Rhodiala Rosea is an extract from a plant found in the Arctic and in many mountainous areas of the world. It’s been used for hundreds of years for dealing with stress and cold and is also prevalent in Chinese medicine. If you’re interested in more backstory and the chemical qualities of Rhodiala Rosea, please see the wiki page. I’ll focus instead on my personal experience and how it affected my training. The NUTRALITE supplement is all natural and doesn’t contain any ingredient on the WADA banned substances list, which is good if you’re concerned about drug testing during competition.
The Amway site on the product lists three main bullet points, which I’d like to address individually:
- Maximize mental focus and physical endurance
- Improve exercise performance
- Shorten your recovery time after exercise
Mental focus and physical endurance
I’ve used the supplement in one competition (Swamp Monster 2.0) and six CrossFit workouts. I haven’t noticed any benefit on the endurance side in the sense that I can output the same or more work over a longer period of time at a high intensity. One of my strengths as an athlete, however, is endurance, so it’s hard for me to tell if something is giving me a boost or if I’m just having a good day. Even on my bad days I have a lot of endurance.
I think of it another way: if I’m doing an intense workout, where my heartrate is 170+, I can’t stay in that zone for any longer than normal with the supplement.
What I have noticed is that I get jazzed up noticeably by taking just one pill and that jazzed feeling lasts for hours. Even after that feeling dissipates, I feel normal and energetic, but not crazy jacked up, if that makes sense. So I suppose if I worked out at a lower level, such as an easy long run, this would be highly effective.
One negative is I had major trouble sleeping, so naps were out of the question and it was hard for me to sleep at night if I took the supplement mid-afternoon or later. Since I was awake longer, I had a tendency to want to stay active and work out again. It should be noted that one pill contains 75 mg of caffeine (approx. one cup) and I have the same issue with caffeine.
This will affect everyone differently, but keep in mind that if you can’t sleep due to the supplement, any gains you’re making in the gym could be negated because you aren’t sleeping! Just be smart with it.
On the mental focus side, I noticed a drastic impact. As I said above I get jazzed up by taking one pill…jazzed up is actually an understatement. I ain’t gonna lie: I felt high as a kite. It’s sort of like a badass caffeine buzz but much smoother and lasts longer and with no jitters. I get really chatty and can make mental connections faster, so I feel clever. I’m also able to “push away” distracting thoughts and focus on the task at hand at a high level. There’s another (illegal) drug that it reminds me of and the Rhodiala feels like a 30% version of that drug. It’s a pretty awesome, actually, because supposedly the Rhodiala has no negative side affects and of course it’s legal and affordable.
Back to the training affects. One other positive is that the stuff helps in training that requires mental acuity, such as a team WOD. I distinctly recall doing a 4-person-team workout, which requires a fair amount of coordination, and the supplement was great for managing that.
One other way I use the Rhodiala is before I’m going out on the town I’ll take one as a pick-me-up. I tend to drag ass on Saturday nights after being active all day, so anything that can perk me up is a big plus. The Rhodiala worked great for this purpose, because I got really social, clever, and energetic. I recall going to dinner with two buddies and we all hit up the Rhodiala right before. The dinner conversation was a MAJOR blast and we yukked it up for an hour…that was right before hitting the clubs for an all-night dance-a-thon 🙂
I also noticed that combining it with a few cocktails enhances the buzz and really gets you flying. I’m just saying. Again, be smart with how you’re mixing your drugs.
Improve exercise performance
I didn’t notice anything during the WOD, as I said above, and I believe that’s due to the intensity level of CrossFit workouts. For people who exercise at a low level (think jogging), this may provide enough of a boost to actually increase performance, but I think the high heartrate and neural impact of CrossFit trumps the rhodiala buzz. I have seen other reviews on the ‘net that says the supplement is most appropriate for endurance athletes and that makes sense.
Reduce Recovery Time
I didn’t notice any enhanced recovery, but I’m pretty much Wolverine when it comes to recovery as it is. I’d have to experiment with this more to see if it’s legit.
I weigh 155 lbs, so any supplement will impact me more than a larger athlete. My roommate took one and he reported absolutely no effects. He weighs 205.
I’ve tried other workout supplements, such as Jack3d, Animal Rage, and NO-Xplode, and those are *way* too intense for me. I feel like a speed freak and it’s impossible to sleep (or sit still) even after blowing it out at the gym. The Rhodiala has about the right intensity for me. I also like that the NUTRILITE product is completely natural and doesn’t contain any weird synthetic chemicals.
The bottom line is the Rhodiala has a couple of nice uses (training and general pick-me-up), no side affects, and less intense than other workout supplements on the market. I do recommend it.
UPDATE: On Saturday, me and two other Firebasers did a 6 mile run prior to the 0900 WOD. After the run, we were a little tired and thus gobbled a rhodiala each before going in. We felt great during the WOD, which was another epic military-style evolution (took 37′ to complete). Afterwards, all three of us reported feeling “awesome” and that we could go for a third workout. My buddy Iassen was all geeked up and doing pullups and ran with the 1030 group. We’ve officially upgraded the rhodiala from thumb’s up status to “this stuff is the shit.”
Looking for more information? Try this excellent video review by sports nutritionist Laurent Bannock.