Are Functional Mushrooms the Next Pre-Workout?

Experiencing tiredness and a lack of focus during exercise, as well as feeling exhausted after an intense workout, is a common occurrence for many individuals. However, if you find yourself consistently drained, weak, or even ill after a few days of exercise, it may be time to examine your pre-workout supplement as the potential culprit.

Pre-workout supplements are designed to provide users with an extra boost of energy to power through intense workouts and achieve their fitness goals. By enhancing stamina, endurance, and overall performance, these supplements enable users to train harder and for longer periods.

Yet, high-quality pre-workout supplements offer more than just these benefits; they also prioritize post-training recovery and ensure they have no adverse effects on the body.

If you’re interested in understanding why the current range of pre-workout supplements may be detrimental to your well-being and exploring natural alternatives such as functional mushrooms and adaptogens that can help you achieve optimal fitness without any unwanted side effects, read on!

woman running outdoors

Why Should You Choose Stimulant-Free Pre-Workout Supplements?

Pre-workout supplements have become as commonplace as multivitamins, available in a wide variety of forms. You may have observed individuals consuming pre-workout snack bars, ingesting supplement pills and powders, or consuming premixed drinks. These products are designed to enhance focus, energy levels, and stamina.

There seems to be a certain level of peer pressure that compels people to opt for popular supplements without considering potential repercussions. The majority of commonly used pre-workout supplements contain mega doses of caffeine, often accompanied by other ingredients depending on the specific formulation. However, caffeine consistently appears on the ingredients list.

You might assume that since a large number of people consume caffeine-based pre-workouts and appear to function normally, the product must be safe. However, a study suggests that while pre-workout formulations generally do not cause severe side effects, there is always a risk of mild to moderate reactions for some users.1

A study conducted in 2019 also reported similar findings, with over half of the participants experiencing minor side effects such as skin reactions and nausea.2 Experts believe that many of these side effects can be attributed directly or indirectly to the stimulants present in pre-workout supplements.

woman drinking caffeine in bed

Why Caffeine Pre-Workout Supplements Are Bad for You

Caffeine, the most widely recognized and popular ingredient found in many pre-workout supplements, holds a prominent position in our daily lives.

We often consume caffeine in the form of coffee, extolling its virtues day and night. However, while caffeine-based pre-workouts may leave users feeling alert, energized, and refreshed, they also come with significant short-term and long-term disadvantages.

Caffeine, along with other stimulants, stimulates the central nervous system, which in turn promotes alertness and increased energy levels.

By inhibiting adenosine from binding to receptors, caffeine boosts nerve activity and enhances physical and mental energy levels.

Nonetheless, despite the initial positive effects experienced over a short period, users commonly experience exhaustion and fatigue a few hours later. This is known as the “crashing” effect.

Opting for stimulant-free pre-workout supplements can help avoid this crash, allowing individuals to remain alert and energized throughout the day.3,4,5

Despite the immense popularity of caffeine pre-workouts, they are not the ideal choice for evening workout sessions.

The importance of quality sleep in optimizing workout results is well-known, and consuming caffeine pre-workouts can lead to increased anxiety, disrupted sleep schedules, and poor sleep quality.

Consequently, individuals may find themselves feeling tired, exhausted, restless, and inattentive the following day.

On the other hand, stimulant-free, caffeine-free pre-workouts, including certain mushroom-based options, have no adverse impact on sleep and can even assist in calming the mind and relaxing the body.

For individuals with sensitive stomachs, caffeine and other stimulants can cause various gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and acid reflux.

Furthermore, stimulants have a tendency to slightly elevate blood pressure. While users may initially feel fine and energized during their workouts, after a few hours, they may experience increased stress.6

Those who are particularly sensitive should exercise extra caution when considering caffeine pre-workouts. By opting for non-stimulant alternatives, these side effects can be avoided.

Caffeine is also known to induce headaches, heart palpitations, and other serious cardiovascular symptoms7. Choosing non-caffeine pre-workouts can mitigate the risk of such severe side effects.

It’s worth noting the addictive nature shared by alcohol, cocaine, and caffeine. While caffeine addiction is widely accepted, and even embraced by some, becoming dependent on caffeine-based pre-workouts can lead to unwanted side effects.

Unfortunately, many individuals struggle to adhere to the recommendations provided by supplement manufacturers, doctors, and trainers regarding dosing.

By exceeding the recommended daily dosage of stimulant pre-workout supplements, people put themselves at risk. Research indicates that approximately 14% of pre-workout users take two or three doses per day, with nearly one in five individuals using the supplement more than once daily.8

Breaking the habit of consuming more than the recommended amount for training can be challenging. A swift and effective solution to this problem is switching to mushroom-based pre-workout supplements.

man drinking pre workout

Why Take Mushroom Pre-Workout Supplements?

Mushrooms are celebrated as nature’s original superfood due to their high nutritional value, functional properties, and medicinal benefits. Packed with vitamins, minerals, polysaccharides, and glycoproteins, the fruiting bodies of mushrooms offer numerous advantages.

Despite their longstanding historical use, mushrooms have only recently caught the attention of the scientific community. In the past few decades alone, researchers have uncovered over 130 health benefits associated with mushrooms. More recently, mushrooms have been gaining recognition as a pre-workout supplement.

Mushrooms possess all the necessary components to make an effective pre-workout supplement. They are abundant in vitamins, particularly Vitamin D, protein, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, probiotics, and beta-glucans.9

What sets mushrooms apart as an ideal pre-workout supplement is their minimal risk of side effects. With an excellent safety record, regular consumption of mushroom pre-workouts yields the best results.

Incorporating mushrooms as a pre-workout offers a multitude of benefits for your exercise sessions, both in the short term and long term. Here are some ways mushrooms can support your workout:

Enhanced Energy Levels: Mushrooms contain vital nutrients that have been shown to boost energy levels through energy metabolism. Certain mushrooms such as Cordyceps even stimulate the production of ATP, which serves as the main energy source in the body.10 Our Mushie ENERGY gummies are packed with 2,000mg of organic Cordyceps militaris in each serving!

Improved Blood Flow: During workouts, the heart pumps more blood to meet the increased demand for oxygen and nutrients in the muscles. Mushrooms with vasodilation properties can relax and widen blood vessels, thereby enhancing blood flow throughout the body.11

Enhanced Focus: While caffeine-induced motivation and focus are temporary, relying on stimulant pre-workout supplements can lead to nervousness and irritability later on. The motivation and focus provided by some mushrooms like Lion’s Mane are long-lasting and devoid of side effects.12 Our Mushie BRAINY gummies are packed with 2,000mg of organic Lion’s Mane in each serving!

No Energy Crashes: Symptoms like exhaustion, laziness, and poor mood often accompany crashes experienced after taking stimulant pre-workouts. Mushroom supplements help maintain physical and mental equilibrium throughout the day, reducing the likelihood of crashes!

Increased Endurance and Recovery: Exercise places intense stress on mental faculties, muscles, and organs. In addition to providing increased energy, mushroom pre-workouts assist the body in dealing with external stressors.13Reduced stress translates to faster recovery from training. Furthermore, a significant portion of the recovery process, including the elimination of lactic acid from muscles, occurs during sleep. By improving the quality and duration of sleep, mushrooms can expedite the recovery process.14

Vegan-Friendly: The majority of mushroom pre-workouts are suitable for vegetarians or vegans, making them an ideal choice for the growing young population that leans towards plant-based diets.

Immune Support: Regular workout routines can leave the body vulnerable to infections. The beta-glucans found in mushrooms strengthen the immune system and enhance immune response.15,16 Individuals engaging in endurance-building exercises are particularly susceptible to upper-respiratory problems, and mushroom pre-workout supplements can effectively combat such infections.17

Free from Side Effects: While caffeine is the most prevalent ingredient in many pre-workouts, most supplements also contain other additives like niacin, taurine, and beta-alanine. Beta-alanine and niacin can cause paraesthesia, characterized by itching, pricking, and tingling sensations on the arms, chest, and face. Additionally, common ingredients such as creatine may lead to bloating and water retention.

macro mushrooms

The Best Pre-Workout Mushrooms

There exist numerous species of functional mushrooms, boasting medicinal properties that contribute to overall health and well-being. However, if you are specifically seeking mushrooms that offer pre-workout benefits, three species stand out: Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, and Reishi.

Now, let us delve into how these three mushrooms assist you in achieving your fitness objectives faster by going the extra mile.

Cordyceps as Pre-Workout Supplement

Cordyceps possesses unique properties that make it an ideal pre-workout supplement. Its components, including cordycepin, polysaccharides, and other bioactive compounds, contribute to enhancing energy, stamina, endurance, and focus. Regular usage of Cordyceps can significantly improve gym performance and expedite post-workout recovery.

Cordyceps ensures that you can power through intense exercise sessions without experiencing mental fatigue or physical exhaustion. This mushroom works by increasing the body’s oxygen utilization, thereby improving energy production. By enhancing the delivery of oxygen to the muscles, Cordyceps effectively combat fatigue and provide a sustained energy boost.18

Furthermore, Cordyceps enables users to exercise for longer durations by delaying muscle fatigue. It achieves this by supporting the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which serves as the primary energy source for muscle contraction.19

Workout sessions test not only physical endurance but also mental focus. Cordyceps contains certain active compounds that enhance concentration and brain function.20 The heightened focus induced by Cordyceps can help you stay in the zone and bring out your best performance.

During workouts, adaptogens play a vital role in helping the body adapt to stress, whether physical or mental, by restoring balance and promoting overall well-being. The adaptogenic properties of Cordyceps further contribute to its effectiveness as a pre-workout supplement, minimizing the negative impact of stress on the body.21

Lion’s Mane as a Pre-Workout Supplement

Lion’s Mane has gained popularity as a pre-workout supplement due to its various compounds that enhance energy levels, improve focus, boost stamina, and aid in speedy recovery.

Lion’s Mane improves energy levels and stamina by increasing the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the primary energy currency in the body. By supporting ATP synthesis, Lion’s Mane provides a natural energy boost, allowing individuals to engage in more intense workouts and sustain their endurance.

This mushroom has a powerful impact on several cognitive faculties, including focus, attention, and concentration. The two main compounds found in Lion’s Mane, hericenones and erinacines, are known to stimulate the production of the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).22

NGF is crucial for the growth and maintenance of neurons. Increased NGF levels also contribute to the clarity of thought, focus, and concentration, which are highly beneficial during workouts.

Moreover, Lion’s Mane possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.23 By reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, this mushroom aids in the recovery process following strenuous exercise. It has the potential to alleviate muscle soreness, promote faster healing, and support overall body recovery.

Reishi as a Pre-Workout Supplement

Reishi, a functional mushroom, offers numerous benefits that encompass increased energy, stamina, focus, and faster recovery.24 When taken alone or in combination with other mushrooms, Reishi can optimize your workout routine.

Its antioxidants, polysaccharides, triterpenes, and other active compounds invigorate both the body and mind. Notably, triterpenes stimulate enhanced oxygen uptake and utilization, leading to improved energy production and mental clarity. By promoting blood flow and reducing fatigue, Reishi helps maintain focus and sustained energy levels during your workout.

Moreover, the compounds found in Reishi regulate cortisol levels, ensuring a proper balance of stress-related hormones. As you push your body beyond its natural limits, Reishi’s adaptogenic effect safeguards the body against the negative impacts of various stressors.25

Additionally, the polysaccharides act as immunomodulators, strengthening the immune system and reducing inflammation caused by exercise. These actions delay the onset of fatigue, thereby increasing stamina and endurance to prolong your workout session.26

Effective and swift recovery is crucial for muscle repair and growth. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Reishi help reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress and muscle inflammation. This remarkable mushroom not only supports the body’s natural healing processes but actively promotes and accelerates them. Rapid recovery ensures minimal muscle soreness and reduces the risk of injury for individuals who engage in daily or regular workouts.27 Our Mushie UNWIND gummies are packed with 1,000mg of organic Reishi in each serving!

Final Thoughts

Mushrooms are fast emerging as the next big pre-workout supplement because of their remarkable attributes. They contain essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that boost energy levels, stamina, and post-workout recovery.

Mushrooms also contain antioxidants and beta-glucans that reduce muscle damage, speed up recovery, and support muscle contraction during workouts. The adaptogenic properties in mushrooms promote mental focus and reduce exercise-induced stress.

One of their most remarkable qualities is that, unlike stimulant pre-workouts, mushrooms don’t have any negative side effects. In every way, mushroom pre-workouts are far better than stimulant-based supplements!


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