In today’s fast-paced world, it seems like the only way to get through the day is to constantly supply your body with perceived energy. And while perception is not your intentionrather, it is to fuel your drivereality suggests the quick fix solves your immediate problem, and gives you the jolt of inspiration you couldn’t get on your own.
Why is that? It appears we have transitioned from eating and exercising to provide energy and live a better lifestyle to substituting that work with an immediate solution. And the scenario is unlikely to change, although not a soul on the planet would argue that a healthy diet and more exercise wouldn’t be beneficial. So how can you take the quick-fix requirement and get a non-crashing energy boost that can power you through those tough work days, while also providing motivation to hit the gym? The answer is non-stimulant cellular energy, which works to enhance fuel supply, boost metabolism, drive a nootropic response and power your body all day long. However, we have to convince the consumer to take a chance on passing the mind-numbing, almost magnetic-like pull of the coffee shops and trust the solution.
The Pros and Cons of Stimulants
Stimulants are a class of chemicals that increase alertness and act to increase the dopaminergic (powerful neurotransmitter) receptor function of the central nervous system, among other functions, that induce a euphoric feeling. Because of this activity, a host of things can happen, including the acceleration of metabolic activity (via stimulation of heart rate and other blood parameters), as well as enhanced focus, which often leads to a reduction in appetite and the improvement of mood and tolerance. Thus, the quick fix is born as most stimulants are fast acting and the pleasure derived from them is hard to achieve otherwise. The downside is these same stimulants often have a very short-lived effect that can potentially lead to a crashwhich can leave some people worse off than they were before. This downer effect, similar to the drop-off from prescription medicine or illegal drug use, forces the user to continually look for that upper to keep the euphoric effect alive. And while long-term use of common stimulants such as caffeine is not considered dangerous (and whose sales have fueled the multibillion dollar energy market), the goal of improving energy truly has not been achieved.
One class of ingredients, that of non-stimulant cellular energyalthough not new, but experiencing new marketing and applicationis fueling a non-stimulant market that is expanding daily as consumers grow weary of the cyclic torment of trying to find a burst of energy every single day. By attacking various “components" of what provides overall body energy, consumers can “have their cake and eat it too." Formulators should be looking for ingredients that improve the body’s ability to break down fats and sugars more effectively so the body has energy all day long. By adding ingredients that improve muscle contractile activity, workouts can be stronger and longer. And while there are plenty of products that energize workouts, reducing the stimulant contribution in favor of fuel-providing ingredients reduces post-workout drop-off and enhances recovery, which translates to less “dragging" all day long. Finding a balance between providing energy for regular daily activity and keeping endurance at a premium during exercise not only powers performance, but increases daily energy levels. Products should include ingredients that can reduce fatigue and improve fat and carbohydrate utilization so the body is in constant supply of energy, which in turn eliminates drop off.
Perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of daily energy is the fact that improving blood flow not only helps with normal healthy heart function, but it means every cell in the body can benefit in both production and recovery. Several solutions exist that can help improve the ability to deliver ingredients more effectively. Immune function is key for having balance and a sense of overall well-being, and with new options for product development, a user will undoubtedly feel more energy throughout the day. While the value of decreasing recovery time has been well-known for the last decade, it has not been explored outside of workouts. Some of the more innovative ingredients in this area can help to reduce overall body stress throughout the day. Since concentration, focus and mental acuity are important for those with busy work schedules, honing in on those parameters will improve the overall energy stores by reducing the mental stresses of daily life. And then finally, getting a good night’s sleep means energy will be at a premium throughout the day as consumers often suffer from lack of proper rest. For formulators, this means product solutions should help to slow the body down and relax it, rather than just shutting it off completely, to give the consumer a pleasing sleep that allows them to wake up and be ready for the next day.
Beat the Energy Crisis Through Innovative Product Development
While the industry as a whole is still focusing on providing artificial stimulation, an emerging market is proving that while the initial burst of pure energy is hard to beat, with chronic, safe supplementation, consumers can start their day better and maintain energy throughout the day. Eventually, this type of thinking can reduce the incessant need to overstimulate. Product development should be centered around providing ingredients that can improve recovery, enhance overall health, reduce stress and fatigue, and increase cellular energy by using complementary ingredients that attack the entire body and not just the central nervous system.
Looking for innovative approaches to formulating energy products or the legal considerations in the category? Join us for the Capitalizing on the Future of Energy Drinks, Shots and Supplements workshop on Wednesday, Oct. 6, at SupplySide West 2016.
David Sandler, MS, CSCS*D, HFD, HFI, FNSCA, FISSN, president and CEO of StrengthPro, has been a leader in the fitness industry for more than 25 years, acting as a product scientist, strength and conditioning coach, and sports and fitness consultant. He has published six books; dozens of videos; and more than 500 articles on nutrition and supplementation, power, strength and fitness training. Sandler has been the lead exercise and sports physiologist for more than 45 episodes of television for National Geographic, Discovery Channel, History Channel, Fox Sports and Spike TV. He is currently involved in the research and development (R&D) and business development worlds, creating new sports supplements, analyzing data and helping people transform their lives.