Is Honey and Salt a Good Pre-workout Hack?

People have used caffeine, creatine, and protein shakes to power up athletic performances for decades. But now fitness influencers and naturopathic doctors on TikTok have been doing something a little different lately to boost their workouts.

They’re gulping down a spoonful of honey sprinkled with sea salt right before lacing up their sneakers.

They say it’s an inexpensive, natural pre-workout hack that provides a quick hit of energy and helps your body hold on to hydration thanks to the electrolytes in salt. But does it actually work? And is it better or worse than store-bought energy drinks?

We asked registered dietitian Daisy Mercer if a spoonful of honey with a sprinkle of salt can really boost your workout.

Health benefits of honey

Honey contains anti-inflammatory compounds, including flavonoids and polyphenols, according to Mayo Clinic. It also has antioxidant properties that combat free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. So, with this sweetener, you’ll get some benefits you don’t find in sugar or sugar-sweetened energy drinks.

You’ll get energy-enhancing carbohydrates from any kind of honey, but Mercer says you may get some extra perks if you choose a local honey. “Local honey may help with allergies,” she says.

That’s because local honey is believed to contain pollen from plants in the surrounding area.

The theory is that by ingesting small amounts of these local pollens through honey, the body can build up a tolerance and reduce allergic reactions when exposed to them during allergy season. 

This tip is more anecdotal than science-baked, but there’s no harm in trying honey and finding out if it helps you. TikTok swears by it.

Does it work?

According to Mercer, this honey hack may add a little extra something to your workouts.

“Honey is made up of simple, easy-to-digest carbohydrates, so it provides a quick hit of energy that can be useful in exercise,” she says. “It allows you to feel better for longer while working out.” If you try it, you might find yourself running a little faster, lifting a few more reps, or having an easier time hiking uphill.

And it’s not just the carbohydrates. The salt plays a role, too. “It helps maintain electrolyte balance,” Mercer says.

Though this salt-honey combo has some potential benefits, Mercer says it’s not exactly an equal swap for a commercial pre-workout drink.

“Comparing honey with salt to a commercial pre-workout is an unfair and unreasonable comparison,” she says. “These products have ingredients like caffeine, beta-alanine, citrulline, and many other things that are shown to increase energy and performance. Honey will not give you as much energy as 200mg of caffeine.”

Do I really need it?

If you eat a balanced diet with enough carbohydrates, protein, and fat on a day-to-day basis, you don’t really need honey or any sort of pre-workout energy drink if your workout is an hour or less, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. For most people it makes sense to stick to water.

Besides, the science to date doesn’t show a clear payoff for this hack. Researchers have actually studied the impact of honey on exercise. A meta-analysis of nine studies published in the journal Nutrients reported that honey isn’t any more beneficial than other sources of carbohydrates.

It’s worth remembering that one tablespoon of honey has more than 17 grams of sugar. A pre-workout banana will give you more energizing carbohydrates for around the same amount of sugar.

Just don’t go to the gym hungry. “It is important to consume some sort of energy before a workout so you can feel great and provide your body with what it needs to get you through the exercise,” says Mercer.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Belli Health
Shopping cart