Lil Miss Fitness Freak

"And though she be but little, she is fierce"


Leave a comment

It’s Not All About Looks…Fitness Friday 33

So the gym is often know as the place to..

get-swole

But what about all of the other things lifting weights gives you?

Todays post is going to be about how lifting and training hard helps you OUTSIDE the gym.

I’m sure I will miss some as there are so many benefits, so feel free to comment on things you have found it brings to your life that I may have missed. 

Confidence

Being strong is so empowering and that is not just for women. Lifting is not just about the muscle growth from an appearance perspective, but is also about what you can do with that muscle and how that makes you feel. I will say that for women, feeling themselves get stronger is a rather powerful thing (as we are often said to be the weaker sex and are needy…) and can do wonders for their sense of self worth and respect.

Independence

Strength means you don’t have to ask for help. Strength means you can lift that thing by yourself. Strength can also mean that the person who is rehabbing an injury can do just a lil bit more on their own or that any older person can preserve their muscle mass longer so that they can keep their freedom.

Stronger, More Durable Bones

Resistance training is huge for helping maintain the strength of your bones. Especially important for menopausal women who loose bone more rapidly, but good for all of us young’ins too as a way to keep them as strong as possible for as long as possible.

Better Insulin Sensitivity and Glucose Utilization.

Being at a healthy weight is one thing, but did you know that contractile movements actually help to bring more glucose into cells by increasing translocation (movement from inside the cell to the membrane) of the glucose transporters to the cell membrane? More glucose inside the cells means less in the blood which can lead to problems. Check out this study..

Better Skin

Sweating opens them pores and lets the skin get rid of dirt and any chemicals or toxins that can be flushed via the skin. Many people say they break out more when they work out but it’s not because you’re sweating. Instead, its generally because either 1. you had stuff on your face that than clogged the pores when they opened up or 2. you rubbed or touched your face too much, adding new dirt to your skin. Let it sweat it out and then wash your face.

Detox

Your skin is the largest organ of the body. That being said, it is also one very important way your body get rids of things from the body it doesn’t like. So, similar to the skin point, let your body sweat. If you’re getting sick, it can help bring those bacteria to the surface, or at least into the bloodstream, and help your body deal with them more quickly. It may make you feel a bit worse at first, but by forcing them out in the open, your body’s defense system can battle them out more quickly and hopefully help you recover more efficiently.

Temporary Relief From Cold/Sickness Symptoms

I want to preface by saying you be the judge of when you are too sick to train... Anyways, this may be seen by some as a bad thing, but hey, if I can stop sniffling or stop cramping (for us ladies) for a lil bit, I call that a success. When your body exercises, it actually perceives that action as a stress so it begins to send the blood flow to the working muscles and away from things that are not as important. As a result, your immune, digestive and reproductive systems (and others..) are not really getting much attention and often that leads to less symptoms of the disease state (or time of the month..) of those areas. Got a cold? Ever notice your nose runs less? For the ladies, cramping can actually decrease while exercises.

See here for a scientific journal on the matter

Decreases Risk of Many Chronic Diseases

Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, and the list goes on (source).

Stress Relief

With all of those endorphins going (among other hormones), using your sweat sesh to unwind from studying or a hard day at work is much more productive and good for you than ploppin down in front of the TV and eating a bunch of crap food. What’s that old saying…

regret

Along with stress relieving…

You’re Happier

So many processes and hormones involved in this part, but with exercise not only are you physically better, but your psychological state gets a positive boost as well. We all know that we feel a sense of happiness following a workout. Whether that is euphoria, endorphin high, or a sense of accomplishment, there is no doubts that it’s there. It should than come as not surprise that exercise has been found to be useful in treatment of to help chronic mental illness such as depression (link), dementia (link), anxiety and others.

So overall there are so many things I could continue to say about exercising but I will keep it a bit shorter for you all for the sake of your reading threshold. As you can see, exercise is much more than just about looks. It helps the brain, it helps in your perception of yourself, it protects you from disease and it helps you feel that you can function on your own.

So for anyone needing a reason to start, go ahead and pick one. You have quite a list to choose from.

What are some of your non-physical experiences with exercise?

-Chelsea


Leave a comment

Powers Of Vitamin C…Fitness Friday 29

My friends! I’m so sorry about last week, but I was in the middle of studying for my hardest exam (clinical) and I just couldn’t get up anything for Friday. Many apologies. I will say that I still, and always, get my fitness on and I hope that for all of you doing exams that you don’t skimp out on the gym. Time is limited yes, but instead of scrolling through social media, take that hour and sweat out some endorphins. Your body and mind will thank you.

im-too-busy-for-the-gym-669x321

Perhaps it may have to be shorter, or you may miss one of your normal sessions, but trust me when I say that often when someone says they don’t have time, they are wasting some of it with media… #TrueSpeak

Cold and Flu Season Is Upon Us.

And so what better time than to highlight ….

vitamin-c-graphic-e1437400598462

An important vitamin, as they all are, but this guy ain’t just for cold and flus.

Yes, this water soluble vitamin does wonders for your immune system, but we are talking about fitness here, so what can it do for your athletic self to help with performance?

….okay we will start with immune function because obviously that can affect training…

Exercise Puts You At Risk For Infection?

It appears so. This article spoke of an altered immune system following intense exercise. Specifically, the body appears to release many inflammatory cytokines similar to a trauma or sepsis response for a short time following strenuous training. This response than sets you up to be more immunocompromised and open to getting sick. Although much of this was referring to research in endurance athletes, I don’t believe it would be crazy to say the same for strength based athletes, as you’re also causing trauma to the body and placing it under enough stress to cause cortisol release.

So where does Vitamin C fall into this equation? One study looking at ultra marathon runners found that high doses of Vitamin C (1500mg, but not 500mg) daily for a week prior to their race (and the day of their race) reduced their levels of circulating cytokines. So for athletes who cannot drop their training intensity, extra Vitamin C may be able to aid in decreasing their risk of potential illness.

The immune benefits of extra supplementation for athletes still needs further research but some of the early studies have shown promising findings towards a YAY for a protective benefit of a lil boost.

Role in Synthesis of Important Players for Physical Performance

This article presents a large list of the roles of vitamin C that definitely play a role in allowing your body to perform. Some of interest include:

~Synthesis of carnitine –> required to move fatty acids into the mitochondria. They can then be oxidized and used for energy.

~Synthesis of catecholamines  –> These include epinephrine and norepinephrine, which are released during times of stress to create the ‘fight or flight’ response. This includes the mobilizing of glucose and an increase in blood pressure, heart rate and vessel dilation to get the nutrients to the muscle to allow them to keep performing.

Their role in synthesis is through being a reducing agent in their biosynthesis reactions

Preventing Oxidative Stress

Exercise is a stress. As a result, it is actually an oxidant and can lead to damage to your cells. Vitamin C has been studied for its role as a powerful antioxidant. In a review looking at oxidative stress in the formation of atherosclerosis, it was discussed that vitamin C reduced many oxidative mechanisms that contributed to atherosclerosis. These included:

~LDL oxidation –> via interacting with the free radicals that would oxidize LDL 

~Reduction of the pro-oxidant, radical (oxidized) form of Vitamin E to a safe (reduced) and anti-oxidant version (α-tocopherol).

~Inhibiting leukocytes (immune factors) from binding to epithelial tissues. Adhesion is found to be related to athersclerosis. 

Reducing DOMS?

This one is up in the air right now. This study presented both sides of the argument, but than did their own study to see if DOMS was reduced following eccentric exercises (which have been shown to cause trauma to the fibres and stress). They found that high doses (3g/d) of vitamin C taken 2 weeks prior and 4 days following the exercises decreased their levels of DOM and oxidized glutathione levels in the plasma, which is an indicator of oxidative stress.

So, from all of the research addressed here, there is some support for the use of higher doses of Vitamin C to protect from the negative effects of exercise and thus allow for continued intensity. This is all fine and dandy, but of course there are always going to be studies that show the opposite. This study, for example, presented an argument against taking supplements of vitamin C as it apparently was found to decrease training efficiency due to to allowing for training-stimulated biological adaptations.

So take this with your usual suspicion, but I personally do take it for the proposed antioxidant effects, as I train very intensely and there has been research showing that athletes become depleted due to Vitamin C being used up more quickly.

It is also used up in times of other stress as well, mental and physical. 

Do you take Vitamin C supplements?

Fun Fact. Yes the Orange is often the ‘vitamin C mascot’ but did you know that peppers are actually the highest in this vitamin? Others higher than your oranges are dark greens, broccoli, berries (strawberries) and kiwi. So maybe throw some orange segments in your next spinach salad for a double boost. 

-Chelsea


Leave a comment

Shots, Shots, Shots…Fitness Friday 23

But not of alcohol…

We touched that last week

This type of shot is great for your body but may burn a bit going down if you’re not like me and actually can stand drinking this stuff straight.

So what am I recommending you take shots of you ask?

1266748-large

Before you turn your noses up at the thought of taking a shot of straight acid vinegar, hear me out. Take a look at all the great benefits:

amazing-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar

While we are at it, here’s some studies to check out to back up some of these claims:

Weight loss. Take this one with caution, it is inconclusive as of yet. There is suggestion that it delays gastric emptying, which than may play a contributing role to eating less because of increased duration of satiety.

Blood lipids and Cholesterol. This study found that after 8 weeks of taking ACV, there were significant reductions in LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and total cholesterol. Furthermore, there was a trend towards increased levels of HDL

Glycemic Control. Some studies have found antiglycemic responses (controlling glucose levels in the blood) when taking even small doses of ACV with a meal.

This review also provides insight into studies looking into cancer, cholesterol, inflammation and antioxidant effects.

Ones that I can personally attest to..

Allergies and Sinuses. I told my Mom to start taking it in the morning and it immediately cleared her sinuses. This has helped to a degree for her migraines, which can be triggered by the pressure associated with mucus build up in the sinuses.

Digestion. My coach has me taking a shot of this before all my main meals (that or lemon juice) and boy does it help! You body uses hydrochloric acid to break down food that you ingest, so by incorporating other natural acids along with meal, you can help aid in digestion. This has really helped me with digestion of higher fats as they are more difficult for the body to break down and used to upset my stomach a lot more. Bloating and heartburn be gone!

Less Yeast. Sorry, TMI for some, but us females tend to be prone to yeast and potential candida infections, so by taking ACV or other natural acids, you can help your body rid itself of these lil nasties. This is because ACV acts as a prebiotic which then leads to growth of healthy flora in the gut to combat invaders. Also, as shown in this study, ACV also acts as an anti fungal. 

So I know the last question you will have is how the hell do you get that stuff down?

Well, if you’re like me, you can just shoot it back straight. If not, you can dilute it with a bit of water OR add a bit of honey if that helps.

It’s only a few tsp (don’t go nuts mmmkay?) so plug your nose and just get’er back, I mean why not? Do it for 2 weeks and see what you notice.

Oh and one final note

You need to buy the raw, unpasteurized one WITH THE MOTHER…

7_685573

The mother is where all the good stuff is! It contains the living enzymes and nutrients! Cheaper, processed ones are stripped of this vital part so you have to fork out a bit more for these benefits. Heres a lil something quoted from the Bragg’s webpage:

The presence of the mother shows that the best part of the apple has not been destroyed. Vinegars containing the mother contain enzymes and minerals that other vinegars may not contain due to overprocessing, filtration and overheating. [Source]

So if anyone is brave enough to try it out for all these benefits, comment back to me and tell me what you thought or your experiences!

Happy Friday! 

-Chelsea


Leave a comment

Boozing My Gains Away…? Fitness Friday 22

Does alcohol really make you fat?

This video inspired this post, yes another one from Jeff Nippard because I’m obsessed with all his research focused training and nutrition talks.

Jeff does a great job of summing up to the answer to the above question so I didn’t really need to add much. I recommend you watch the clip but if you really don’t want to, heres the highlights:

~Physically, the alcohol itself doesn’t not lead to weight gain. Just like other macronutrients (which, no, alcohol is not a nutrient), alcohol does contain calories that need to be accounted for. It has ~7kcal to be exact. So, if we are talking calories, if you take in enough alcohol on top of your food intake to go over your nutrient needs, then yes you can gain weight. But it’s not specifically the alcohol itself, its the fact that you went over your intake.

Remember how much additional calories come from the drink mixes themselves!

~If fat loss is your goal and you want to learn how to ‘factor in’ alcohol to not go over your caloric needs, then Jeff states that it is best to reduce your fat intake (rather than carbs, which some do) to compensate for the alcohol. This swap is easier if your are tracking, as you can simply swap the calories, but if you are like most who don’t track, than just keep in mind to eat a lil bit less fat throughout the day. This doesn’t mean starve yourself! Just go for more filling and voluminous foods that are lower calorie.

~Why fats rather than carbs? Jeff said this nicely, but basically alcohol is treated in the body like a poison and, because of that, it is given top priority for metabolic processing. With that being said, lipid (or fat) oxidation than decreases substantially while the liver is busy with the alcohol, which than makes the fat that you consume more likely to be stored. NOTE it’s the calories from fat being stored, not the calories from alcohol. Carbohydrates are not as easily stored as fat (more so used when they are consumed, unless is excess), and therefore it’s best to focus on fat for caloric compensation.

This is of course not necessarily a big issue if you are in a deficit as then storage is not an issue. 

Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 9.37.15 PM.png

~While alcohol doesn’t seem to affect testosterone significantly, it does in fact negatively affect protein synthesis. If you are considering recovery from training, Jeff gave a percentage of about 37% from a study looking at the effect of alcohol on post training muscle protein synthesis. That same study did find that if you supplemented with protein shortly after training that this effect is somewhat stunted (down to 24%), but it is something to keep in mind for effective recovery.

Disclaimer: Jeff provided all of the studies in his video for the things and papers he discussed, so if you want references, see his video

So what does all this say?

Alcohol doesn’t technically make you gain weight any easier than another macronutrient, provided you don’t go into a caloric surplus due to your consumption. It can affect your recovery the next day if you were to train via affecting muscle protein synthesis to a degree. He also commented on the other factors of recovery that may be negatively affected such as cognitive function which would impact your performance.

What I take from that is the fact that you will probably go into your workout and have a crappy lift because you lack concentration, are probably dehydrated and most definitely just aren’t feeling on par. If you cannot push as hard or reach the same intensity, your overall session will not be optimal. That’s just the way it is.

That being said, once and a while you really don’t have to worry. It’s not going to affect you in the long run. However, you may want to think about it more if you happen to go drinking all weekend long starting Thursday night and are wanting to ‘make gains.’

Another paper to take a peek at is this one by Suter and Tremblay (2005) as they discussed the associations between the degree of consumption and weight gain. They talked about the alcohol vs. alcohol calories point in addition to the fact that it appears that alcohol creates a potential for positive fat gain due to reduced fat oxidation and thus causing excess fat calories to than be more likely to be stored. This stored was also notably more in the abdominal area.

Hope you enjoyed this post and I have a very happy Friday friends!

-Chelsea


2 Comments

No Whey?!? Fitness Friday 21

My lecture yesterday in my Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism class really gained my attention because we started talking about one of the things every gymrat loves talking about…

How much protein do I need to get swole…

When do I take my protein to get swole…

What is the best protein to get me swole…

f93206ea40f93aa08061b3f9812e04a4

Being me, I had some interesting challenges to make to the content that was being shared due to coming into the class with some previous knowledge of current research BUT some of the things she shared peaked my interest and I thought I would share these findings about protein as it’s related to muscle synthesis (ie. getting SWOLE).  Perhaps it can help to clear up some misconceptions about the whole controversy around type and timing of protein.

1. You need whey protein/Supplemental protein

No you actually don’t. Whey protein, for example, is simply a choice of protein, it’s not a necessity. Guess what boys, you don’t need to down a plain-ass protein shake every 20 minutes to prevent loosing your gains.

#MindBlown.

protein types.png

Study showing that eating beef vs. a supplement containing essential amino acids only (EEA). Notice the bars…no significant difference between the protein synthesis response to the whole food (mixed or balanced EAA and non EAA) and the EAA supplement.

Take home: It appears that the EAA have a special role in protein synthesis, so as long as you the minimum amount of those lil guys (it has been shown that all you need is minimum of 6g of pure EAA!) then you are fine.

So if you like to drink your protein or you don’t have the moment to stop and eat, than go for whey because it’s convenient. If you like eating your protein and have the time to cook and eat, a whole food alternative is just as good.

On that topic…

Sorry vegetarians and vegans, you cannot argue that your non-aminal based proteins are just as good or even better than animal proteins.

veg protein.png

….however, that doesn’t mean that vegetarian sources don’t work at all…

soy.png

Soy did significantly better than the casein protein for protein turnover BUT whey was even better than soy.

As you can see, soy (which is already controversial for other reasons..) does stimulate protein turnover BUT whey is superior.

…and doesn’t taste like grass…cough. 

2. What about timing?

So you see people shooting back the shakes within that 30 minute window because if they don’t, gains will be lost, no?

26616339.jpg

Again, not true. My prof mentioned that it was optimal for protein synthesis if you stick within 30 minutes to an hour..

But I will reference back to the article I mentioned last week (by Eric Helms), as it’s very much a variable thing based on a number of factors.

…Fed vs. unfed state, type of training, length and intensity of training..

Main point: if you don’t get pure protein in your body within 15 seconds of being done your workout your gains will still be there. SO CHILL!

Finally on that note of timing and amount, you also don’t need 2, 3, or more scoops of protein at a time either..

timing.pngIn this study, they were looking at timing an amounts and there effect on protein synthesis over a 12 hour period post training. Whether you ate an overall total of 80g over 2 large meals (bolus condition), 3 meals (intermediate condition) or if you ate that over 8 meals (pulse), protein synthesis was still increased HOWEVER it appeared the intermediate or 4 meals a day was optimal in this study.

Also, just so you know protein utilization has a saturation point, meaning that there is only so much protein that will be used in the immediate muscle protein synthesis response. The rest will be broken down as usual and used for something else. NO that doesn’t mean you pee it out or you will turn it all to fat, it will be sent to where it needs to be. 

One final interesting finding…

Apparently the more trained you are, the less time you have for the intake of your EAAs post training to reach optimal protein synthesis when compared to untrained individuals.

breakdown.png

RE= resistance exercise, so what they are saying is that you may have less of a time to get in the adequate nutrition to fully take advantage of the muscle protein synthesis response (MPS)

I’m not sure what I think of this finding yet, but it’s was something cool I thought I would share.

Final point (I promise!) I will share I will simply leave below. It’s a highly debated set of numbers right here.

protein.png

Tell me what your opinion is. For me, I say suck it to the Food Guide’s tiny 15% protein intake and applaud the higher intake for athletes because not only are your trying to build new tissue, but you do use some amino acids for energy if you are training intensely…

But that’s just my thoughts.

And no I don’t mean you need like 2g/lb, but saying 0.8g/kg is ridiculous and I still believe that is too low for most. Say you have someone my size, thats like 1.5 chicken breasts for my whole day. Uh naaahh. 

Hope you enjoyed this meathead favourite topic and wishing all my Canadian readers a happy Thanksgiving weekend

Referenced from my Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism course at University of Guelph, taught by Dr. Lindsay Robinson on October 6, 2016.

-Chelsea


2 Comments

Sunday Link-Love

Happy Lazy Sunday Friends. I thought I would jump in on this lil blogger favourite as I happened to come across some interesting reads and listens over the past few days. Thought I would share them and my thoughts associated with their content. Hope you enjoy.

1. Your Child is a Brat and it’s Your Fault.

I have often mentioned that I think that this generation is a disrespectful and entitled bunch and this read brings up some good points as to why that may be. There may be some extremes listed here, but in general I think the main point

Parents are spending more time with their kids then ever (in the form of hovering), but that time is the wrong kind of time.

Sometimes parents need to stop worrying about upsetting their child or being their protector and be their parent and teach them some responsibility. Charging into a principles office following their child getting a bad grade leads to children thinking they don’t have to work hard, daddy will take care of it if I don’t do well. Bargaining with a child and saying if you do X I will buy you Y doesn’t teach them responsibility. Things like chores are just done. That’s that. Plain and simple.

2. Fuck Fat Loss

Pardon my french, but this is in fact true. Ever wonder why things like diets and new years/September resolutions don’t stick? Well it’s because we are obsessed with superficial things like fat loss as a main motivation.

You do not have to always be on a diet or think about burning calories or revolving your life around some bullshit regimen that is too impractical to be sustained beyond a few weeks.

You need something more internal to sustain anything. Working out is hard. Making sure your diet is on point while you are working a full time job and wanting a life can be hard too. Body composition changes take time and so if that is your sole reason for making changes in your life, guess what, those changes are not going to happen fast enough for you to use that as the driving force.

Obsessing over fat loss is effective for one thing: Making women increasingly dissatisfied with their bodies.

As it mentioned in the article, if obsessing over fat loss was actually giving results, than perhaps it would be something recommended to do, but it doesn’t. It does however cause disordered eating, stress, potentially eating disorders and unnecessary restriction.

So take a piece of advice from this article and eat and workout for YOU and your health, not just to loose a few inches. Make that fat loss a SIDE EFFECT and not the main goal.

3. Sigma Nutrition Podcasts

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 9.21.00 PM

This is a site full of great research and expert based podcasts on a number of interesting topics related to fitness and nutrition. If you are gym rat or nutrition knowledge-seeker like myself, then this is definitely a site to check out. Some of the ones that I have enjoyed thus far include topics on…

~Exercise-Induced GI Distress and the Impact of Gluten and FODMAPs on Athletic Performance

~Hypothalamic Amernorrhea

And this one is next up for a listen

~Role of Micronutrients on Mental Health and Psychiatric Disorders. 

Cool stuff!

4. Latest Interview from Jeff Nippard

You all know how much I love Em Dunc and so I was excited to listen to her words of (very young!) wisdom. She is such a powerful, positive and insightful person to listen to. She takes life my the reins and goes full speed towards her dreams. She makes mistakes and only uses those to fuel her fire and learn more about herself.

“If you fail at something…don’t be that person that it defeats. Be that person that it fuels.”

The famous line of the interview…

“[regarding prep] you go from being a baguette to a breadstick.” 

5. Nia Shanks Twitter Feed

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 9.38.49 PM

This lovely lady is the leader of the “Lift Like a Girl” movement that we have seen more recently. I’m no feminist, but I do enjoy female empowerment, especially in the gym! I just came across her profile and have just been enjoying her tweets.

It’s perfectly OK to finish a workout saying “Hell yeah, I did that!” It should build you up, not tear you down. Exercise is not punishment.

Ever wonder what you could experience and achieve if you didn’t allow fear of the “what-ifs” hold you back?

Well those are what have been catchin my eye over the past few days. Hope at least one of them interests you and can give you some insight or inspiration.

Take on the new week with passion and drive! 

-Chelsea


Leave a comment

Caffeine-Free Buzz…Fitness Friday 16

My friends!

Welcome back to another round of Fitness Friday! Last week I had mentioned that we were going to discuss something erotic, but of the natural variety and, well, here she is. The star of the discussion today is…

Maca Powder.

This ain’t no one trick pony though, oh no! She doesn’t just help with sexual health, but she may help with a whole host of other things..

BUT before we get into those, lets first explain what the heck this powder is.

What is Maca exactly?

As taken from this book,  Maca is found in South America, Peru specifically, and is a root vegetable that comes from the same family as many coniferous veggies such as cauliflower, turnips, cabbage, and broccoli. It looks very much like a beet in shape (as you can see from the image above). It grows in extremely harsh conditions and apparently the volcanic soils in this environment are very mineral rich, which then lends itself to the superior ‘powers’ of this vegetable.

What was it used for?

Traditionally it was used by the Peruvians for food and medicinal purposes with one of the main uses being a fertility supplement for both men and women. As a food supplement, maca is rich in antioxidants, minerals (such as magnesium, phosphorous, iron, calcium) and fiber and it very easy for the body to digest. This last part made it great for helping to treat those who were malnourished, were elderly or very young (Source).

Random facts from the book once again for this nutrition powerhouse:

~Taking size into perspective, maca actually has more calcium than milk

~Due to the fiber, it helps to keep people regular

~It contains almost 60 different phytonutrients (compounds found in plants that promote good health)

What do we know about it now?

Maca has been found to have quite a number of important properties! Here are some of the major ones that have been identified and actually looked into:

Adaptogen

Very generally speaking, adaptogens are those that support your body’s ability to adapt to stress. A 2008 study by Brook’s and colleagues found that when post-menopausal women were supplemented with 3.5g of maca per day (that is less than a tsp), their psychological scores related to anxiety and depression were significantly lower then the placebo group.

Libido Enhancer 

Sexual desire has also been something that maca appears to enhance. In a study by Stone et al (2009), male athletes were supplemented with maca root or given a placebo and than assessed for changes in sexual desire. Following a 14 day period, those who were supplemented with the maca had significantly higher desire compared to their initial assessment while also being significantly higher then those given the placebo

Fertility 

The Peruvians noticed that not only did maca increase the number of offspring in their cattle, but the same boost in fertility also seemed to show in humans. Although most of more recent studies looking into such effect are in animals (for example here, showing higher sperm counts in male mice, here for increases in litter sizes in females mice), there are a few human studies that show positive effects of maca use in both females and males. A nice review was done of both animal and human studies here.

Other potential benefits?

Help with osteoporosis, used as a natural stimulant, contributes to balancing hormones, possible link to cancer fighting properties, and many more. See here

Of course, we must talk about fitness here, SO what about it’s properties in athletes?

Endurance

Maca has been found to increase stamina and endurance in human subjects. Looking back at the study on male athletes (they were cyclists) by Stone and colleagues, when supplemented with maca, the males significantly improved on their 40km time compared to their baseline testing.

So as you can see, maca has gotten quite a lot of attention for many potential benefits in humans. Although it’s still heavily in the research stage, anecdotal evidence suggests that it does promote well being in people who use it. Completely not necessary for good health, but perhaps something to try as a natural boost to stamina, attention and sexual health.

As to how you use it…

It is strong stuff guys. Most tend to throw it in a smoothie or something to that nature as it’s strong flavour and smell will be more manageable. Otherwise, if you’re willing to take a risk like me and just throw in a shot glass with your other morning concoction ingredients, be my guest. Just start in slow is all I can say.

So that’s that for this week friends. Have a great weekend!

Ever tried maca before?

How do you use it?

-Chelsea