caffeine, limit your intake to just one or two cups daily.

 

Ginseng

Ginseng has been flying off retail shelves recently, thanks to its reputation as a potent energy enhancer. Ginseng belongs to a family of herbal supplements known as “adaptogens”, which are reputed to help the body adapt to high level of stress.

How It Give You Juice

Ginseng stimulates the brain and adrenal (pituitary) system to produce greater levels of excitatory hormones, providing energy and improving carbohydrate as well as protein metabolism. However, in the last few years, there has been disagreement as to whether or not ginseng can actually improve athletic performance. A recent article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has provided hard evidence that the herb can increase muscular strength and aerobic work capacity. It stated that approximately 75% of the studies confirmed a positive effect from ginseng supplementation. According to the report, most, but not all, of the available research on ginseng indicate that the herb may enhance mental and physical performance if taken long enough and in sufficient doses. It is worth noting that ginseng also promotes fabulous skin as ginseng is prized as an anti-ageing ingredient for the truckload of phytonutrients it contains.

Performance Busters and Boosters

A recent study showed that ginseng significantly improved oxygen uptake, post-exercise recovery, pectoral strength and quadriceps strength as compared to a placebo. The literature suggests that 200 milligrams of a high-quality ginseng supplement contain 7% ginsenosides (the active component) and when taken three times daily with meals can be effective in improving overall performance and recovery for people involved in intense cardiovascular or weight training exercises. Do note, however, that large doses can raise blood pressure.

 

The Bottom Line

It is important for you to realise that any energy enhancing product work only in conjunction with an integrated fitness program. You already know the building blocks of building muscle and energy — eat six nutritious meals every day, combine carbohydrates and protein at every meal and drink eight to 10 glasses of water daily.

Remember too that the slightest deficiency of the B-complex vitamin group can give you a serious case of the “blahs” since they work together to metabolise carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energising fuel. Without B vitamins, all your ingestion of healthy proteins, carbohydrates, fats and supplements will be all for naught.