Pre-workout supplements are among the most popular products in the industry. The caffeine rush, the enhanced mind-muscle connection and physical strength (never underestimate the placebo effect!) keeps buyers coming back for more. The problem with most of these products? They’re overpriced and filled with artificial garbage unfit for human consumption (it’s no surprise seeing best-selling supplements taken off the market time and time again).
I do understand the importance of proper pre-workout rituals, however. By the time you get to the gym you want to be energized, focused and ready to kill. A good cup of coffee will go a long way to enhance your training experience. This is not an assumption. It’s a scientific fact. Used strategically, coffee will enhance focus, strength and performance and may even extend your lifespan.
But I know. You don’t want to live forever, and regular coffee is just so 2008 (1998 maybe even).
You want energy. You want power. You want performance. You want something that will propel you to new heights. You want…
The Elixir of The Gods
- 1/2 tsp cacao powder
- 1/2 tsp maca powder
- heavy cream [optional]
- sweeten to taste [optional]
Brew up a strong cup of coffee, add 1 half teaspoon of high quality cacao and 1 half teaspoon of maca root powder. If you can’t handle the bitter taste, use a drop of cream and sweeten with honey or sugar. Drink half an hour before your workout.
Each ingredient in The Elixir of The Gods serves a very specific purpose. Let’s take a closer look.
Benefits of Cacao
I’m in love with the coco.
Cultivated for over 3000 years in the Americas, cacao was traded as a valuable commodity (and even used as currency). The preferred way of consuming cacao in ancient societies was brewing it into a hot beverage called xocolatl (“bitter water”). Its powerful stimulating and invigorating properties made cacao an integral part of rituals and festivities.
Grown on the theobroma tree (Greek = “food of the gods”), cacao is an excellent source of flavonoids and alkaloids (happy chemicals) such as theobromine, phenylethylamine and caffeine. Furthermore, cacao is one of the most potent antioxidant foods you can consume. Berries and other superfoods don’t hold a candle.
Coffee complements the nutrient profile of cacao nicely. The theobromine contained in cacao powder or dark chocolate attenuates caffeine’s anxiety inducing effects, promoting a smooth, yet powerful boost. Furthermore, cacao’s high flavonoid content may enhance blood flow and support physical performance and recovery.
The differences in quality are massive among cocoa products, however. Choose raw and/or minimally processed varieties with no added sugars (sorry, Nesquik doesn’t apply).
Maca root (Lepidium meyenii), native to the Peruvian Andes belongs to the broccoli family of cruciferous vegetables. High in B-vitamins, iron, copper and manganese, maca has been used traditionally to combat weakness, infertility and sexual dysfunction. Legend has it that Inca warriors, notorious for their strength and vigor, consumed large amounts of maca before battle.
While maca has no measurable effect on hormone levels (i.e. doesn’t raise testosterone levels), it has shown to enhance libido in males and females alike. Users also frequently report improvements in energy and stamina after consumption.
But again, quality matters. With the rise in popularity among health conscious consumers, the market is flooded with low-quality offerings. Always look for organic Peruvian maca powder, with no added fluff.
The Elixir of The Gods gives You:
- Powerful energy boost
- Enhanced mood, mental clarity and focus
- Higher pain threshold
- Enhanced blood flow
- High antioxidant activity
- No synthetic ingredients
- No crash
Warning: This is a very powerful concoction. Stick to the above dosing recommendations and buckle up! This is going to be one hell of a ride.
Thank you for reading
Boolani A, Lindheimer JB, Loy BD, Crozier S. (2017). Acute effects of brewed cocoa consumption on attention, motivation to perform cognitive work and feelings of anxiety, energy and fatigue: a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover experiment. BMC, 13 January 2017.
Gonzales GF, Cordova A, Vega K, et al. (2002). Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. Andrologia
Dording CM, Fisher L, Papakostas G, et al. (2008). A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. CNS Neurosci Ther. 2008 Fall;14(3):182-91.
Crozier SJ, Preston AG, Hurst JW, et al. (2011). Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products. Chemistry Central Journal
Fisher NDL, Hughes M, Gerhard-Herman M, Hollenberg NK (2003). Flavanol-rich cocoa induces nitric-oxide-dependent vasodilation in healthy humans. Journal of Hypertension: December 2003 – Volume 21 – Issue 12 – pp 2281-2286