To perform at their best, athletes rely on nutrient-rich superfoods that are easy to incorporate into their busy lifestyles. That’s why maca is the athlete’s perfect superfood. Packed with vitamins, nutrients and even adaptogenic properties, maca is guaranteed to leave you feeling more energized, focused and revitalized – exactly how you should be feeling before you hit the gym or the track.
You’d be forgiven for never having heard of maca. This ancient superfood originates from the mountains of Peru, and has only recently hit the US, where it’s become a favorite ingredient in smoothies, acai bowls and even hot chocolate.
Maca has been used for millennia as a remedy for all sorts of illnesses, as well as a natural energy-booster. And now, with clinically proven health benefits, we can truly understand exactly how this supplement can boost our health.
Like energy-boosting superfoods like ashwagandha and ginseng, maca is classified as an adaptogen. This means that it is a unique class of healing plant that can help balance, restore and protect the body from stress. When it comes to your workout, this is important, as intense exercise acts like a physiological stress on the body. Just one reason why maca is the perfect addition to your post-workout smoothie.
As well as being an adaptogen, maca boasts an impressive nutritional profile. As one of the most nutritionally rich foods in the world, just one ounce of maca root contains:
Whether you want to increase your focus or regulate your hormones, maca has the potential to help. However, it’s in exercise that it comes into its own. Here’s exactly how maca can help boost your workout:
Some days dragging ourselves to the gym is a real chore. When you’re feeling zapped of energy, motivation and focus, the last thing you want is an intense workout. That’s where maca comes in. Unlike many energy-enhancers, maca contains no caffeine, no processed sugar and no chemicals. Instead, maca’s adaptogenic properties increase energy in a sustained way, resulting in far less stress on your adrenal glands.
When you’re trying to fit exercise into a busy schedule, it’s key that your pre- and post-workout snacks are both easy to prepare and tasty! Luckily, maca ticks both of those boxes. Available as a supplement powder, maca’s subtle butterscotch flavor makes it a great addition to a superfood smoothie or a protein bar. You can even enjoy it on your rest days in a mug of hot cacao – delicious! It’s really easy to make maca an everyday health boost.
Maca is great for an instant energy boost, but it’s just as effective in improve long-term endurance. In a 2009 study, researchers focused on the potential of maca as a natural supplement to boost stamina in athletes. Half of the participants were supplemented with maca, and the other half with a placebo. After two weeks, the athletes were challenged to a 40k time trial. Amazingly, the results signalled that the maca group performed far better than two weeks previously, and even better than those taking the placebo.
You don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy the incredible benefits of maca. Even if you’re looking for slightly more energy at the gym, or better endurance during your pilates sessions, maca can help. After all, to get the most out of exercise, your pre- and post-workout nutrition is essential. So why not whip up a maca superfood smoothie before your next gym session?