There is no denying that in order to get things done, we need to somehow energize ourselves. Caffeine is the go-to for many, but when it comes to conjuring up the energy for training and life, some may prefer to stay away from caffeine and other similar stimulants. This post is all about stimulant alternatives, for those that are either sensitive, prohibited, or just prefer to stay away from traditional, caffeine-based energizers.
As a refresher, when it comes to energy - caffeine is the world’s most widely-used psychotropic drug. Missed our guide to caffeine and other stimulants? Check that out, here.
There are many reasons why folks choose to go stimulant-free. Whether you are on medication, have a particularly low tolerance, or don’t like the side effects of caffeine (for example, heart palpitations or anxiety), there are milder alternatives out there for you.While these options may not give you as much energy as caffeine, they are still very good options for putting a bit of pep in your step.
B Vitamin Complex
(Almost) everyone knows that B-Complex vitamins are great for boosting energy, as these support energy production, on the cellular level. Of the 8 B-Vitamins, B12 is the most widely used, as it is known for its mental clarity and energy enhancing properties. It assists with red-blood cell production, muscle repair and protein synthesis, and a deficiency of this vitamin could lead to decreased performance. The best way to take B12 is sublingually (under the tongue).
Carbohydrates, or, more simply, Sugar
When it comes to efficient foods for energy, carbohydrates rule. Once consumed, carbohydrates break down into simple sugars (mainly glucose) that the body then absorbs and utilizes for energy through a series of complex pathways. Any glucose not immediately used for energy is stored as glycogen, which is the source of energy most often used for exercise. Not only does consuming carbs provide energy to a body in motion, but it also prevents the body from breaking down muscle (protein) for energy. Different classes of carbs breakdown at different rates, so for the quickest energy, go simple. Candy will provide the quickest boost, while oatmeal or sweet potato will take longer.
Ginkgo Biloba, and Other Vasodilators
Ginkgo Biloba is an herbal extract from the nut of the Ginkgo Biloba tree. Originating in Ancient Chinese Medicine, this herb has been used for centuries as a vasodilator, increasing blood flow to the brain and extremities. Other vasodilators, such as Nitric Oxide, also work in much the same way. Increased blood flow means an increase in both oxygen and nutrient delivery rate, which means greater energy production, overall.
Another extract that has its origins in ancient medicine, ginseng mimics the effects of caffeine. Mainly, it increases blood flow, much like a vasodilator, and offers up a stimulating effect.
If you’re looking for energy, without the stimulants, give some of these foods/supplements a try!