Tea may very well be the world’s first pre-workout drink. For thousands of years, monks have consumed tea for the “mindful alertness” that helps them stay awake and calm during long hours of meditation, and hunter-gatherer tribes throughout the Amazon have used teas to support energy, focus, and mental clarity while on the hunt.
Athletically speaking, it is these powerful mental and physical benefits that make tea well suited to enhance our daily physical exertions, whether it be our loving WOD, a track workout, or other exercise. Specifically, tea consumption has been shown to improve cognitive performance, increase the ability to use fat for fuel, helps boost cardiovascular health, and strengthens the immune system.
More so, it does this all without the jitters or crash you get from coffee or energy drinks. Tea has an ace in the hole when it comes to performance, in the form of L-Theanine, an amino acid found almost exclusively in tea, that works synergistically with caffeine so you get a steady and gradual energy, rather than that off-the-wall buzz from caffeine alone.
So, if you if you find yourself looking for a pre-workout drink, don’t skip a (heart)beat and grab some all-natural caffeinated tea to boost your exercise, and your health.
Here are the Top 7 reasons why you should consider adding tea to your workout repertoire:
1) Energy up: Tea contains caffeine which confers an energy boost and increases mental alertness, making it a welcomed companion to jumpstart your workout. Different teas contain varying amounts of caffeine, typically black tea has around 14-70 mg while green tea has between 24-45 mg. Consume a cup 30-45 minutes pre-workout so it kicks in during the session.
2) Fight or flight: Caffeine activates the adrenal gland which in response releases adrenaline that leads to a cascade of effects, including: Increased blood flow to your muscles, opening of your breathing tubes, and raised heart rate. These are all good things if you’re about to fight a large animal, or need to run like hell. In the modern-day, this also helps get you primed for a lifting heavy objects.
3) Boost your immune system: Tea is full of antioxidants, such as flavonoids, catechins, theaflavins, thearubigins, and Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), and these little gems help reduce the damage to cells in the body at the molecular level. They also offer cardiovascular, chemopreventive, metabolic, neuroprotective and other health benefits. Studies have shown that 1-6 cups of green tea per day can increase the antioxidant capacity of the bloodstream, which can reduce the damage to cell lipids and DNA.
Furthermore, tea flavonoids are the major contributor of flavonoids in the American diet, so it’s probably time to incorporate tea time into your daily routine.
4) Cardiovascular protection: Over the long haul, tea may be help reduce blood pressure and keep your heart healthy. One study observed tea consumption in the Chinese population, and showed that drinking 120 mL/day of green or oolong tea, or more, for 1 year significantly reduces the risk of developing hypertension.
5) Metabolic boost: Catechin-rich tea has been shown to increase resting metabolic rate, with one study finding that it increased thermogenesis (energy expenditure) by 4.6%, or about an extra 102 calories over a 24-hour period.
6) Tap the fat: Tea may be particularly helpful for fat burning during exercise. One study showed that twelve healthy men who performed two sessions of 30 minutes of cycling (one for baseline, and then again 24 hours after green tea extract supplementation), increased their fat burning rates by an average of 17%, over their placebo taking counterparts. Couple this with the low-carb Paleo diet and you’re primed to be a fat-burning machine.
7) Mental acuity: The key differentiator of tea, L-Theanine, works with caffeine to improve sustained concentration, enhance focus, and increase reaction time — boosting your mind and body whether in the gym, box, or on the field.
Given the convincing volume of research espousing tea’s positive benefits, such as a high-antioxidant content, fat-burning capabilities, and brain-boosting powers, it’s no wonder that tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water.
Are you a tea drinker? What types of tea do you enjoy Have you used tea as a pre-workout?
This guest post comes to us from CogniTea, the first performance tea crafted to optimize the cognitive-enhancing properties of tea. It has up to 10x the amount of L-Theanine as found in green tea and 90mg of natural caffeine to provide increased focus, alertness, and mental clarity.
Check out CogniTea’s “productive energy” tea and for a limited time, receive a special “I CAN. I WIll” sticker with your next purchase.
Use the code, “MooseBoost,” in the Order Notes section of checkout to receive one.
Grab some of their tea at www.cognitea.com.
Aaron Gerry is a guest contributor and Chief Tea-Slinger at CogniTea, the “productive energy” tea for athletes and entrepreneurs. Aaron is an avid runner, aiming to run his first 50-miler in 2015, enjoys optimizing routine, and relishes a good book.