Lion's Mane Pre-Workout
There is no shortage of supplements and performance-boosting panaceas within the fitness community, some less trustworthy than others.
You might have heard of the name lion’s mane being thrown around as an example of one of those newfangled pre-workout superfoods, but what exactly is behind it? Is it a fad or something you should seriously consider adding to your routine?
Well, that’s what we’re here to find out.
What is Lion’s Mane?
First off, let’s make one thing clear: just what is lion’s mane? Well, lion’s mane, or going by its scientific name hericium erinaceus, is a species of mushroom found throughout large parts of Asia and Europe.
It grows in usually white or yellowish, fluffy patches that resemble dense fur or hair, not unlike the mane of a certain completely unrelated wild cat native to the African savannah.
The lion’s mane is an edible type of fungus, and its unique flavor has been described as somewhere between crab and lobster, with a crunchy, hearty texture. However, its claim to fame goes far beyond that.
For centuries, the lion’s mane has been consumed for its health benefits. In some cultures, it has attained truly legendary status as a miracle cure to many ailments and health issues.
Thanks to modern science, we’ve managed to study and research these claims in recent years to discover that there’s a lot of truth to them! This has led to lion’s mane achieving a meteoric rise in popularity and quickly becoming one of the most sought-after dietary supplements in the West, particularly for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s mane acts on our bodies in a wide variety of ways, and this is largely due to its exceptionally high density in nutrients and essential active ingredients. Many of these are not found in plant-based foods or meat, and some of them are even rare among other edible mushrooms!
Below, you will find a list of some of the most notable proven benefits that lion’s mane has for our health.
Particularly for outdoorsy types and those who like to keep moving throughout the day, one of lion’s mane’s unique properties should stand out: its ability to prevent physical fatigue.
It does this by encouraging blood flow throughout the body, leading to higher oxygen uptake in the muscles and, thus, a higher endurance level.
Like caffeine, some of the antioxidant compounds found in lion’s mane can make you feel more energized, upbeat, and awake – though this fungus won’t make you crash and burn, nor will it cause jittering, anxiety, or sleepless nights!
Improves Concentration, Focus, Cognitive Function
One aspect of our physical well-being that gets hardly talked about, even within the fitness community where it is arguably the most important, is the role of mental focus.
It has been shown that lower concentration levels don’t just lead to worse results in the gym; they decrease your quality of life overall!
Thankfully, lion’s mane is one of the best natural remedies against this problem. The mushroom’s ability to strengthen the mind and provide razor-sharp focus is what made it famous to begin with – as far back as 2,000 BC in ancient China!
Lion’s mane does not just allow you to feel more “in the moment” during your workouts and elsewhere. It encourages the growth of healthy neurons in the brain, leading to an overall healthier and sharper mind!
Reduces Inflammation and Recovery Time
Okay, so we’ve established that lion’s mane can make you go harder, keep going for longer, and feel more awake and alive while you’re doing it. Those are already some heavy hitters for improved exercise performance, but we’re not done yet!
Another of the mushroom’s impressive powers is its ability to combat systemic inflammation within organs and bodily tissue. Inflammation is one of the leading causes of physical stress, which can negatively affect our moods and hurt our performance both in the short and long term.
Being such a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, lion’s mane does not just help treat existing inflammation. It also strengthens your body to ward off future instances, prolonging your muscles’ ability to work under tension and recover quickly. This can allow you to squeeze more reps into a shorter time frame and improve your efficiency during exercise.
Accelerates Fat Metabolism
All that extra energy and blood flow that lion’s mane contributes also raises your body’s metabolic activity. Over time, this leads to a higher energy expenditure throughout the day, making fat loss easier and quicker, all else remaining equal.
Improves Gut Health
Lion’s mane can improve the health of your stomach by supporting the healthy development of the gut lining and mucous membranes that are vital to the digestive process. Lion’s mane also functions as a probiotic, encouraging the growth and regeneration of gut bacteria.
It should go without saying that a healthy gut biome is one of the most fundamental ingredients to good health and consistent results from exercise.
Boosts the Immune System
The benefits of lion’s mane to our microbiome extend further than just the gastrointestinal system alone. This mushroom is a complete immunomodulating powerhouse, improving the functioning of our immune response across the board.
As mentioned before, lion’s mane reduces inflammation and oxidation. This effect does not just release stress while improving your energy levels; it also increases the working effectiveness of our immune system.
The lion’s mane mushroom has long had a reputation for warding off disease and strengthening the body against infections. With our modern scientific knowledge, we finally understand why and how!
Boosts Body’s Adenosine Triphosphate Production
“Adenosine Triphosphate” might not sound like a term you might be familiar with, but take a second look at those letters and realize they’re the initials of ATP spelled out – now the picture looks a bit different, doesn’t it? Most of us learned about ATP in high school biology class, where we were told that it is the body’s fundamental unit for energy storage.
That is mostly true – ATP is how our organs make use of all the good stuff extracted from the food we eat every day. More ATP uptake in the blood means higher energy and power levels in those muscles. For gym rats and those who like to push their bodies to the limit, that’s good news.
The even better news is that lion’s mane can increase ATP production to a considerable extent! This can improve muscular endurance and cardiovascular performance in every exercise. It will leave your muscles and internal organs more nourished and healthier in the long run.
How to Take Lion’s Mane Pre-Workout
If you are impressed by the many health benefits of lion’s mane we discussed above (I won’t blame you!) and want to incorporate this superfood into your diet as a pre-workout boost, then you have a couple of options.
Lion’s mane is particularly suitable as a pre-workout supplement because its most immediately noticeable effects include elevated cardiovascular endurance, a boosted metabolism, higher energy levels, and lower degrees of inflammation. In other words, all bonuses that, though nice and helpful during recovery, you’d rather be smart to make use of to push yourself through your workout.
Unlike stimulants like caffeine, guarana, or synthetic PEDs, lion’s mane won’t make you crash after, so the amount of time you can safely exercise should only increase, thanks to the mushroom’s effects on stamina.
In the end, it will be up to you to decide which kind of lion’s mane pre-workout supplement is right for you since there are a lot to choose from!
The purest and usually most cost-effective mushroom supplements tend to be powders, which are gained by harvesting the raw mushroom and blending it into a fine grain. This can easily be added to your morning pre-workout drink, shake, or smoothie! You can also vary the daily dosage according to your preference.
Lion’s mane pre-workout capsules are also available if you want something more consistently effective. They provide you with an easier way to monitor and control your intake while being just as convenient to consume.
We've put together an in depth article on the best time to take Lion's Mane. Enjoy the read!