Cordyceps Before Workout

Exercise and medicine are closely linked from the beginning, and around the world, there are endless secrets that can significantly boost physical performance in people. 

Traditional Chinese medicine holds one of these not-so-secret mysterious wonders of the Himalayan mountains called cordyceps, truly a gift of nature. 

Cordyceps are an exotic fusion between caterpillar and fungus, half plant, half-animal, with a great therapeutic power known for centuries by certain oriental cultures. This fusion holds incredible medicinal properties capable of giving a great boost to your physical performance when training. 

​​The performance-enhancing properties of cordyceps in exercise are due to this exotic medical mushroom’s effects on the human body. These effects translate into direct benefits for physical performance in high-performance athletes or in people who want to give their energy levels a boost.


Key Takeaways

  • Cordyceps, a fusion of caterpillar and fungus, enhances physical performance during exercise by increasing ATP production and improving oxygen metabolization, resulting in improved exercise capacity and performance.
  • Cordyceps offers fitness benefits such as improved exercise performance, heart health, anti-inflammatory effects, reduced oxidative stress, and potential testosterone boosting.
  • Cordyceps can be taken before or after workouts. As a pre-workout supplement, it may reduce muscle fatigue and prolong time to exhaustion. As a post-workout supplement, it aids recovery and provides energizing effects, benefiting speed and endurance.


When to Take Cordyceps Before Workout?

Suppose you feel like you're constantly struggling with low energy levels, fatigue, low mood, and compromised overall vitality when doing your exercise routines. In that case, it may be a good time to introduce cordyceps as a supplement to your daily diet. 

Nonetheless, it is important to highlight that despite all the benefits and improvements that the effects of cordyceps intake can bring to your vitality, it may take a few months to feel a noticeable change in your body. 


Cordyceps and Exercise 

Cordyceps can generate antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immuno-enhancing, antimicrobial, anti-aging, neuroprotective, and antimetastatic effects and contains the 18 essential amino acids for humans. Consequently, it can generate several benefits to the general health of the body. 

Traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine use cordyceps from a long time ago to improve sexual drive, mental energy, physical strength, and fatigue. But it is in physical performance and exercises where cordyceps show to generate more significant improvements.

Although scientific studies in humans still have some discrepancies, reports from many users and the experience of both coaches and athletes, even at the Olympic level, suggest that cordyceps supplementation increases the body's production of adenosine triphosphate or "AT,” a compound that transfers and stores metabolic energy to the muscles and improves VO2 Max.

This term refers to how the muscles use oxygen during exercise. Even the cordyceps or "Rhodiola crenulata" supplement appears to further boost aerobic performance gains in altitude training.

Because of this, the use of cordyceps is often inextricably linked to high resistance exercises and the world of fitness.

Cordyceps Fitness Benefits

As we already mentioned, fitness and high-performance exercise are areas where cordyceps show their best qualities. Although more studies are still needed to verify all the possible benefits that cordyceps can bring to exercise energy levels, here is a list of some of the benefits for which these magic mushroom-animals have risen so much in popularity in the last times:

Improves exercise performance: This is one of the most notable benefits that cordyceps can provide and why many athletes supplement their diet with these medicinal mushrooms.

Cordyceps can increase the level of VO2 Max, thus giving an impulse to the metabolization of oxygen at the muscular level since it increases the production of ATP, the compound in charge of storing and transferring energy to the muscles, especially when it comes to exercising. 

The boost that cordyceps supplementation can give in an athlete's diet of high resistance training is usually noticeable when the intake is consistent and lasts few months.

This gives time for these mushrooms to display the series of effects that they can generate in the body. Some studies support this belief that cordyceps can increase exercise capacity by up to 7% after ingestion for six weeks or more.

Heart health improvement benefits: Although having a healthy heart is not always synonymous with having excellent physical fitness, it is undoubtedly beneficial when training.

A healthy heart can better distribute blood throughout the body and especially to the muscles. Therefore, a healthy heart helps a lot to build better physical fitness and improve performance when training. 

In China, cordyceps is one of the approved treatments to treat arrhythmia, a condition that causes the heartbeat rhythm to be irregular. Other studies conducted in animals indicate that cordyceps may significantly reduce heart injuries caused by chronic liver disease, thus reducing the chances of heart failure. Cordyceps may also improve cholesterol levels by lowering LDL cholesterol

LDL cholesterol or "bad" cholesterol is responsible for the formation of cholesterol in the arteries, so reducing this type of cholesterol in the blood also reduces the chances of heart attacks or heart failure.

There is also evidence showing that cordyceps may lower triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood linked to heart disease when found in high concentrations.

Anti-inflammatory benefits: Evidence shows that cordyceps may suppress certain specific proteins responsible for increasing inflammation in human cells. Cordyceps are also shown to have the ability to reduce inflammation in the airways.

There is also evidence showing the anti-inflammatory qualities of cordyceps when applied topically. However, it may not be as effective as other topical inflammation treatments.

Antioxidant and testosterone-boosting benefits: You may be wondering, why is this a fitness benefit? Well, oxidative stress in cells is directly related to aging. The antioxidant properties of cordyceps normalize free radicals and may reduce oxidative stress, which slows down aging.

These effects can improve sex drive, memory, and physical strength. It is also one of the reasons why cordyceps reduce fatigue when training. In China, these mushrooms are a long-used medicine to boost testosterone levels and have a long history as aphrodisiacs in both men and women.


Cordyceps - Before or After Workout?

As soon as people learn about this amazing supplement, they want to know if it is better to take cordyceps before or after exercise. 

Whether before or after exercise, the recommended intake of cordyceps per day is 1,000 to 3,000 mg. Although there is no dangerous level of cordyceps intake, toxicity levels, or notable side effects, this is the recommended amount to avoid stomach discomfort.

However, the answer to whether taking your cordyceps before or after training can vary slightly depending on each person’s needs, conditions, or goals when adding cordyceps as a supplement to their daily diet.

Cordyceps Pre-workout 

There is some evidence suggesting that cordyceps might work as a pre-workout supplement due to the known effects of this fungus on the body.

These mushrooms continue to gain popularity among athletes due to their ability to improve liver bioenergetics and increasing ATP production, which translates into better oxygen metabolization at the time of training.

This evidence suggests that cordyceps may prolong time to exhaustion or reduce muscle fatigue during high-resistance exercise. 

Although much of this evidence comes from animal experiments, and there is no hard evidence yet that it works to recommend cordyceps as a pre-workout supplement, you can give it a try for yourself and experience the results first-hand. Athletes using cordyceps as a pre-workout supplement recommend doses of 1 to 1.5 g.

Cordyceps Post-workout

Although most cordyceps users prefer to eat these mushrooms in the morning or use cordyceps as a pre-workout supplement, it is entirely valid to use them as a recovery or post-workout supplement. The reason is that their effects can bring the same benefits to the body almost independently at the time of intake. 

Chinese Olympic coach, Ma Junren, used to give the girls in his team a dose of cordyceps as a post-training supplement and pointed out that the intake of these mushrooms for several months was one of the reasons why various runners managed to break world records.

This is due to the energizing effects for which cordyceps have gained such popularity among athletes and their known ability to enhance the body's metabolism and open the upper respiratory tract. 

Likewise, Ma Junren pointed out that these qualities of the cordyceps were the "secret" of his runners to achieve more speed and endurance.

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