Matcha Tea: An All-Natural Healthy Pre-Workout
Online fitness forums and gym junkies are abuzz over pre-workout supplements. The idea of maximizing your energy and supercharging a workout can be tempting. After all, we strap our shoes on and hit the gym because we want to improve our fitness and physique. With so many products on the market and sampled at the gym, it’s pretty easy to get our hands on these formulations. But, for those of us who strive to eat clean, these “proprietary blends” contain a laundry list of ingredients that don’t sound appealing. According to the FDA’s website, they are not authorized to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed. It’s pretty disconcerting to consume a product that isn’t reviewed by the FDA. Luckily, there’s no need for chemical supplementation! Nature has an option that can get us to the next level and give us the boost we need to power through our tough workouts. For an organic pre-workout that will keep you energized and healthy, try matcha green tea!
Why drink a pre-workout? The short answer is energy.
Most commercial pre-workouts add guarana, caffeine, methylxanthine, and other stimulants into the mix to “boost performance.” You know it’s working when you feel it “kick in.” Pre-workouts are meant to be performance enhancers. For those of us looking to get to the next level, this can sound like a good idea. But, the effects of these beverages are mostly a result of concentrated stimulant content. Some can contain upwards of 300 mg of caffeine per serving, compared to 95 mg in a standard cup of coffee. Though high energy can boost performance, the “kicking in” is actually an agitation of the nervous system. The combination of vasodilators and stimulants can be taxing on the cardiovascular system. When we’re trying to strengthen our bodies and enhance our health and endurance, the last thing we want is to compromise our cardiovascular health.
Why drink matcha as a pre-workout?
One teaspoon contains 68 mg of caffeine, which is the equivalent amount of a single shot of espresso. Despite its caffeine content, tingling and jittering are not side effects of matcha. L-theanine, an amino acid naturally present in the loose tea leaf, increases alpha brain wave activity. The result is a mindfully energized state instead of stimulant-induced hyperactivity. This mindset is great for focus, and can be beneficial for cardio and strength training (and mindfulness can prevent injury!) The combination of caffeine and l-theanine creates a balanced mental state, so you can lift, run, and stretch with care and attention to detail.
What’s in a pre-workout?
Pre-workouts tend to have a massive ingredient list. It can be daunting to research the pros and cons of all of the different amino acids, minerals, and additives. Many of these products contain highly processed and/or artificial sweeteners like fructose, sucralose, and stevia. The safety and toxicity of consuming chemical sweetener is a hot debate topic. Their active ingredients are usually shrouded in mystery as well. By calling it a “proprietary blend,” these companies can be vague about the ingredients and quantities in the formulation. Although they contain some beneficial amino acids, the other ingredients may not be so benign.
“Thermogenics” supposedly increase calorie burn. There are no magic pills and cures for increasing the rate at which the body metabolizes food. By making healthy food and drink choices, being an informed consumer, and being diligent with an exercise regimen, we can obtain the health and fitness levels we desire without consuming mysterious products.
How do I utilize matcha to maximize my workout?
Whether your goal is to lose weight, increase muscle mass, or increase VO2 max, incorporating an all-natural and organic supplement like pure matcha powder can help you achieve your fitness goals. Matcha is a concentration of green tea, and all the benefits that are associated with green tea are concentrated within it. Polyphenols present in the leaves are known to be beneficial for cardiovascular health and blood pressure reduction. A specific catechin called EGCG has gotten a lot of attention for its ability to boost the metabolism and aid in weight loss and maintenance. The combination of caffeine and l-theanine amino acid creates a unique mental state that is both stimulated and calm. This sustained energy and awareness is highly beneficial for paying attention to the workout and the body’s minute signals. With focus, the results of a workout are more refined.
When purchasing matcha powder, ensure that the only ingredient is green tea. Some products will have added sugar and powdered milk, which reduces the vitamin and mineral content while increasing unnecessary calories.
How do I use matcha powder?
Matcha is very easy to use! Since it is a powdered tea, it doesn’t require infusers or any specific apparatus for preparation. It can be prepared in a shaker bottle, alone or mixed with a protein shake. It’s delicious as a latte with frothed milk or a non-dairy alternative. It can be added to a smoothie, and blended or mixed in any way that is convenient.
Treat your body kindly!
If you’re putting in the work to improve your body’s functionality, what you eat is just as important as exercise. These vessels are highly elaborate and intelligent, and everything within us is interconnected. Ingesting stimulating chemicals before a workout may supply energy, but those altered states can reduce awareness and prevent you from noticing small clues and signals from the body. By working with the body, you can maintain health and wellness for a lifetime. With the help of natural health boosters like pure matcha powder, you can charge up your workout without synthetic chemicals and formulas. You only get one body, so feed it and treat it right!