Best Mushrooms for the Gym: Fungi that Might Boost Performance

Best Mushrooms for the Gym: Fungi that Might Boost Performance

If you're looking for an extra edge in the gym, a performance boost that goes beyond your usual protein shake and pre-workout formula, the answer might lie somewhere unexpected – the world of mushrooms. Not your standard button mushrooms though. We're talking about functional mushrooms.

These potent fungi boast a range of potential benefits. From helping your body handle the stress of tough workouts to even boosting your energy levels, they seem to offer something special. Think of them as nature's secret weapon for anyone who takes their fitness seriously.

Now, the science behind these mushrooms is still evolving. We won't promise you miracle gains or instant transformation. But the early research is promising, and many athletes are already convinced, swearing by mushrooms as a valuable addition to their training toolkit. In this guide, we'll look into what the science says and how they might help you unlock a whole new level of performance.

Understanding Adaptogens and Athletic Performance

The idea behind those potential benefits of mushrooms often revolves around the concept of adaptogens. Now, that might sound like some fancy scientific jargon, but it's actually quite simple. Adaptogens are natural substances (often from plants or, in this case, mushrooms) believed to help our bodies better handle stress.

Think about it: every intense workout is a form of stress on your body. You push your muscles, you tax your energy systems, and you raise your mental focus to the limit. While that stress is what leads to gains, how well you recover and adapt to it determines how much progress you make.

This is where adaptogens come in. The theory is that they can help your body cope with both physical and mental stress, potentially making you more resilient during tough training sessions. Better adaptation could translate into faster recovery, greater stamina, and the ability to consistently push yourself further. It's the key to unlocking those next-level gains.

Key Points

  • Adaptogens are substances that may help the body better manage stress.
  • Workouts are a form of beneficial stress, but optimal adaptation is crucial for progress.
  • Adaptogens could potentially enhance the stress response, leading to better recovery and improved training capacity.

The Powerhouse Mushrooms for Fitness

Now, let's dive into the specific mushrooms that seem to hold the most promise for athletes. We'll cover their potential benefits, what the research suggests, and why they might be worth adding to your fitness routine.


This intriguing mushroom has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. For athletes, it's all about energy, endurance, and oxygen use.

  • Potential for increased energy and endurance: Some research suggests Cordyceps could enhance energy production in your cells, potentially giving you a longer-lasting fuel source during tough workouts.
  • Improved oxygen utilisation: There's evidence Cordyceps may help your body use oxygen more efficiently, which could be particularly beneficial for endurance athletes or those training at high altitudes.
  • Possible benefits for high-altitude training: This improved oxygen handling makes Cordyceps especially interesting for individuals training in low-oxygen environments.


Known as the "mushroom of immortality" in some cultures, Reishi is prized for its calming and restorative properties. Those qualities make it uniquely valuable for athletes:

  • Stress reduction and potential sleep benefits: With better sleep, you get better recovery, and that's essential for performance gains. Reishi might help by easing workout-induced stress and promoting relaxation.
  • Immune-supporting properties: Hard training can temporarily tax the immune system. Reishi's potential to support immunity could be crucial for staying healthy and consistent in your workouts.

Lion's Mane

The unique-looking Lion's Mane mushroom boasts benefits for the mind as much as the body:

  • Cognitive focus and mental clarity during workouts: Ever had those workouts where your focus is razor-sharp and the weights feel lighter? Lion's Mane might help increase that mental edge.
  • Possible endurance-boosting effects: While research is ongoing, there's some evidence that Lion's Mane could help reduce fatigue and improve workout endurance.
  • Long-term neuroprotective aspects: Beyond immediate performance, Lion's Mane also has potential benefits for the brain in the long run, a key consideration for any athlete wanting to train hard for years to come.


The antioxidant powerhouse Chaga might be just what your muscles need to fight back against workout-induced stress:

  • Antioxidant and anti-inflammation potential: Intense workouts can generate inflammation in the body. Chaga's high antioxidant content may help to combat this, potentially reducing muscle soreness and speeding recovery.
  • May help with exercise-induced muscle fatigue: Some studies suggest Chaga might play a role in delaying fatigue, potentially allowing you to eke out a few extra reps or push a little harder at the end of your workout.

Turkey Tail

This mushroom's bright colours aren't its only standout feature. It holds promise for athletes looking to optimise their overall health and, as a result, their training:

  • Immune system support: A strong immune system is the backbone of consistent training. Turkey Tail is loaded with compounds that may help bolster your body's natural defences, keeping you healthy and in the gym.
  • Possible role in gut health optimization: Emerging research suggests Turkey Tail could have a positive impact on gut bacteria. Since a healthy gut is crucial for proper nutrient absorption, this indirectly benefits athletic performance.
  • Discuss emerging research and potential for athletic advantage: The science on Turkey Tail is still developing, but its focus on immune function and gut health holds exciting potential for serious athletes.

Key Points

  • Cordyceps may boost energy, endurance, and aid those training at high altitudes.
  • Reishi has relaxation properties which are key for optimal recovery and consistent training.
  • Lion's Mane could enhance mental focus, potentially improve workout performance, and offer long-term benefits for brain health.
  • Chaga's strong antioxidant profile may aid in faster recovery and combat muscle fatigue.
  • Turkey Tail is often prized for its potential immune-strengthening properties, crucial for avoiding missed workouts.
Discover the benefits of specific mushrooms – learn more about our Thrive blend and Cognition capsules.

How to Use Mushrooms for Your Workouts

Now that you know the potential benefits, let's dive into the practical side of using mushrooms to enhance your workouts. Here's where you can start:


  • Powders: The most versatile option. Add them to smoothies, protein shakes, coffee, or even mix into yoghurt or oatmeal.
  • Capsules: Great for convenience and precise dosing. Easy to take on-the-go or when travelling.
  • Extracts & Tinctures: These offer a more concentrated dose and can be taken in water or added to other beverages.
  • Mushroom-Infused Products: Some pre-workout supplements, energy drinks, and even coffee blends now contain mushroom extracts for an added performance boost.


Unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all dosage, and research specifically on athletes is limited. Here's how to approach it:

  • Start Low: Begin with the lower end of the recommended dosage on the product label and increase gradually as needed.
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how you feel. Do you notice increased energy, improved recovery, or any digestive upset? Adjust accordingly.
  • Consult Resources: Some supplement brands offer extensive guidance on dosing and usage specific to their products.


The best time to take mushrooms depends on the desired effects:

Mushroom Type

Ideal Timing


Cordyceps, Lion's Mane

Pre-workout (30-60 minutes before)

May boost energy, focus, and endurance during the session

Reishi, Chaga

Post-workout or before bed

Promotes relaxation, supports recovery, and could improve sleep

Turkey Tail, others

Daily, with or without food

Potential for long-term immune support and overall wellbeing


Combining different mushrooms is a growing trend, but be sure to check for proper dosages. While there's potential for synergy, many supplements bulk out their products with the cheapest blends or are grossly underdosed.. If you experiment:

  • Start with a good supplier you can trust: Focus on quality and dosages.
  • Monitor closely: Notice any changes in how you feel both during and outside of workouts.

Key Points

  • Choose the form of mushroom supplement that best fits your lifestyle and preferences.
  • Begin with a low dosage and gradually increase it, carefully monitoring your body's response.
  • Time your mushroom intake strategically based on the specific benefits you're seeking.
  • Experiment with stacking cautiously, always paying attention to any individual effects.

Considerations and Cautions

Mushrooms offer undeniable potential, but it's important to approach them thoughtfully to maximise benefits and minimise any downsides. Keep these factors in mind:

  • Mushrooms are not a substitute for healthy fundamentals: Don't expect miracles. A well-rounded diet, proper sleep, and consistent training are still the cornerstones of athletic performance. Mushrooms are best thought of as a potential tool to optimise those efforts.
  • More research is needed: While early findings are exciting, science is always evolving. Stay updated on new research to best understand the long-term effects of mushroom supplementation.
  • Potential interactions: If you take any medications, always consult your doctor before starting new supplements, including ones derived from mushrooms.
  • Importance of sourcing: Not all mushroom products are created equal. Look for these quality indicators:
    • Reputable brands: Do your research, find companies with a track record.
    • Purity & Transparency: Opt for products that clearly list ingredients and avoid unnecessary additives.
    • Sustainability: Supporting ethical growing practices ensures both product quality and environmental responsibility.

Introducing Mushroom Works

At Mushroom Works, we're passionate about harnessing the power of mushrooms for optimal health and performance. Our products are formulated with your well-being in mind:


Our comprehensive blend features six functional mushrooms, meticulously chosen for their potential benefits for athletes. Each capsule delivers a potent dose to support energy, recovery, and overall resilience.


This powerful Lion's Mane supplement goes beyond basic extracts, providing a concentrated dose of the active compounds that support focus and long-term brain health.

Beyond the Gym: Mushrooms for Long-term Athlete Health

While optimising gym sessions is crucial, dedicated athletes know that true success is a years-long journey. Mushrooms might offer benefits that extend far beyond your next workout:

  • Managing chronic stress: Hard training puts a load on your body. Mushrooms with adaptogenic properties could help mitigate the long-term effects of that stress, promoting better overall health.
  • Reducing inflammation: Chronic inflammation can hinder athletic longevity. The antioxidant potential of mushrooms like Chaga may help combat this, potentially keeping you healthier and training harder for longer.
  • Cognitive health: The wear and tear on the body also impacts the brain. Mushrooms like Lion's Mane with neuroprotective qualities could play a part in maintaining mental sharpness as you age.

Ready to See if Mushrooms Can Help Your Workout?

We hope this guide has shed light on the fascinating world of functional mushrooms and their exciting potential for athletes. Remember, they're not a magic solution but a promising tool to explore alongside a commitment to smart training, good nutrition, and recovery.

If you're ready to see if mushrooms can unlock a new level of performance for you, look for reputable brands that prioritise quality and transparency. And if you're interested in trying carefully curated mushroom supplements based on the latest research, be sure to check out Mushroom Works!

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