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Why Energy Drinks Are Hurting Your Workouts

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I remember it all too well!

In college I was going to class (most of the time at least), I had basketball practice, and I had to train (since I was a walk-on I didn’t always get the most convenient times to train). Add in the fact I wanted to actually have some form of social life, it meant that I was burning the candle at both ends. By the time I often got to working out I was so tired I needed something to get me going (sometimes it was so early that I had to get myself going too!).

That is when I found out about energy supplements. At the time there were a number that I had some strong ingredients as part of their formulas (ephedrine along with caffeine and sometimes other “stuff” was pretty common place). It worked! In fact, for a little while I thought I could run half way across campus, work out, run back and still have tons of energy in reserve. So, what if I felt like I might have a heart attack too, I felt like I had SOOOO much energy!

Like so many of these supplements though, the results started to fade as I got use to the dosage. So, like any other very smart young man, I just increased the dosage. That worked for awhile too until I started to not feel so well and found the effects even then start to wane.

What’s my point? Our lives are so hectic nowadays and we feel so much more pressure/stress that most of us are looking for SOMETHING that has to help us with energy to get to the thing (the workouts) that are suppose to be good for us. In the process of trying to find that energy we often start relying on substances that aren’t exactly healthy, which seems to work against our goal of being healthier.

“But things like caffeine are scientifically proven to improve performance Josh!”

Well, that link isn’t quite as strong as people think it is as you can see from the study below.

energy drinks

The research is actually all over the place, but as another 2003 study said, “Routine caffeine consumption may cause tolerance or dependence, and abrupt discontinuation produces irritability, mood shifts, headache, drowsiness, or fatigue.” I think we have all gone through that if we have tried to kick caffeine or the like (I know I have and it stinks!).

I’m not against all caffeine though, a cup of coffee has around 80-100 mg and green tea has around 30-50mg. I think in a very moderate amount is fine and if you use high quality coffee or teas, there are other health benefits that can be had. Personally, I like matcha tea a lot because (black tea can work too) because you get a decent amount of l-theanine (you can get the researched amount in around 2 cups in a day). What’s l-theanine?

energy drinks

As you can see this amino acid can give us focus while allowing our nervous system to not become overstressed. THAT is the point I am trying to make. Most of us realize that we are overstressed and that means our systems are overstressed. So, artificially trying to give ourselves HUGE bouts of energy actually makes our systems MORE stressed in the long run. That is why that 240mg or more energy drink that a lot of people have before their workouts may give you the feeling of a strong training session, but that energy drink is actually causing issues for your progress and long-term health.

So, what do you do? You can’t move to the country side and remove all stress in your life right? Well, this is also what major corporations are wondering as well because employee burnout, sickness, etc. leads to less productivity and higher turnover which isn’t good for a business. That has led to a lot more research for methods to help people be more productive, feel better, be more creative, have greater energy, and getting sick less.

That is why mind-body practices have become such a focus for so many organizations. Mind-body isn’t one thing or practice, it is largely about being mindful which we can think of as mostly just being aware of the present moment. Research has led to such great results in these areas that huge corporations are trying to implement them into their business culture.

energy drinks

It is something DVRT has been based on a long time as our cuing requires a lifter to be very mindful of how they use their body, engage with the outside world, and how we even use various strength training tools.

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Great, but how do you get enough going in your body to do these exercises that help with mindfulness? Answering this question was a big part of why we thought our Myofascial Integrated Movement program (MIM) would be the perfect addition to DVRT.

Mind-body practices like yoga and qigong have actually been researched to improve focus and energy in those that practice them routinely. Most times people think that these types of practices are just for stretching or “calming down” (hey, I did too so don’t feel bad), but they are actually great for increased energy and even performance due to not just warming your body up or improving mobility, but how they increase mental focus and energy levels. Instead of stressing out your body more, they actually give you energy while helping your body recover and be healthier, cool right?!

Are you going to get the crazy energy boost I use to get from my college supplements? Probably not, but do we really want that? After all, sports psychology shows us that getting that amped up isn’t actually the best place to be for increased performance. We want to be in that sweet spot of arousal, not too much, not too little.

How can we create a short and effective routine that can be used not just before our training, but any time we need an energy boost? Here I show how we can use MIM to create such an effective routine that won’t take a lot of time, space, and nothing special but your wanting to be better.

Check out our new MIM program as well as all our DVRT Online Courses & DVRT workouts 25% off with code “winter” HERE