Would you be surprised when I say that as a fitness instructor, my go-to energy booster is Tongkat Ali? If so, then you’re not alone!
If you are a sports professional or an athlete, diet and supplements are key in maximizing your performance through increased strength, anaerobic performance and promoting muscle growth.
With the increasing demand for natural supplements, plant-based adaptogens such as Tongkat Ali are gaining popularity as a pre-workout or as a post-workout solution for bodybuilders, high performing sports professionals and competitive sports such as running or cycling.
Tongkat Ali is a scientifically proven performance ingredient used by athletes, sports professionals and fitness amateurs to give that extra performance edge.
Tongkat Ali benefits both men and women by increasing muscle growth, promoting lean mass, body fat loss, improving anaerobic performance, grip strength, upper body and isokinetic strength.
This article explains the reason why Tongkat Ali is the preferred pre-workout and post-workout solution, along with the proven performance that can be gained through years of research and clinical studies.
Here is our review of the performance benefits of Tongkat Ali from scientific research studies.
We will share more scientific-backed evidence from Tongkat Ali and how it can benefit you later in this article.
Performance Benefits from Tongkat Ali
Can athletes consume Tongkat Ali?
Yes, regardless you are a professional, amateur athlete or active sports adult, you can safely consume Tongkat Ali as a daily supplement. Tongkat Ali is ideal for bodybuilders, cyclists, MMA fighters, footballers, and those who are undergoing intense training sessions that demand extreme energy or muscle strength.
Tongkat Ali is widely used as a functional ingredient in food, consumed as supplements and used as performance ingredients in pre-workout drinks. You can use Tongkat Ali safely in international competition without worrying about doping tests. More about doping later in this article.
For athletes and competitive sports, Tongkat Ali can be consumed as a standalone supplement or with other supplements. In fact, Tongkat Ali is so popular with more than 200 Tongkat Ali brands sold on Amazon.
If you are too busy to make your own pre-workout drink, you can consume Tongkat Ali in capsule form with your favourite drink before you perform your workouts.
Various Applications of Tongkat Ali
Tongkat Ali is used or infused in coffees or teas. With the right dosage, you can consume daily with or without exercise. You can make Tongkat Ali coffee with 200mg of Tongkat Ali mixed with your favourite coffee.
Tongkat Ali is a key performance ingredient in pre-workout drinks or supplements with Macca and other ingredients. Do check the Tongkat Ali content before purchase.
Tongkat Ali is widely available as a dietary supplement due to its wide range of health benefits. Find out Tongkat Ali benefits for men and women that are scientifically proven from years of research.
Is Tongkat Ali good as a pre-workout or post-workout supplement?
Tongkat Ali is effective to be used as a pre-workout or as a post-workout supplement depending on your objectives.
Because Tongkat Ali is categorized by herbalists as an adaptogen and anabolic, many bodybuilders and those in competitive sports are using Tongkat Ali more as pre-workout rather than post-workout.
Pre and post–workout supplements have different benefits. While pre–workouts are an energy boost and help with endurance to make your workouts last longer, many post–workouts aid in muscular recovery and muscle building
As for pre-workout, Tongkat Ali is best used regularly an hour or 30 minutes before your workout to increase your testosterone levels and giving your body that extra boost of energy.
Why Tongkat Ali is good and popular workout supplement?
1. Higher testosterone count improves athletic performance by miles
According to an article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Tongkat Ali is made up of compounds referred to as quassinoids, which are typically found in medicinal plants with known therapeutic health benefits. Not only do these compounds contain aphrodisiac properties, but they are also able to increase testosterone levels.
This natural herb is thus recommended to active adults who want to boost not only their testosterone count but also their lean mass and overall athletic performance.
Again, enhanced performances are all about the magic of the testosterone.
A famous study published in the New England of Medicinal Journal revealed that supplemental testosterone directly correlates to increased muscle size and strength. The exercising group of people who were given testosterone supplements had grown more than 600mm in muscle size in their quadriceps, while the exercise-only group had loss over 100mm of mass. The first group were also found to improve their 1-RM bench press test by 9kg while performance by the second group remained the same. Evidently, enhanced testosterone count helps boost your athletic prowess.
In an interview with the New York Times, Penn State’s sociology and human development professor Alan Booth agreed:
He also added, “Lower testosterone may keep individuals, who lost and got seriously wounded, from engaging in another immediate battle where they might suffer even more damage.”
So getting your testosterone high is fundamental in maximizing your performance during your workouts, or achieving the performance edge. In measuring athlete performance, every marginal increase can make a significant impact.
2. It’s not just for active males
Tongkat Ali benefits both men and women, especially on sports or strength-oriented activities.
On this note, I must mention that there is no gender discrimination when it comes to restoring healthy testosterone levels in both men and women.
If you are sportswomen reading this, studies have shown that a healthy testosterone count in the female body gives female athletes a competitive advantage.
While the hormone is commonly associated with the male anatomy and masculinity, is also produced in female bodies for similar reasons, chief among which are sex drive, fertility, bone mass, distribution of fat, and muscle mass.
It is time to put your fear aside. Tongkat Ali can be beneficial to everyone.
3. Proven performance supplement by scientists
Another reason why Tongkat Ali is the best overall herbal supplement for competitive sports or fitness professionals is due to its scientific validation by numerous research and clinical human trials.
Tongkat Ali used as functional performance ingredients or additives in many sports nutrition and supplements, often mixed with other herbs such as Macca and other ingredients.
Does Tongkat Ali increase your performance in sports? We look at some of the research findings that benefit both men and women.
- In a study of 32 men published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 11g daily of Tongkat Ali supplements were given for 4 weeks and resulted in increased total strength based on squats, bench and deadlift exercise
- Similarly, in another 5 week study by Department of Medical Bioscience in the University of Western Cape, South Africa where 13 men and 12 women were given 400 mg each of Tongkat Ali daily revealed an increase of 16.6% of the muscular force hand-grip test in men and 13.7% in women. This study also confirms Tongkat Ali’s ergogenic benefit through improved muscle strength.
- Tongkat Ali had a great impact on the improved muscle strength of middle-aged women too. This effect was found in a study conducted by the University of MARA Technology Malaysia on 31 women between 45 to 59 years. It was revealed that in a duration of 12 weeks, 200mg of Tongkat Ali daily resulted in 67% improvement on the bench press, 21% improvement on upper body power and significant improvement in handgrip strength.
- In a similar 5-week study on 14 men published on the British Journal Sports of Medicine in 2003, showed an improvement in the strength and size of muscle. This is over and above significant improvement in athletic performance based on daily intake of Tongkat Ali
4. Ideal for bodybuilders and MMA fighters
Tongkat Ali is one of the proven herbal supplements to achieve higher anaerobic performance, muscle growth, reduction of body fat and, strength.
This makes Tongkat Ali an ideal supplement for bodybuilding – to gain more lean mass (i.e by promoting muscle growth). Do you know Tongkat Ali is not a banned substance in bodybuilding? Definitely, a popular alternative to steroids. More about this later.
And if you are into MMA or training hard, Tongkat Ali may boost your anaerobic performance during HIIT or for your next MMA fight.
Research findings published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed the use of Tongkat Ali extract resulted in a 5 % increase in lean body mass in the treatment group, while no significant changes were observed in the placebo group.
In reality, a 5% increase in lean body mass in 5 weeks is significant. The study further confirmed a mean increase of the arm-circumference by 1.8 cm, taken from the test subjects, whilst their body fat was greatly reduced when subject to Tongkat Ali consumption.
What is the Tongkat Ali dosage to achieve such improvement? Based on the same study, improvement in muscle mass can be achieved with 100 mg daily. However there are bodybuilders who consume Tongkat Ali at 1,000 mg per day.
This showed a superior advantage for bodybuilders and those wanting to build lean muscles from a natural supplement that is safe compared to steroids.
However, you can gain a similar advantage from Tongkat Ali if you are into MMA or sports that require a burst of energy.
An MMA fighter involves punches and kicks which are highly anaerobic. Similar to HIIT, intensity training or fights that last 2-3 minutes are usually fueled by the anaerobic system. There are basic anaerobic exercises aim to increase your power output such as weightlifting, jumping, sprinting, etc.
Herbal supplements like Tongkat Ali can increase your anaerobic power to achieve that breakthrough performance based on recent discoveries.
A new study published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2019 showed a significant increase in isokinetic strength and peak anaerobic power output on 40 test subjects consuming 200mg Tongkat Ali daily for 8 weeks. The test subjects were subjected to resistance training on alternate days for 8 weeks and test were performed using Wingate Anaerobic Power Test.
Whether you are a professional MMA fighter or not, the advantage of a higher anaerobic performance from Tongkat Ali enables you to:
- Perform at a higher intensity over a specific distance,
- Maintain a high intensity for a longer period of time, or
- Maintain either the same or a higher intensity over a further distance
5. The best herbal supplement for cycling and endurance-based sports
Are you an avid cyclist or long-distance runner? Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma Longifolia) is one of the best supplements for endurance-based sports such as cycling, or running – when consumed continuously over a prolonged period.
When the body is subjected to long continuous physical stress, hormones such as testosterone that fuels your body will start to decrease, resulting in muscle fatigue and other hosts of performance-related issues.
Tongkat Ali ensures the body in an anabolic state and improves aerobic and anaerobic performance. This was evident in the earlier research findings on anaerobic improvement.
But is Tongkat Ali the perfect supplement for cyclists?
A study by Dr. Shawn Tallbot showed improvement in cycling performance during a twenty-four-hour mountain bike relay with healthy subjects. The subjects were divided into a fifteen-member test group and a fifteen-member placebo group. The subjects in the test group received four doses of a 100 mg of a Tongkat Ali root extract taken 30 minutes before each of the four laps.
Endurance sports such as cycling demands constant energy supply and fast-muscle recovery. A study published on the British Journal of Sports Medicine on world-class cyclists showed measurable testosterone drop when exposed on a 3,500km distance during a course of three weeks.
This state shows a boost of testosterone is needed to sustain aerobic power on long-endurance races.
Morning serum levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinising hormone (LH), testosterone, and cortisol before the competition (t0) and at the end of the first (t1), second (t2), and third (t3) week. Source: British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Maintenance of normal cortisol/testosterone levels is able to prevent or reduce overtraining symptoms that are usually experienced by athletes. This helps the athlete to recover faster and more completely from daily training bouts.
6. Tongkat Ali is safe to be used in Olympics and international sports events.
There is a silent question amongst professional athletes – should I continue or stop taking Tongkat Ali supplements, or would I get disqualified because of doping by the sports committee?
Historically, there have been many ways for athletes to cheat their way in the Olympics. Doping practices to achieve increase sports performance are common from androgenic-anabolic steroids, usage of stimulants such as modafinil, cannabinoids, glucocorticoids and others.
A stringent test used by the sports committee is by checking the testosterone vs. epitestosterone ratio, known as the T/E ratio. The T/E ratio is taken from urine samples and most international sports committee has doping policies with T/E ratio between 4 to 6.
Whilst Tongkat Ali may boost your energy and muscle growth as a result of increased testosterone levels, it is safe to be used in the Olympics or in other tightly regulated sports events based on the current doping policies.
A study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine showed the effect of T:E ratio between 0.63:1 and 0.74:1, from both placebo group and a test group consuming 400mg daily of Tongkat Ali for six weeks.
The study concluded due to the low T/E ratio, Tongkat Ali was regarded as safe as long as the doping policy of the Olympics Committee remains the same.
Urinary Testosterone:Epitestosterone (T/E) ratio at baseline and after 6 weeks of supplementation with Tongkat Ali (i.e Eurycoma longifolia) on treated group and placebo grou. Source: International Journal of Preventive Medicine.
On this note, we strongly advise if you are competing for sports competition events, please kindly refer to the doping policies and consult your nutritionists and sports committee member before using Tongkat Ali.
Why I’m thankful I found Tongkat Ali
Coming back to my thoughts and there are reasons why I am personally thankful that I found Tongkat Ali.
Well, I’m not a professional athlete, but as a gym trainer, I have to put in just about equal effort into my fitness routine. With Tongkat Ali, I get to improve my fitness game.
I didn’t find the herb, it found me, through a client who loyally trains with me. In the first few weeks of coaching this client, I began noticing that he was able to perform all the aerobic and strength tasks we’ve lined up for him in a naturally happy and energetic demeanour.
As a trainer who is supposed to embody all that, I was curious. I needed to know the recipe to his wholesome endurance. So after a few observable sessions, I asked him about it. Imagine my surprise when he revealed his secret: a consistent consumption of medically-approved, all-natural and 100% safe Tongkat Ali supplements.
Needless to say, I was sold, and the rest is history.
After experimenting with some safe-to-consume Tongkat Ali capsules, I can now conclude that I prefer to take drink the herb. Yes, you can actually take it as as a beverage by adding its powdered form inside the capsules to your pre-workout cup of coffee or herbal drink.
After taking up the herb to supplement my exercise sessions, I have noticed a gradual yet no less obvious change in how I operate. I am much more energetic, less prone to stress, and definitely more focused during both my personal workouts or training sessions with my clients. Remarkably, I have also been steadily packing more lean muscles, particularly in my upper body, that being on synthetic steroids can never truly sustain.
So believe me when I say that…
Steroids are out, and Tongkat Ali is in
Why will I never choose anabolic steroids to enhance my performance? Well, it’s simple.
Anabolic steroids are bad, and the consequence is devastating. Comparatively, Tongkat Ali is an all-natural plant-based adaptogen and anabolic that provide similar functionality without long or short-term effect on your health.
But let me explain further, so you get the bigger picture.
Before I found out about Tongkat Ali and its benefits, I used to secretly take anabolic steroids from time to time to boost my muscle mass, motivation, and performance. They are different than corticosteroids, which help to reduce swelling and overactive immune responses.
If you don’t already know, anabolic steroids are medically used to treat hormonal issues that cause delayed puberty (notably in males) and muscle loss in diseases such as AIDS. With its muscle-building effects, you can guess why so many athletes and fitness enthusiasts would use them, often illegally, to the point of abuse.
What most athletes are not aware of is that anabolic steroid has a higher risk of death and other health complications based on a new study published in Journal of Internal Medicine in 2018. The study was based on 545 men who use anabolic steroids over 7 years.
But the truth is, steroids are a shortcut, which is using it for your athletic gains is considered cheating. If you’re a trained athlete, then you should know that the consequence of using them to win can get you disqualified from the sports event you’re participating in.
And it’s not the illegal status of steroids that is most troubling. Using the substance long-term can lead to health complications that are often irreversible if not checked and stopped on time. Unfavourable side effects in men include increased breast size, painful erections, and a decrease in testicle size. Women, meanwhile, would grow excessive body and facial hair, suffer irregular menstruation, and experience enlarged clitoris among other effects.
Even more scary is the fact that your reliance on steroids can even bring about life-threatening consequences, such as stroke, heart problems, liver disease, and cancer.
Tongkat Ali, meanwhile, has the capacity to deliver the results that you seek with steroids, but without all the dangerous risks. In fact, there are plenty of health benefits to be gained.
Last thoughts on boosting your athletic performance with Tongkat Ali
So you’re a newbie and thus unsure what herbal supplements are ideal for you.
Or, you simply want to boost your athletic performance in your daily workouts.
Regardless of your performance-oriented objectives, Tongkat Ali is a safe choice as a performance ingredient to boost your athletic performance in many ways.
Well, you can start out by adding Tongkat Ali to your pre-workout drinks, or consume 200mg of Tongkat Ali capsules daily.
As a trainer, I consume 400mg daily, one capsule in the morning and one after dinner. The result is wonderful and the things that I can achieve during training are beyond my expectations.
From my experience, the most convenient way of consuming Tongkat Ali is in the capsule form. But of course, you can make your own home-made Tongkat Ali coffee recipe that surely will boost your day; provided you can tolerate the bitter aftertaste of Tongkat Ali.
Whichever method of consuming Tongkat Ali, knowing that it will give that extra performance in your workout or in competitive sports, this Malaysian Ginseng is one of the most effective natural supplements you can buy today.
Plant-based adaptogens and anabolic such as Malaysian Ginseng (or the famous Siberian Ginseng that was used by the Russians), are increasingly popular in Europe, Japan, China and America.
Even if you are not active in sports, Tongkat Ali gained equally positive experience and reviews from busy urban professionals that demand constant energy.
Don’t forget to complement your Tongkat Ali intake with a steady practice of adequate sleep, meditation, and a balanced diet, and you will show up more invincible than ever for your active life.
Take Tongkat Ali as a post-workout supplement and gain faster post-fatigue recovery too.
The only way to experience Tongkat Ali is to try one today and you can feel the difference.
Naressa Khan contributes regularly on AKARALI. As a writer and journalist, Naressa is all about creating, deconstructing, and reassembling meanings through words. With this approach always in mind, she eagerly explores the nuances in life via the aspects of lifestyle, culture, travel, health, and wellness.