Pomegranate: The Superfood Supplement
Pomegranates. I'm sure some of you have seen me tout the benefits of utilizing pomegranate, and a lot of my clients have heard me recommend it as well. I want to dive into WHY I'm being such a pomegranate pusher (insert mean girls quote: I'm a PUSHER, Cady).
I find the term "super food" to be overused and a bit of hype, but when it comes to pomegranate juice I will certainly make an exception. Pomegranates are rich in phytochemical which exert a plethora of benefits within the body. It's anti-cancer, anti-inflammation, anti-aging and supports memory along with protecting the cardiovascular system. It decreases oxidative stress which not only inhibits performance & recovery in the gym, but can also decrease fertility in men & women and decreases sex drive. Having something that helps combat that oxidative stress is an incredibly useful tool to have in your toolbox!
There's evidence that it can potentially help with gut microbiome and may be beneficial to those with gut disorders, however some people are sensitive to certain sugars so I would tread carefully there.
Pomegranates help support mitochondrial health. Why do we care? Because the mitochondria is responsible for producing energy in the body. By improving the health and functionality of the mitochondria, it can take in carbs & fats and turn it into usable ATP (ATP is able to store and transport chemical energy within cells. Basically, it's very good and we like it a lot).
Okay, so overall pomegranate is looking pretty great for overall health. So how is it useful in the gym? When you're going through a workout, your muscles get pretty needy. Normally when you're at rest, your muscle only receives about 15-20% of your blood. But once you're going through some intense exercise, as much as 80% of blood flow surges into muscle tissue, delivering oxygen and nutrients while picking up carbon dioxide and heat to be released by the lungs and skin. With the use of some simple little fruit, you can boost blood flow and deliver more oxygen to muscle tissue and also potentially help your body use oxygen more efficiently. What that means is you can essentially do the same work with less effort, OR increase your work load. This also helps improve recovery and reduce soreness, which is amazing if you're doing high frequency training.
I personally use 6-8 oz of 100% pomegranate juice and dilute it with 12-16 oz of water. I add creatine monohydrate, some high quality sea salt and beta alanine and use that as my pre-workout. I start drinking it 30 minutes before I workout, and drink it throughout my workout. It's improved my workouts more than any manufactured pre-workout supplement out there. No crash, no jitters. Just lifting heavy shit, getting an amazing pump and recovering quickly so I can get back in the gym and do it all over again.
Keep in mind this doesn't only apply to weight lifting, but can also help endurance athletes as well or even someone who goes on long hikes, rock climbs, swims... any exercise that challenges you.
I encourage anyone who has room in their nutrition to try incorporating pomegranate juice into their day before working out. You can even try as little as 4 oz and see if you notice a difference.
Author, Emi Mraule, Head Coach, @emimraule