Hey gym rat (or aspiring gym rat!) I made this page for your reference and so you can get excited and inspired about using essential oils to improve your fitness and overall wellness. Using essential oils in the gym can help support better perfomance and results, so let’s talk about exactly how to do that.
Pre Workout Motivation:
Find an essential oil that gives you energy and put it on 30 minutes before your workout. Ones I love are Black Pepper (a hot oil – so be careful to dilute this one and build up slowly), Juniper, Cypress, Eucalyptus, and Peppermint. Try different oils and see which ones motivate you the most.
Using Oils Pre-Workout for Hydration:
There are so many great oils you can add to your water to help support your workouts and wellness!
We know that Peppermint essential oil helps with digestion, improving concentration and relieve head tension, but peppermint oil can also have some amazing positive affects on your exercise routine.
I’ll give you one specific study example just to show you how interesting of an essential oil Peppermint is. This study was a 2012 study in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition Twelve healthy male students every day consumed one 500 ml bottle of mineral water (which is roughly 16 oz) with 1 drop of peppermint essential oil for ten days. Scientists measured things like blood pressure, heart rate, and lung strength before and after the supplementation with peppermint oil infused water period. These athletes underwent a treadmill test where they worked to complete exhaustion as the treadmill speed and incline is increased every three minutes. So what happened? The results of the experiment showed that peppermint essential oil had a positive effect on exercise performance, blood pressure, and respiratory rate in these young male students. We don’t have solid conclusions why, but the authors of this study think this may be due to relaxation of your airway muscles, an increase in brain oxygen concentration, and a decrease in lactic acid levels in the blood, which I think is really cool. So anyone who works out can benefit from a little peppermint in their water.
Other oils great for your water:
All the citrus oils! Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange, Lemongrass:
First off, they taste amazing! And when we drink high quality citrus oils, we get the benefits of natural chemical properties like citral, which may have a small effect on diet-induced obesity and improved insulin sensitivity, which is amazing. Bottom line – citrus oils are great for healthy weight management.
Pre-workout mobility and stretching:
The goal here is to prepare your muscles and joints to move well, and typically this is done by heating them up with movement – things like stretching, static holds, distraction exercises (you can google pre-workout mobility routines). This is really important in any sport or workout routine, and oils can definitely help with that when applied topically. Oils that help with these types of pre-workout moves typically have warmth to them; we’re talking oils like Black Pepper, Lemongrass, Clove, or Cinnamon (all “hot” oils, so dilute and go slowly). I like putting 5-10 drops of these in a roller bottle with some carrier oil and rolling that onto any joints that are usually stiff or inflexible before my mobility routine. For me, that’s my hips. For my husband, it’s his shoulders. You can easily mix any of these up in a roller bottle and swipe that on before your workout. I personally prefer these warmer oils, because you want to warm up the body instead of cooling it down before you work out.
Healthy pre-workout supplements that actually work
A lot of people in the weightlifting and Crossfit world like to take a pre-workout supplement for energy, and those are usually filled with synthetic chemicals, many of which are known carcinogens. When you pump your body full of those harmful chemicals, you may feel good and alert in the short term, but there are real impacts to our hormones, which is never a good thing. I personally use an amazing essential oil infused energy boost called NingXia Nitro that I love to take before I lift weights in place of a pre-workout. It’s a small little oil infused packet of juice, much like a shot, that is designed to improve your energy levels. It has fruit and juice extracts like cherry, black currant, blueberry, but what’s really special is that it has Wolfberry seed oil, Spearmint oil, Nutmeg oil, Peppermint oil, and Yerba Mate Oil, as well as some naturally occurring caffeine and and another ingredient called bioenergy ribose. Caffeine is a fantastic exercise stimulant without the crazy chemicals typically found in a pre-workout drink, so if you need that it’s a great option! And Bioenergy Riobose® is an ingredient clinically proven to increase energy, accelerate recovery, and reduce fatigue and muscle pain. And if that wasn’t enough- it has B Vitamins (B-12, B-3, B-6), Choline, Potassium Iodide, which are all great for your energy. So I guess what I’m saying is that there are fantastic ways to use essential oils and essential oil based supplements at the gym to enhance your energy performance without all the crazy chemicals.
Let’s talk about using oils DURING your workouts for better performance:
If you’re doing something that’s really taxing on your respiratory system, then stuff like Eucalyptus, or a blend like Breathe Again is fantastic to keep close by to help open nasal passages.
Something my husband does, especially when he lifts weights in the summer, is get a 16 oz spray bottle and put some water and a few drops of Peppermint and Orange oils in it and keeps that in his gym bag. When he overheats, he sprays his chest and neck to keep cool and refreshed. You could do the same for sweaty hikes, runs, or anything outdoors.
Another common and really effective ways to use oils during a workout is to find an aromatherapy yoga class. My dear friend Carol specializes in these in my area, and there are usually yoga studios that have these in most cities. Basically, yoga instructors will pair an oil with a pose or a focus and the yoga pose and the oil work synergistically to make the class even more effective. In a class a few weeks ago, Carol used Copaiba oil for grounding and centering, Lime for heart opening, and Ylang Ylang for openness and connection. Again – essential oils are a great, easy way to incorporate oils into yoga to enhance the benefits of your workout.
Post Workout Recovery
Once you’ve finished your workout, be sure to cool down and stretch the worked muscle groups to avoid injury. Most people skip this, but I highly recommend taking your time and adding a few essential oils and making a really refreshing cool down routine out of it. I have a little waterproof pouch that I keep in my gym bag and after my workouts, I grab it, grab a foam roller, I stretch and apply some oils. In any gym setting, you have to be polite about it and not go overboard, because you want to be respectful about smelling too strong when other people are around. But if you can do it, it’s a great way to end a workout.
The Mother of All Oils for the Gym: Deep Relief
My absolute 100% all time favorite oil blend no matter what is Deep Relief. This blend, that every human should have, is a blend of Helichrysum, Peppermint oil, Lemon oil, Balsam oil, Clove oil, Wintergreen, Vetiver and Dorado Azul oil.
Let’s break this Deep Relief blend down, because it’s pretty freaking fabulous. First of all, Helichrysum is something everyone should have. It’s an very valuable oil that been used for centuries for all sorts of ailments, but really great for your skin quality and appearance, especially if you’re clumsy like I am. Then, this blend also contains Clove oil, and clove has the highest density of antioxidants of any oil, and your body and immune system could use some fighting power after a workout because of all those little micro tears in your muscle that need repairing and the stress you’ve put on your body. Then you have Copaiba, which has high amounts of beta-caryophyllene, which is another one you should google. The short version is that beta-caryophyllene is amazing relief. Then on top of all that, you get the cooling and soothing from the Wintergreen and the Dorado Azul oils. I tell everyone that if you have an oil skeptic or just any workout junkie in your life, especially men, just let them use a roller of Deep Relief and they will love you forever. This is a must for anyone, let alone anyone who works out.
Cool Azul Sports Gel: Another great option for post workout soreness or just to revive tired muscles. It is an amazing blend of Peppermint, Oregano, and Dorado Azul essential oils, which are so good immediately after a workout, especially in the summer. This is one that is always in my gym bag.
Cool Azul Pain Cream: This pain cream is incredible for athletes and non-athletes alike. It has methyl salicylate, which helps alleviate pain deep in the muscles and joints, while natural menthol provides a cooling effect. It’s great for strains, bruises, soreness.
Let’s talk about some really good oils for men in the gym, especially those who lift weights.
Oils like Idaho Blue Spruce and Goldenrod… those are going to help men of all ages support their stamina and vibrancy, which are so critical to strength and muscle mass. He can use those 2 in his daily morning routine and it will certainly benefit his overall wellness.
Oils for healthy joints:
Oils like Wintergreen, Copaiba, Clove, and Northern Lights Black Spruce are particularly known for their joint health benefits. And again, this is really important for mobility and flexibility. These can be really beneficial for athletes of any age or any sport, not just someone who is aging or has an injury. After a post workout shower is a great time to use them, and you can also get your hands on some supplements that have this specific formula of oils already in them.
How to deal with Gym germs (yuck):
Thieves spray, Thieves wipes, Thieves Hand Purifier, all day long. Period. Use it on the equipment, on you, on everywhere. Serioulsy – you can’t use enough. Gyms are dirty, nasty places. The essential oils in the Thieves blend will knock out all the nasty stuff more effectively than anything your gym will carry, and you won’t be inhaling toxic fumes. In fact, it’s great for your immune system! I also recommend you take Thieves vitality every day to support a healthy immune system so you can keep working out.
Hand Care for weightlifters and/or Crossfitters
If you lift weights regularly, caring for your hands is a must so they don’t rip, get bruised, or tear. One of the first reasons my husband, Mike, got into oils is because he saw what they can do to help keep his hands in lifting shape. He makes the BEST hand treatment ever. His hands stay ridiculously soft. I buy little glass lip balm jars so we can keep it with us in our gym bags. A little goes a long way. Use at least 2x daily if you lift weights.
How to Make a Hand Treatment to keep your Hands Healthy:
Hand Balm Recipe:
You’ll need a sauce pan, a glass bowl (or a double boiler), a glass container for the hand treatment and essential oils that are good for your skin.
Put into the glass bowl:
1 part beeswax
4 parts (solid) coconut oil
8 parts shea butter
Fill the bottom of the sauce pan with enough water that when you set the glass bowl into the pan it covers the bottom of the bowl but doesn’t spill over.
Set the sauce pan with glass bowl onto a stove burner and bring the sauce pan to a low heat. The water should not be boiling. You want only enough heat to gently melt the contents of the bowl.
Next, pick a glass container that you’ll keep your hand treatment in. Add the essential oils to your glass container (15-16 drops per 1oz of volume)
Mike’s essential oils of choice are:
Panaway (soothes your skin and helps your muscles)
Wintergreen (soothes your skin)
Frankincense (great for skin healing and overall skin health)
Peppermint (provides a great cooling sensation and helps with circulation)
For a 2oz jar, I would add 15-16 total drops of oils. For a 4 oz jar, I would use about 30 drops of oils.
Then, pour the liquefied contents (be careful, it’s hot!!) into your glass container and stir with a knife or a chopstick.
Place the glass jar in your refrigerator to let it cool and firm up. Now your hand treatment is ready for use!
If you have questions on this blog, feel free to reach out to me, comment, or leave a question below!
P.S. – If you are a personal trainer, gym owner or coach (or anything else related) and are open to learning more about how to add essential oils to your business, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or text me at 202-813-9908. I’m all about showing others how to merge health and wealth. 🙂
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