Improve Your Athletic Performance With Honey

A study at the University of Memphis Exercise and Sports Nutrition Laboratory, confirmed that honey is one of the most effective forms of carbohydrate to eat just before exercise.

Primarily honey has been used as an energy source, but recent research has examined the use of honey as an ergogenic aid (a food or ingredient that helps an athlete’s performance) and wound healing agent, both of which were once considered merely age-old anecdotes.

In the time of the ancient Olympics, athletes were reported to eat special foods, such as honey and dried figs, to enhance their sports performance. Recently, however, one group of researchers has investigated the use of honey as an ergogenic aid in athletes. 

The study involved a group of 39 weight-trained athletes, both male and female. Subjects underwent an intensive weight-lifting workout and then immediately consumed a protein supplement blended with either sugar, maltodextrin or honey as the carbohydrate source.

The honey group maintained optimal blood sugar levels throughout the two hours following the workout. In addition, muscle recuperation and glycogen restoration (carbohydrates stored in muscle) was favourable in those individuals consuming the honey-protein combination. 

Honey digests quickly, yet ultimately does not radically spike insulin levels, which makes it is an ideal pre & post training carb source. Sustaining favourable blood sugar concentrations after endurance training is important for maintaining muscle glycogen stores, so that muscle recuperation is more efficient and athletes are ready to perform again at their highest level the next day. Honey also contains loads of essential vitamins & minerals, antioxidants as well as nitric oxide (NO) compounds (which encourage fat release from the body’s fat cells).

A more recent study concluded that honey and exercise had a combined effect on bone healthhormones, immune system, and inflammation

‘Acute honey ingestion improved endurance performance in two studies, while, five studies reported improvements in bone health after consuming honey combined with jumping exercises or aerobic dance. One study reported that stress and reproductive hormones were positively regulated. Five studies reported increase in white blood cells and neutrophils after ingesting honey combined with resistance or aerobic exercises which boosted the immune system.’ 

It’s easy to see why raw honey is recommended by sports dietitians and personal trainers across the globe. It’s not only delicious but incredibly nutritious and beneficial for the mind body and soul. We’ve put together a couple of easy ways to add honey to your pre, during or post workout routine below;

  • Homemade Energy Drink: Add water, a teaspoon of raw honey, and a pinch of salt to your water bottle. Shake well and drink to tap into an instant carbohydrate recovery and stay energized throughout your workout routines.
  • Honey Toast: Toast gives you more carbohydrates before you hit the gym. To spice up the meal, put some honey on bread and top it with nuts or seeds. You can add some avocado and strawberry slices too.
  • Honey-Lemon Shots: Mix one lemon juice, one tablespoon apple cider vinegar, one teaspoon honey, half a teaspoon of ginger, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Take these shots to refuel your body.
  • Honey Bars: You can prepare a nutrition bar for yourself using honey and nuts and eat pre or post-workout. Toast your nuts and roughly chop them. Put in a freezer-safe container and drizzle a generous amount of honey. Freeze it and enjoy.
  • Honey Yoghurt: For a quick post workout meal, prepare your favourite high protein yoghurt, top with granola and fruit then drizzle a spoon of raw honey all over.
  • Honey Protein Shake: Simply add a tablespoon of raw honey to your favourite protein shake or smoothie.