How Did Maca Root Help Me Improve My Athletic Performance?
Many maca users report that maca helps to improve athletic performance when taking maca. It appears that where other supplements failed, maca root seemed to support the body in different kind of scenarios effortlessly.
There are many reasons how and why maca can help bodybuilders, runners, cyclist, wellness and gym enthusiasts combat fatigue and boost overall athletic performance. For me, maca helped in a situation such as in speeding up the recovery time from my injury (more about this below), significantly increasing energy and helping me achieve what earlier I thought it is almost unachievable, run a marathon.
I am a runner. My favorite running distance is a weekly 10k run. Like many who are into sports, I also had a few injuries. In the past, when a teenager, I had my first knee injury, due to running. The very same knee, I injured twice. The second time I wounded the same knee was in my early thirties. My first knee recovery time lasted over three years, during that time I was almost all the time in pain, hardly able to walk long walks, let alone run. My second recovery time lasted only six months.
Thanks to maca, my recovery time from my last injury was reduced, the knee pain disappeared after only six months, and after just a year and a half, I was back on track, running a marathon.
Here are my observations and a few health facts, including some research results, I found relevant to mention and which explain the reason behind I can run today not only better, than when I was 19 years old, but also why the second injury lasted just a short period.
From Many Supplements to Zero Energy
Supplements. Who does not take these? At least I do. But little did I know (way back in time) that by consuming more supplements, all at once, it will not necessarily give the competitive edge. Not, until I started using maca, an all in one adaptogenic supplement.
If you are like me, you’d want to make sure that when it comes to body and its physical performance, the body needs to receive all the necessary nutrients, minerals and vitamins to cope easier with often stressful and exhausting practices. As I am a competitive person when it comes to running, I used to make sure I do ‘everything right’ to boost my performance to its maximum. Meaning, clean diet, lots of training and lots of supplements, which at that time I thought I needed them all, to accomplish my final goal. I was wrong. I was young who can judge that. :) What no one told me is that spending so much money on supplements will not necessarily do the job I anticipated in the first place. Today, I know a bit better the science (1) behind the supplement products.
Supplements are great. But finding a supplement, which contains little or no additives other chemicals, is close to impossible. Some of the reasons I believe I did not benefit from taking all those supplements:
- Most of the supplements, in addition to a tiny percentage of good stuff, also have extra fillers, harmful chemicals, colors. By consuming many at the same time, instead of focusing on the healing process, my body struggled to deal with all the ingredients, which resulted in me often experiencing irregular heartbeat, lack of energy, upset digestive system and extended recovery time.
- They are a short-term fix-me solution. Once I stop taking these, my body plus my mind was negatively affected, to name a few, had significantly lower endurance, depression…
- Hormonal disruption. My endocrine system was on a roller-coaster ride most of the time especially when I stopped using supplements. I believe one reason it happened is that some supplements are with lots of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens, when ingested mimics the estrogens which affect endocrine system negatively, resulting in unbalanced hormones.
The Benefits of Maca Root for Athletes and Bodybuilders
Maca root is 100% natural, stocked with nutrients especially essential if you practice any kind of sport. This plant is also a real example of a herb with substantial medicinal use in traditional herbal medicine by people from Peru since the first recorded knowledge of it in the seventeenth century. Here are a few study findings.
- Lipid-soluble extract from maca improved swimming endurance capacity (2).
- Positive effects were noticed of macamides* (a substance found in maca) on endurance capacity and anti-fatigue property in prolonged swimming mice (3).
- On the Impact of Maca Polypeptide on sports fatigue showed that maca polypeptide can improve the ability of anti-fatigue mice, and in a certain concentration range, the higher the concentration, the better the resistance to fatigue (4).
- When maca was given to cyclist to investigate the effect of 14 days maca supplementation on endurance performance in trained male cyclists, the results showed improved 40 km cycling time trial performance. After only 14 days on maca supplements, their speed improved for a 40km time trial.
When taking maca you might not get instant results as when taking other substances such as anabolic steroids. But if you take maca on regular bases, I believe one will have gradual results without causing any harm to the body.
NUTRITION. In general, maca provides essential nutrients for physical and mental performance, something other supplements won’t do. For example, maca root has a high concentration of nutrients and minerals, such as B Vitamin and it is high in plant sterols, easily digestible high-quality protein, which enhances performance exercises. Energy-producing, protein-building amino acids found in maca help fuel the body and assist with recovery after an intense workout. Minerals such as Calcium, Silica, phosphorus, and Magnesium, all of which are present in maca, are vital for bone health to protect against injury during athletic training. I believe this is exactly where, why and how maca helped me the most speed up the recovery process. I started using maca on regular basis right after the injury where my body received all the necessary nutrients to recover successfully in a short period of time. :)
As mentioned, maca is a rich source of natural sterols, a great alternative to anabolic steroids. For this reason, this root is continually attracting sports people especially bodybuilders who want to build muscles quickly and without any toxic side effects.
GOOD ESTROGEN UP – BAD ESTROGEN DOWN. Estrogen levels play an essential role in muscle building. Maca naturally contains DIM (Diindolylmethane), which dramatically improves hormone balance in both men and women, and it works by stimulating estrogen metabolism. Meaning, it increases levels of good estrogen metabolites and decreases the levels of harmful estrogen metabolites in the body without eliminated estrogen. By limiting the bad estrogen metabolites you increase testosterone level, critical to muscle building. In the long run that will mean less body fat and more muscle mass. Good to know. Excess estrogen can lead to moodiness, irritability, and can affect weight and how you recover from a workout.
MOTIVATION. We all need to be motivated, uplifted and we all need small mental or mood-boosting helpers sometimes. People who regularly consume Maca have shown to have low levels of stress and depression thanks to Maca root powders ability to restore proper hormonal balance.
Which maca to use to boost athletic performance?
If you don’t have digestion problems, to rip all the benefits that maca offers, raw maca powder would be my number one choice. Reason being, in raw maca the sugars, and starch are not destroyed during the harvesting and mill process, which makes maca the superpower house and best option for athletes who want to build their muscle mass regulate energy levels and reduce effects of stress on the body, especially when weight-lifting.
You can quickly start with small amounts and follow your body reaction to it. Gradually you can increase maca dosage to suit your bodybuilding and your body needs. Also, with maca in its powder form, you can make healthily enjoyable and quick refreshing protein drinks to have while at home or to take with you at work, school or gym. It’s easy actually and super easy to add maca to your workout routine.
You do not necessarily have to choose between taking maca or another supplements and product. The above insights are from my personal experience and observation. At home, we like to use maca on a regular basis and believe it is an ideal supplement alternative for us, athletes (me) and bodybuilders (my partner) who want to bulk up without the use of harmful steroids that can have adverse side effects in the body.
To your health and the best athletic performance. Macacheers!!
P.S. Inside the blender we have rice milk, sweet peaches, bananas, honey melon and raw maca powder (check out our recommended maca products). :)
*Macamides – Macamides are considered the typical lipid-soluble markers for maca and proved to have several pharmacological properties, such as improving sexual performance and neuroprotective activities.