Training for a swimming competition takes months of planning, practice, and physical endurance. At times, it can be stressful. Throughout this intense period, swimmers need to also meet the demands of work, school, relationships, and daily life that can be an additional stress.
We all handle stress in different ways, but more effectively than others, but one thing is for certain - dealing with stress in a natural and proactive way will help improve your swim performance. Adaptogenic herbs are one way to manage the physical and mental stress on your body throughout swim season. Let's learn how they can make you a better swimmer.
How do adaptogenic herbs work?
These natural stress relievers have been around for centuries and come in many different forms. While they have only recently been called "adaptogens", they have been helping people manage anxiety and stress for years, without many of the side effects that come from using artificial pharmaceuticals.
Adaptogens work in conjunction with your body's system to help it adapt, which is where the name comes from, and optimize functioning. Some of the more popular adaptogens are below:
- Maca - helps with energy, stamina, and strength. Though it is not ginseng, it is also known as "Peruvian ginseng."
- Rhodiola Rosea - with lots of scientific data under its belt, this is one of the more popular adaptogens, and is in our P2Life Enduroboost supplement. It has anti-stress and fatigue-fighting properties.
- Schisandra berry - Calling it a "berry" is a bit of a misnomer since you won't be eating it or putting it on your yogurt. But once in medicinal form, this powerful adaptogen counters stress by reducing the levels of stress hormones in the blood.
How do they impact performance?
There are many things can impact a swimmer's performance: adequate sleep, proper hydration, high quality protein, and of course stress. When you're trying to manage the best nutrition for swimmers in addition to everything else, it can be a bit overwhelming.
This is where adaptogens help your body adjust and adapt so that you can compete and be in your best shape on the day of the race. These natural healers impact your performance in a few ways. First, they promote homeostasis, helping your body to recover from intense workout sessions and avoid post-practice sprains and cramps. Second, they foster the manufacture of protein, which helps with cellular rejuvenation. And thirdly, they actively reduce your cortisol, or stress hormone levels, which prevents pre-race jitters and nervous eating the day before a race.
Are they safe?
Generally, adaptogens are a safer alternative than some pharmaceutical options. Our P2Life Adaptogens are tested safe by the Banned Substances Control Group, and are safe for athletes to take. But some other adaptogenic herbs, like ginseng, are on banned substances lists, so check with your coach and team nutritionist to make sure what you're taking is safe.
For more articles on nutrition for swimmers and how you can be the best at this amazing sport, follow our P2Life blog today!