Let’s get into the subject of drinking tea before a workout.
I’ve long been a tea drinker, in more recent years exploring far more types of teas. I also drink tea before most workouts, and I’ve written a number of articles on drinking a variety of teas before and after a workout. so I understand the impact that tea can have on your exercise regime.
You may have previously heard that drinking caffeinated drinks are beneficial before a workout.
Tea is one of the best and natural alternative pre-workout drinks for you. It not only helps during exercise but also helps beyond your workout to muscle recovery
Besides this, it also offers numerous other health benefits. Here’s the quick summary answer to start us off.
The results of drinking tea before a workout include extending the duration of your exercise routine and increased levels of hydration, through to improved fat-burning potential and faster muscle recovery post-workout. Tea before a workout can be a natural way to improve overall exercise results.
The benefits of drinking tea before a workout
Drinking tea before a workout can help obtain faster results by boosting muscular contractions.
The amount of fat burned is also increased, and it provides added exercise power and duration.
Tea before and after your workout can improve recovery from fatigue and increase the duration before fatigue sets in while training …so effectively, you can exercise for longer.
Drinking tea helps in gym sessions but is also offers other benefits, and helps in preventing a range of severe diseases.
Summary of the benefits of drinking tea before a workout…
- Increases fat burning levels
- Prolongs workout duration
- Increases hydration
- Improves post-workout recovery
Tea is in fact a natural alternative to many popular drinks already consumed across gyms throughout the world.
Many gym enthusiasts routinely drink water, which is great. But also many drink low-sugar soda drinks, and some take high energy booster beverages that increase caffeine levels. And this is no surprise, as caffeine does boost energy levels that can prove beneficial during a workout.
Let’s take a look at the benefits in a little more detail.
Increased fat-burning potential
Tea is well known for its high levels of antioxidants called catechins. One study reported that “…tea catechins might contribute to an increase in body fat utilization for energy expenditure”.
In short, this appears to indicate that the body makes more fat reserves available for burning during energy use.
While the report did indicate this needed to be investigated further, the study concluded that “… a combination of regular exercise and tea catechins intake can be expected to reduce body fat efficiently”.
The report also seems to indicate that fat burning is increased at rest as well as when exercising, which is a great reason to drink tea regularly – and not just as a pre-workout drink.
Prolong the duration of the workout
We all have a limit to the amount of exercise we can carry out before feeling fatigued and exhausted. And perhaps this is enough to consider it a profitable workout session for most people.
But some may want to increase the time spent training before any fatigue occurs. That’s where tea can help. If only to offer some marginal gains.
Caffeine levels in tea before a workout can help boost your workout energy levels. When we combine the increased energy and duration level, with the increase in fat that is burned due to the catechins in tea, this can provide noticeable productivity differences from your workout.
This was backed up by studies. According to sciencedaily, one study tested the effect of regular consumption of green tea extract over a 10 week period. They found that endurance exercise performance was boosted up to 24% using green tea extract.
Many gym-goers already know the importance of maintaining their hydration levels. And for this reason, water has long been the go-to natural beverage to accomplish this.
And this of course should continue to be the case. Tea should not be seen to replace water intake during a workout. After all, we’re discussing tea before a workout …not sipping tea in between each fitness machine.
But, as the tissue that makes up our muscles contains over 75% water, it’s important to give it every element of help it needs to keep the levels high. Not replacing lost fluids during a workout is detrimental to the overall goal as it can seriously affect output.
Tea was historically thought to be a diuretic. But this has long since been debunked, primarily as most of the ingredient in tea is in fact water.
So drinking tea before a workout will not only boost your workout levels but will also contribute to cell hydration alongside your water intake.
Tea before a workout Improves post-workout recovery
Prevention is better than cure. And in the case of a workout, taking something that might alleviate the aches and pains afterward surely has to be a welcome bonus for most of us.
Muscle damage and rebuilding are inevitably part of improving overall muscle strength and integrity. The high levels of catechins in tea – particularly green tea – can help in reducing the damage to muscles during exercise.
Tea helps to reduce the inflammation effects of a workout, thereby limiting the aches and pains that you feel afterward.
It’s fair to say, that “no pain no gain” may still hold true. You probably want to feel that the workout has had at least some effect. But tea can make this a little less sore for the duration of muscle repair.
For greater wellness, you might also want to check out these…
Having gone through the major benefits of drinking tea before a workout, let’s now move on to some teas you may want to try and that have been shown to help with exercise.
Tea before a workout: 6 excellent teas to try
Individuals have different needs for drinking tea. Getting to know which tea is right for you can be something of trial and error. So it helps to have some options to start testing.
Drink teas that offer high and enduring energy for activities like Zumba, weight lifting, power yoga, Pilates, aerobics, or kickboxing. We recommend drinking green tea, black tea, or oolong tea. Or others such as ginger tea, milk tea, and matcha before doing any high-energy workouts.
Let’s go through some excellent tried and tested options here, in no particular order…
1. Black tea before a workout
Black is a zero-calorie and high-water level drink that facilitates optimum performance.
I’ve written extensively about caffeine content in tea. And in terms of caffeine levels, black tea is one of the highest caffeine contain teas available.
In moderation, caffeine provides numerous benefits for a workout as well as for a healthy body.
Benefits of black tea for a workout
Black tea enhances mental clarity and boosts your mood while exercising. And all this without causing jitters, like coffee and other high caffeine supplements might. It has a soft caffeine effect, so you won’t get the caffeine crash that coffee gives you.
Black tea also contains catechin and flavonoids, which are suitable for heart health.
Polyphenols protect muscle from damage. Plus, as I mentioned, it keeps you hydrated while exercising in a closed workout session, it improves your results with an added performance boost.
It is said that a cup of tea in the morning increases mental alertness. Here are the best teas to drink in the morning.
Like green tea, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend drinking black tea on an empty stomach or first thing in the morning. It could lead to stomach aches and nausea.
It is better to drink it after meals, and a certain period before exercise. Here’s how many cups of each tea to drink per day.
2. Green tea before a workout
Green tea is one of the best low-calorie pre-workout drinks. It’s a gentle and continuous supply of energy leading up to and during a workout.
A cup of green tea is not only excellent for exercise but also offers multiple other health benefits.
Influence of green tea on workout
Drinking a cup of tea before exercising can do wonders for those who want to lose weight. It’s an ideal beverage to get rid of undesirable belly fat. Here are my insights on drinking green tea to combat bloating.
The best time to drink green tea is 30–90 minutes before workout or in the morning, and you can also drink it post-workout. For a more accurate idea on when to drink green tea see my article on when to drink green tea here.
Green tea contains antioxidants called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), which helps in defending against certain cancers but also helps to soothe muscle soreness and protect them from damage.
It also relaxes muscles and promotes muscle building.
Green tea has enough caffeine to kick start your workout session with a better focusing mind. Polyphenols reduce inflammation that might otherwise lead to other health issues.
3. Milk tea before a workout
Ideally, you should drink milk tea after a workout compared to before a workout.
As per research, milk takes a lot of time to digest, so it just makes more sense to take it after a workout. There aren’t particularly any known health risks pre-workout, but drinking milk pre-workout may cause stomach ache.
But having said that, it’s on the list because of the benefits it can offer, particularly for those who enjoy long endurance exercises like running.
Milk tea benefits pre-workout
Milk tea offers several benefits like; helps in muscle gain their recovery. Also, it enhances a better mood and relaxes your body.
Hydrates the system and gives strength and energy to your body.
By the very nature of adding milk means that milk tea contains a protein called whey, and casein helps in muscle building. Casein is a constant source of protein for bodybuilders.
However, milk tea can be good for running, especially for longer distances. You can drink milk when your body needs extra fuel for a tougher workout or prolonged physical challenge.
If your only aim is weight loss, you should avoid taking milk tea though it helps you gain weight. It has rich nutrients that improve growth and bone health. For weight loss, there are other teas you may want to try before you get to milk tea – or even green tea.
Here are some known major weight-reducing teas to try
You should also check out the Black Tea vs Milk Tea, Comparison, Benefits, Calories, Taste!
4. Ginger tea before a workout
Ginger has a long tradition as a tried and tested medicine. It lacks the caffeine hit, but more than makes up for that in other benefits.
Taking ginger offers several health benefits, including cold, cough, soothes digestion (stomach issues), nausea, and respiratory problems.
Ginger tea is also among my top teas to prevent bloating.
The antioxidant-containing drink helps in lowering inflammation which is a cause of many diseases.
A cup of hot ginger tea relaxes and boosts your immune system.
If we talk about ginger tea as a workout drink, it is an excellent choice. It works well for both pre and post-workout drinks.
I’ve written an entire article concerning Ginger tea before a workout
Ginger tea pre-workout
As a pre-workout drink, ginger tea enhances mental clarity and keeps you more focused while exercising.
Drinking ginger tea after a workout offers a range of benefits. It reduces muscle soreness or pain caused by heavy exercise.
Ginger does not have any side effects when used in moderation. Taking more than 5 grams of ginger a day may cause some issues, including mild stomach discomfort, heartburn, wind, or diarrhea.
Ginger tea offers benefits such as increased metabolism, lowered cholesterol, and soothes digestion. Plus some great benefits for the skin!
Here’s my guide on how many cups of tea to drink per day – based on each tea type.
5. Matcha tea before a workout
Matcha is one of the healthiest green teas available.
Because you’re directly consuming the green tea leaves, it becomes an ultimate source of antioxidants catechin, L-theanine, and tea caffeine.
These sources are even more concentrated than standard steeped green tea because of its direct ingestion into your system.
Matcha is also recognized for its anti-cancer properties.
Higher-level caffeine in matcha tea augments physical activity as well as provides mental energy. It also increases blood circulation and fuel to your muscles during exercise.
Matcha has L-theanine that improves the focus and mental stamina to see out endurance-based strenuous training.
It does not come with the post-crash jitters or anxiety from caffeine that you get with coffee either.
Catechin reduces carbs depletion and uses energy in the resting time of the body.
When used in moderation, it does not have any significant side effects, but a higher amount of caffeine can cause headaches, diarrhea, insomnia, and irritation. So when it comes to drinking matcha, just proceed with some common sense.
6. Oolong tea before a workout
Oolong tea spans a large taste area between black and green teas when based on its color, taste profiles, and level of oxidation.
Oolong is considered a true type of tea as it’s obtained from the Camellia sinensis plant and is considered a “partially oxidized” tea.
Other benefits of Oolong tea
It also contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals like other tea have. A cup of oolong tea has a small quantity of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, and around 38 gm of caffeine.
Studies have suggested that it may help in reducing weight and shedding fat. One study showed results in 102 obese individuals who drank oolong tea regularly for six weeks and it helped them lose weight and burn fat.
You should drink oolong tea 30 minutes after a meal. Similar to green tea, I’d suggest not drinking oolong tea before a meal or on an empty stomach.
Now let’s go on to answer some other common “tea before a workout” type questions.
Is tea good for working out?
Drinking a cup of tea can make you more focused before hitting the gym. Tea contains nutrients that help in muscle growth and doing more efficient workouts across the duration of your exercise routine.
A 2008 study suggests that tea contains a compound called polyphenols which reduce inflammation, oxidative stress. It offers excellent benefits of tea before a workout, these include:
- Drinking tea is a way to rehydrate your body
- Tea helps to avoid a mid-workout slump while exercising
- Promotes weight loss
- Increases fat burning
- Enhances metabolism
- May helps in muscle building
- Creates a positive headspace during exercise
- May improve overall muscular strength
- Improves muscle damage recovery
Tea also offers additional health benefits for your heart, and your digestion, and guards against inflammation both externally and internally.
Tea before a workout or after a workout? Which is better
Tea before a workout serves more benefits than you might think.
Drinking tea around an hour before an exercise facilitates better practice. Researches show that a cup of tea can be very effective for weight loss or as a fat burner.
However, you can also drink tea post-workout. It relaxes your muscles and also helps to restore them.
It is advised that you should take milk tea and other dairy products after the workout because it takes comparatively more time to digest. But here’s the information on drinking milk tea before a workout.
How long before a workout should you drink tea?
Although you can drink tea anytime you want, you should drink it before your workout to help you get in shape. It is best to drink an hour or so before a workout session.
In the report of a study linked earlier, EGCG combined with caffeine taken before a workout enhances the fat oxidation rate.
What kind of tea should I drink before a workout?
Caffeinated tea before a workout certainly helps to provide a physical and mental boost, providing you’re managing your caffeine intake moderately enough.
Caffeine is often the main reason that people drink tea or coffee as a pre-workout drink.
To back this up, studies have shown that caffeine can help in fat-burning and helps keep you alert.
Generally, all the true type teas (green tea, oolong tea, white tea, Pu-erh tea, and black tea) have some amount of caffeine and are obtained from the Camellia sinensis plant. Hot water and long steeping draw more caffeine from brewed teas, such as black and oolong tea.
Tea is considered among the list of pre-workout and post-workout drinks because the true tea plant contains caffeine, as well as polyphenols, and antioxidants, flavonoids, and other minerals. Teas like chamomile, ginger, and peppermint teas do not contain caffeine but do have their individual benefits.
So that doesn’t mean herbal tisanes are not as effective. Here’s what herbal teas are good for.
Green tea contains caffeine and L-theanine, or the highest level of catechins, which promote alertness and a clear mind, especially in the morning.
Black tea has the highest caffeine among all teas due to its increased oxidation period. Although an abundance of caffeine does not necessarily equate to enhanced performance, it certainly keeps your body hydrated and helps recover muscle damage.
Is tea or coffee a better pre-workout?
Both tea and coffee can be beneficial as a pre-workout beverage when used in moderation. As mentioned earlier, I have tea as a supplement for a workout, but I have also used coffee previously. For me, the additional benefits provided by tea in easing post work out soreness and other factors just make it a better overall choice.
That’s not to say coffee is not a good drink before a workout. Most people know that coffee contains more caffeine than tea.
Drinking coffee 45-60 minutes before hitting the gym keeps you alert or more focused and effective. It also improves performance and may help to reduce some muscle soreness.
However, it may not be suitable for that late evening exercise as it may disrupt your sleep pattern. See my complete article on black tea vs black coffee.
More tea help…
Like with many beverages, many of the benefits tend to work differently for different people. As much as I can point out the individual benefits of each, nothing really replaces the idea of trying a range of these.
Perhaps this post serves more to suggest that it’s okay to give any tea before a workout a try and see how it works for you. I’d perhaps draw the line at taking your teapot to the gym though!
But if you do want to dive more into the world of tea, then you’ll love my tea sommelier course. It’s a fast-track way of improving your tea skills … without taking lengthy exams. See more info on my tea course below…
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