It’s 5 pm. Feels like 10 pm. No way you’re getting to that HIIT class. You should though. That membership costs enough. Every time you skip, you calculate the surging costs of each class. There’s still time to grab a cup of coffee before you leave the office. Great; more caffeine. So much for sleeping tonight and not repeating this cycle tomorrow. You think for a second about keeping a jug of that pre-workout powder in your drawer, but a bunch of reconstituted micro-nutrients and artificial flavorings and calorie-free sweeteners are kind of in opposition to your whole food diet. Not to mention more caffeine.
You could grab an apple or a banana. Good idea! But you could do better. Those fruits don’t have all the B vitamins that you’ve been seeing on the labels of those pre-workout powders you’ve been casually researching when your focus goes from work to working out around 4:15 pm. You don’t need to get your Bs from some weird powder with a name like “Blitzkrieg.” You’re going to HIIT class, not war. Plus, you already have a better source of the B vitamins in little packets at home. If only it tasted better.
If only you could combine those critical nutrients with whole food sources of carbs and fats for fuel as well as a bunch of flavorful, natural plants that have scientifically proven workout benefits. And what if it could be vegan with easy-to-find ingredients? In a shake form that you can store in the work fridge and drink on the way to class?
Keep reading. You’re welcome.
We start with the spinach. Whether you want his bulging muscles or not, you’ve gotta admit that Popeye was right about this super green. It’s packed with nitrates (the good ones) which, according to authors of a 2014 literature review on dietary nitrate supplementation and exercise performance reduce “the oxygen cost of submaximal exercise and can, in some circumstances, enhance exercise tolerance and performance.” In other words, nitrates help with oxygen usage during exercise, which leads to better performance in workouts.
Frozen berries are the bulk of the shake. You can use any blend or single berry that you prefer, though we’ve found through experimentation that the combination of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries is the tastiest. Carbs are the fuel for our bodies and are thus the base of any (non-keto) pre-workout meal. Fruit provides fast-digesting, nutrient-dense carbs that are perfect for fueling you without weighing you down in your workout. Berries also contain a lot of water, which makes them perfect for the pre-emptive hydration.
Speaking of pre-emptive, we’ve included cinnamon and ginger for their workout recovery properties, and they make this an even tastier smoothie.
A teaspoon of cordyceps powder is the most exotic ingredient, although it’s easy to find online or in many grocery stores. Not only do cordyceps contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, this ancient healing fungus has recently been the subject of studies into its stamina-enhancing effects. One study found that administering cordyceps sinesis to healthy 50-75 year olds increased their anaerobic and ventilatory thresholds.
The anaerobic threshold is the point where your body can no longer keep up with its energy demand by producing energy through the aerobic system that of converts carbs and fats to fuel. When we cross into anaerobic, the body burns stored sugars and produces lactic acid at a rate faster than it can be metabolized. When this happens, you feel a “burn” and muscle pain and that total fatigue that makes exercise hard to sustain for more than a couple minutes. You want to stay in the aerobic zone as long as possible for better stamina and endurance, thus raising the anaerobic threshold is desirable for peak performance.
The ventilatory threshold is the increase in breathing rate with exercise intensity, which means that oxygen is expelled faster than it is taken in. That, of course, makes exercise more difficult to sustain, and again improving exercise performance with that threshold is increased.
Codyceps also stimulate the production of ATP, the body’s fuel source. According to authors of a 2007 literature review, it “stimulates mitochondrial ATP generation and enhances cellular immune responses.”
Add some unsweetened coconut milk beverage for a creamy consistency and energy-boosting MCTs. Because of their composition — medium chain vs. standard long chain — these fats move more quickly to the liver to convert into energy, making them also less likely to be stored as fat. Since they so easily convert to energy, they’re a perfect addition to a pre-workout smoothie.
Spike it with Lypo-Spheric® B Complex Plus to ensure that you have the nutrients you need to transform the rest of the shake into energy.
How to Make the Perform Pre-Workout Shake
- 1/2 cup fresh spinach
1/2 cup frozen berries (we recommend blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries)
- 4 oz. unsweetened coconut milk beverage
- 6 oz. cold water
1 tsp. cordyceps powder
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 packet of Lypo-Spheric® B Complex Plus
- Place spinach in blender, followed by berries, ginger, cordyceps, cinnamon, coconut milk beverage, and water.
- Blend until it is slightly more liquid than smoothie consistency.
- Pour an ounce of the shake into your LivOn Labs shot glass.
- Squeeze a packet of Lypo-Spheric® B Complex Plus into the shot glass.
- Throw it back like any other shot.
- Pour the remainder into a mason jar or shaker bottle and fuel up for your workout.