Cycling and Running Endurance

7 Natural Endurance Boosters

From coffee to wine, compounds in common food and drinks are said to help power up your workout, but are these performance enhancers all they’re cracked up to be?

Stamina Superstars?

7 Natural Endurance Boosters // raw honey © Thinkstock

Image: Thinkstock

As a runner, cyclist, or someone trying to bulk up, you’ll likely respond to a headline hailing red wine, raw honey, or apple skins as the new secret to stamina. You fervently snack on apples, dip into the honey jar, enjoy a second glass of wine with dinner, and wait to feel the effects—and wait, and wait.

“It’s not that they don’t work, it’s that you’d have to take a lot to reach concentration levels necessary to achieve an ergogenic effect,” says Tricia Bland, RD, a spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise. So forget about getting an endurance boost from what’s in the fridge—researchers conclude that you would need to chow down on 100 apples or drink 100 glasses of red wine in a single day to experience the ergogenic effects found in various studies.

This leaves you with the prospect of trying dietary supplements, which can get a little scary. Many over-the-counter varieties are not regulated by the FDA, so purity and concentration vary by manufacturer, notes Bland. The key to being smart about integrating new science into your sport is to be skeptical, says Bland. Because research around natural endurance enhancers can get complicated, we put Bland’s advice to the test and took a look at seven compounds that claim to help you run farther, cycle longer, and lift more weight. Here’s what we found.

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