Essential oils have gained popularity over the last several years due to their health benefits as well as their therapeutic incentives. They have proven their effectiveness and are now showing that they can also enhance not only your workout experience but also your athletic performance. MASHUP™ always advocates nutrition to be 80% of your physical wellness and exercise along with other healthy lifestyle factors to be 20%. However, when both are practiced together substantial, long lasting health benefits can be achieved.
For centuries other cultures have used oils to enhance their wellness and also used as medicinal aids. Many athletes have touted their perceived benefits of oils in their training regimen but not until recently has this actually been backed up by research. A new study published by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition researched peppermint oil and its effects on running performance. Each participant in the study used .05ml of peppermint oil in a drink, consumed 1x per day for 10 days. They tested the runners before and after consumption for various indicators of cardiovascular performance. The results were stunning! After consuming the oil the participants’ exercise performance, respiratory function, blood pressure and heart rate, and respiratory gas exchange improved. It also reduced resting blood pressure and heart rate. The amount of total work by each participant was increased by an amazing 51% and this included an increase in the time to exhaustion of about 25%. Not only did the participants work 51% harder but they went 25% farther after the peppermint oil drink! We do not know if any supplements that can even come close to those odds.
Peppermint can also benefit your workout by using it not only in your water as you workout but also by sharpening your mind and concentration to get you exercise-ready. If you need an extra boost to get you going just the smell of peppermint can get you in the mood by dabbing a few drops on each wrist 30 min. before you workout. You can also rub 4 or 5 drops on your chest at least 5 minutes prior to your start time help support normal breathing during your workout. Peppermint can also aid muscle fatigue and soreness by massaging a few drops on the affected area after your workout or with stretching pre-workout.
According to other oil experts there are also other beneficial oils that can improve your workout experience, boost your energy and mojo pre-workout and also aid in post-workout recovery. As with all oils and supplements of any kind, we strongly advise you to look into the company and grade of oils and supplements you use for your safety and benefit. Some oils are no more than scented perfumes and it is important that you know where your oils are processed and how they are distilled as well as what grade they are. This will tell you if it is safe to ingest that particular type of oil and how to use the oil on your body.
Lemongrass essential oil can support good energy and healthy weight management. It has a compound called citral that supports the production of heat in your body (thermogenesis) that can speed up your metabolism. This helps you burn more calories and get a more effective workout. It is recommended to use four to six drops of lemongrass essential oil applied to your skin or feet before your workout, which helps to ramp up energy and endurance. If your workout is challenging, you can also use lemongrass on sore muscles after leaving the gym. For best results, combine it with basil, clary sage and coconut oil rubbing the blend on the body part.
Eucalyptus not only smells soothing but it can actually help support your mood and energy as well as you prepare to workout. It is recommended to spray it on the body before you begin to warm up. The mixture is in 4oz of water with a couple of drops of eucalyptus along with geranium, peppermint, rosemary and palmarosa giving the body a cooling and refreshed feeling as you begin your workout. Eucalyptus is also said to support a healthy respiratory system by mixing a few drops with coconut oil and rubbing it on your temples, throat and neck. However, eucalyptus is primarily recognized because of its anti-inflammatory properties and many athletes use eucalyptus oil in their Epsom salt recovery baths. Eucalyptus provides relief for the strains and tears muscles experience during exercise and reduces the inflammation associated with these tears. It is also used by massaging onto aching muscles. It is recommended to use good quality oil on aching muscles after your workout. Be sure to use a gentle motion sweeping toward the heart to help with removal of lactic acid buildup.
Lemon oil is an energizing mood booster and can help motivate you to start your workout as well as aid with post work out exhaustion. It is also thought to stimulate your immune system, promote lymphatic drainage and fat loss. This essential oil can also help with your post exercise detox. It is recommended to add a few drops to your water and sip as you would normally. This pre-exercise drink will better hydrate your body during your workout and add flavor encouraging you to drink more.
Marjoram has calming and relaxing properties and can be used before or after your workout to soothe your muscles. It can be diffused, directly inhaled, or applied topically. Here are a few suggestions for use:
- Before you start your workout you can rub this essential oil thoroughly on your legs, arms or back. Use marjoram in combination with lavender, thyme, peppermint and coconut oil to make a rub. This blend is calming and soothing to your mind and muscles. It is especially useful when doing yoga or Pilates, or any workout that challenges your elasticity.
- After exercising, marjoram can relieve tired muscles by switching to a blend of marjoram, thyme, lemon, roman chamomile, cypress, peppermint and coconut oil. Alternatively, you could add 5 drops of marjoram to your post-workout bath, together with some lavender, helichrysum and roman chamomile oil with some magnesium rich Epsom salt.
MASHUP™ wants to encourage you to be the best you possibly can. Hopefully these essential oil tips can make your workout more productive, energized and therefore help you achieve your wellness and fitness goals. We would love to hear from you and any tips or successes you have had using essential oils in your workout regimen!