The science of scent association can be used strategically to help us create sustainable habits that stick and as a result help us achieve the New Year resolutions we created. The way we tie our running shoes, the workout clothes we wear and the scent we have on at the gym are all more important than you might think. The brain loves consistency, it loves consistency because it means that it doesn’t need to work as hard. When the brain gets to know the rituals of a new action such as going to the gym, making healthy breakfast choices or choosing it can go on ‘autopilot’ and doesn’t need to figure out new actions.

So how is the scent related to the gym? Read on to find out how the science of scent can help you keep your new year fitness resolutions.

By having a scent you always associate with working out, you can much more easily ‘get in the mindset,' kind of like the smell of coffee tells your brain and body it’s time to start the day. It's a signal to the brain that a process is beginning when we create constancy in the scent we use with a certain activity or new habit.

Can just any scent work? Technically any scent could help establish a routine but there are specific botanical essential oils that can help you pre and post workout that are essentials. Here are my favorites:

  1. Black Pepper: One of the oldest spices in the world, black pepper has been used for centuries in India as a currency as well as in tribes around the world as a stimulant for warriors. Black pepper helps stimulate circulation and warms up muscles before a workout. That same effect is also useful as it helps with circulation after working out which is necessary for moving blood to help muscles repair.
  1. Peppermint: A cooling oil used in cooking, to make tea, and as a natural cleaning product, peppermint is an ultra-fresh herb that is an essential in our office to help clean the air and create a fresh space to work in. Pre and post workouts, Peppermint helps with digestion and the scent of peppermint reduces nausea.  
  1.  Lime: Another favorite essential oil at our office, lime helps to promote wakefulness as well as acts as a natural anti-microbial. All Vitruvi lime oil is harvested from the USA and is the highest grade in purity, ensuring that the oils last and that they are incredibly potent.
  1. Grapefruit: A fresh and completely natural anti-microbial, grapefruit extract is a very powerful essential oil derived from the skin of grapefruit and bottled to get that fresh grapefruit scent. Grapefruit extract is incredibly good at helping to move lymph and thus reduce water retention when massaged away from the heart on the legs, arms, and torso.  

When we were first creating Vitruvi I was an avid runner and would often have very tight muscles.  As a way of creating a natural hot/cold lotion, I added essential oils in a blend of carrier oils that had similar and very strong warming and cooling oils.  I also suffered from water retention so I added lime and grapefruit, with a final touch of French bergamot to bring all the aromas together into a deep yet very fresh and invigorating oil.  The blend resulted in MOVE one of the most popular Vitruvi blends that is now available as a pre/post workout recovery oil as well as a small roll-on for fresh pick me ups throughout the day and in a mist perfect for misting over the face and body after a workout or while running between meetings.

Let us know what your workout rituals are and how you use scent to solidify and weave the rituals of your days together in the comments below!




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