The workout and exercise supplement industry is a huge business, full of contradictory claims and heated debates. A vast majority of these powders, juices, and pills are not approved or recommended by any health organization, and many can pose serious risks to your overall well-being.
Perhaps you’ve found yourself at the gym or the nutrition shop trying to pronounce the names of the ingredients that go into fat burners, amino acid boosters, and pre-workout concoctions. But if you’re trying to stay committed to an all-natural lifestyle, don’t worry because there’s a better way.
These are some of the best natural alternatives to exercise supplements that you can find – with all the nutrition your body needs and none of the surprise side effects or long-term damage.
Apples for Energy
Eating an apple a day does more than just keep the doctor away; it fuels your body with energy all day long! Apples contain lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants , and a gradual natural sugar release to keep you going through your workouts.
Green Tea for Energy
Another great natural source of energy is green tea. Green tea contains high levels of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and metabolic properties, and the naturally-occurring caffeine in green tea can boost metabolism. Research studies supported by the National Institutes of Health have shown that drinking green tea before workouts help the body to burn fat and promote weight loss.
Coffee for Metabolism
Speaking of caffeine and metabolism, coffee – when consumed in moderation – can be beneficial to the diet as well. With a high concentration of caffeine, coffee has also shown significant fat-burning properties – causing fat cells to be used as a source of energy instead of glycogen.
Bananas to Reduce Cramps
Packed with natural carbohydrates and potassium, bananas can help prevent muscle cramping during your workouts. Medical tests indicate that they also allow for a slow-release of sugar, so you should eat a banana a couple hours before hitting the gym to boost your energy. Bananas are also high in dopamine, which is the feel-good hormone that will help keep you motivated to reach your fitness goals.
Eggs for Protein
Eggs are a bodybuilding staple, and for good reason! Eggs are a complete source of proteins, so you can get all the amino acids you need to build and sustain muscle tissue.
Milk for Strong Bones
Strong muscles need a strong support system, and that’s why bone-strengthening foods, like milk, are so important for athletes. With a high calcium content, milk helps strengthen the bones, ligaments, and tendons, which all work together to make you stronger. Milk also encourages the production of melatonin, which helps you sleep and triggers the growth hormone while you recharge.
Whole Grains for Healthy Carbs
Lots of athletes and fitness enthusiasts view carbs as the enemy, but not all carbs are created equal! The carbohydrates in whole grain foods provide the body with energy to keep you going all day long and fiber to keep your digestive system regular. Whole grains are low on the glycemic index, meaning that they won’t make your blood sugar spike like refined and over-processed carbs. Some of the best whole grains to stock up on include quinoa, millet, barley, and steel cut oats.