Sometimes getting up and meeting the physical challenges you’ve set for yourself doesn’t sound like much fun. Believe it or not, while many people believe combining caffeine with sweat is a no-no, doing so can actually be good for your body and your workout. In this article, let’s tackle how drinks like matcha can pump up the jam on your exercise and contribute to your overall health.
Caffeine and Your Workout
In the early 2000s, a rash of reporting on ephedrine and heart attacks led people to believe that combining any kind of stimulant with working out was a bad idea. And while it’s still a bad idea to knock back three Red Bulls and then hit the stationary bike like there’s no tomorrow, you can actually safely combine caffeine with working out. In fact, it can be great for you.
Studies show that caffeine can improve blood flow, reduce feelings of pain, help your muscles bounce back from workouts and significantly extend your ability to work out each time you hit the gym, track, field, mountain or whatever.
Unlike coffee or unhealthy, sugary energy drinks, though, matcha also comes loaded with plenty of nutrients. Polyphenols are natural substances that help keep your heart healthy and fight cancer. Catechins can help lower “bad” cholesterol and minimize body fat, helping make your workouts even more effective. And something about the synergy of green tea helps make the caffeine boost calm and focused rather than wired or unpleasant, as anecdotally reported by matcha drinkers for years, decades … centuries.
The best way to go about fueling your workout is to consume low doses of natural caffeine. Matcha contains about 70 mg of caffeine per cup, which is higher than green tea but still doesn’t tend to give you the jitters the way coffee or energy drinks do. Where possible, stay away from other types of caffeine within a few hours of your workout, as consuming it several hours before you intend to exercise can actually lead to a caffeine crash that diminishes the effects.
Instead, drink a cup of just-whisked matcha about a half hour before you intend to work out. That way, you’ll avoid the diuretic effects of caffeine, which could draw liquid from your body when you need it for exercise, and will hit your peak energy boost just as you’re getting into it.
Don’t forget about other types of fuel as well. Caffeine on its own isn’t enough to keep you powered up throughout an entire run, weight set or hike. Instead, rely on healthy, protein-rich snacks to keep you going. Nuts, cheese, lean meat and dried fruit all make great pre-workout snacks. Afterwards, make sure you eat something that contains carbohydrates (such as whole grain rice), veggies, more protein and some fat to slow digestion and help your body absorb all the nutrients.
While coffee may not be your best friend when it comes to getting a great sweat on, it turns out matcha really can be. Its assortment of health-boosting properties combined with its calm, Zen-like “high” help you to feel your best when you’re working your hardest. Plus, developing a matcha ritual before exercise can help cue your body that it’s time to work hard, and therefore make getting going even easier!