Top 5 Adaptogens for Peak Performance!
July 21, 2022 - by Lenda Murray Fitness, Nutrition
As athletes, we all know the importance of adapting to the progressive overload we put on our bodies to strengthen and build our muscles. We often take for granted all of the mechanisms our bodies go through during our grueling training sessions throughout the year. All of this training puts a tremendous amount of stress on our bodies and our mind as well. As an 8x Ms. Olympia Title Winner I know all too well the effects that such a grind can have on our physiology! In my retirement from competition, my commitment to still train as well as promote women’s bodybuilding with WINGS OF STRENGTH keeps me constantly on the move. I try to eat a clean diet, train properly and use nutritional supplements to help give me protection from the stress and fatigue (both mentally and physically) that can cause fatigue and burnout.
ADAPTOGENS = Herbs that help the body adapt to stress. Adaptogens have a long history in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.
- Increase the body’s ability to cope with internal and external stressors.
- Increase the bodies working capacity and mental performance during stressful activities.
- Have a balancing effect on functions of the body.
- Help to lower elevated cortisol levels which are catabolic and can cause adrenal fatigue.
Ashwagandha helps the body cope with stress by boosting adrenal function, balancing stress hormones, enhancing thyroid function, calming the mind, relieving anxiety, and increasing energy. Ashwagandha reduces the chronic internal stress that is caused by adrenal fatigue. Ashwagandha helps reduce inflammation, lowers blood pressure, and enhances the immune system too! This herb is great for brain health. It improves memory and cognitive function and it can even reduce symptoms of depression.
Rhodiola helps reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is our primary stress hormone and is released during periods of intense mental and physical stress (fight or flight). Cortisol is catabolic and excessive levels can feed on muscle tissue. Rhodiola acts as a cortisol buffer by lowering cortisol levels and the damaging catabolic effects that this hormone causes. Rhodiola has an anti-fatigue effect, it decreases brain fog and increases mental performance and concentration during periods of stress. This herb is helpful in controlling blood sugar and helps those who suffer from diabetes.
3) HOLY BASIL
Holy Basil is well known in India as an anti-aging supplement. Cognitive enhancing effects, improved reaction times, lowered blood pressure, improved skin conditions, strengthened immune system, and improved stress response are attributed to phytochemicals found within holy basil.
Maca is an adaptogen and a superfood all in one. Maca contains flavonoids that can improve your energy. It is rich in fiber, protein, minerals, and amino acids. It helps improve libido, fertility, mood, and symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
5) PANAX GINSENG
Panax Ginseng is considered to be the most potent adaptogen of the ginseng family. Panax ginseng possesses significant anti-stress and antioxidant properties within it. This ginseng improves mood, and mental performance and increases calmness. Panax ginseng is known to strengthen your immune system and increase your energy.
Adaptogen herbs have been around for thousands of years because they work. I have used them during my Pursuit of winning 8 Ms. Olympia titles and I continue to use them as a busy promoter of women’s bodybuilding along with wings of strength. Chronic stress, and fatigue, can all lead to burnout. I have never been one to sit on the sidelines and watch Life Pass Me By. Adaptogens are one of the tools I use to help manage my stress levels.