I used to reach for a cup of coffee before every single workout to rev me up. But if you're a slave to caffeine like I once was, then I'm sure you know all about the unsettling, jittery feelings that unfortunately come along with the immediate burst of energy. Plus, the dreadful energy crash that comes on post-cardio is just not a fun time for anyone. So, naturally, I started looking into some alternatives, and soon discovered the benefits of using essential oils before working out.
Essential oils are basically just plants that have been concentrated into what's called hydrophobic liquid -- and these oils are 50 to 70 times stronger than their original herb form. To get a better understanding of their strength, for example, a single drop of peppermint essential oil is equivalent to 28 actual cups of peppermint tea. Crazy, right?
These potent aromas can make a significant difference when it comes to your pre-workout routine. So, instead of reaching for that artificially-infused pre-workout drink before your next sweat sesh, consider reaping the benefits that essential oils can bring instead.
Here are five ways essential oils can completely energize your next gym sesh.
1. Improved Exercise Performance And Respiratory Function
According to a study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, taking as little as .05 milliliters of peppermint oil in 500 milliliters of water can improve exercise performance and respiratory function.
Peppermint can also increase concentration and mental alertness, as well as reduce perceived effort during your sweat sesh (basically, making it feel like you're not doing as much work). Someone pass the peppermint oil ASAP, please.
2. Stress Relief
Studies show that there have been a myriad of clinical trials involving lavender essential oils that prove reduction in stress and anxiety.
So, if you're finding yourself stressing out about squeezing a regular sweat sesh into your busy schedule, try rubbing a drop or two of lavender oil on your temples to ease your mind and focus in on the #gains.
3. Immune System Stimulation
From supporting a good night's sleep to relieving headaches, essential oils can stimulate your immune system, as their antibacterial properties can ward off a pesky cold.
Some essential oils that can help your body produce white blood cells include bergamot, lavender, lemon, sandalwood, tea tree, and thyme -- just to name a few.
This will let you stay on top of your gym grind, and help you feel a little less lethargic during those low lunges.
4. Reduced Inflammation And Fatigue
There are multiple essential oils that contain analgesic compounds -- which basically means they'll reduce or relieve pain both in or out of the gym.
Three of the top analgesic oils are spruce, eucalyptus, and peppermint, which can all produce anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, or anti-spasmodic effects when you and your body need 'em most, like right after a particularly rough leg day, ya feel me?
5. Better Hydration
Lastly, it's super important to stay hydrated during sweaty HIIT circuits and lengthy treadmill treks.
A couple of drops of a lemon essential oil in your water bottle will provide better hydration, and the zesty flavor might even cause you to drink more H2O than you normally would.
Peace out, pre-workout. See you never.