If you're like most of us, you want to get the most out of every second you spend exercising. Makes sense. Life is busy, and we don't often have a lot of seconds to spare; especially in the summer when the days are packed with even more social, work, and family commitments than usual. That's why we're always on the lookout for ways we can maximize the minimum time we have for working out -- and here's one of our favourite hacks.
Use Coconut Oil
From the smell of sunscreen to the taste of piña coladas, the sensory experience of coconut is unmistakably summer. Adding a little coconut oil to your summer sweat sessions can really jack up your workout, helping you look, feel and perform better, inside out. Here's how.
Use before your workout to…
According to a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, taking a teaspoon of coconut oil prior to working out can amp up performance. It all comes down to the way your body uses energy. Since your body would use the oil's medium chain fatty acids and your body's carb stores to fuel movement, you postpone fatigue since your glycogen stores won't be called upon right away. As a result, you can push harder.
Use during your workout to…
Protect Your Skin
Coconut oil has a natural SPF of 4-5, which means lathering yourself in a little can help protect your skin against the sun’s harmful UV rays. Of course, SPF 4-5 isn’t a lot, so if you are going to be working out outside for more than 20 minutes, you should use a sport sunscreen. But for those of us who are going to HIIT it and quit it, coconut oil can provide some short-term protection.
Bonus: coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties, and is intensely hydrating, so it can be used as a workout face-mask to fight acne, while moisturising your skin.
Double bonus: add a 10 drops of 100% pure frankincense essential oil to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil for a powerful anti-aging treatment that does double-duty as a natural bug repellent!
Use after your workout to...
Promote Insulin Secretion
After you've ripped up some serious muscle with some kettlebell cleans, you should do everything you can to help those muscles repair, and grow back stronger. Insulin is a hormone that helps infuse nutrients into your muscles, and since coconut oil is supremely insulinotropic -- meaning it stimulates insulin activity -- it’s a great way to help your beautiful bod build up more muscle so you can burn more fat. Add a teaspoon to your post workout shake or meal.These three simple strategies all using this one powerful ingredient can help you make the most out of your summer workouts. Just be sure you count any coconut oil ingested as part of your daily macronutrients (in this case, fats) so you don’t exceed your intake. Coconut oil is definitely a good fat, but too much of a good thing is still too much.