Go to any fitness or nutrition store and you will find shelves of supplements that say they can give your workout a serious boost. However, instead of throwing away hundreds of dollars on products that may or may not have any effect, the best workout supplement may be lurking around your kitchen already. Matcha green tea powder has been lauded for everything from its cancer-fighting properties to giving you fresher breath, but its biggest benefit may be for your daily fitness routine.
Boosted Energy Levels
This one is obvious. Matcha has caffeine, and caffeine boosts your energy levels. However, what makes matcha different is that it has less caffeine than a cup of coffee, but the energy lasts longer. The 25-35 mg of caffeine in matcha combined with its natural EGCG antioxidant don’t give the immediate, short-lived boost of coffee, but rather had a longer-lasting, time-released boost over the course of a few hours. This means that just when you start to drag in the middle of your workout, matcha can be there to give your energy levels a boost.
A lot of foods boast about their fat-burning properties, but matcha actually has it backed by science. In a 2005 study on mice by the American Physiology Society, they found that those that consumed the catechins found in green tea alone had their weight reduced by 47 percent, the mice that engaged in regular exercise lost 24 percent of their weight, and those that combined exercise and catechins reduced their weight by a stunning 89 percent. The catechins in matcha green tea actually work to burn body fat for energy over the energy provided by stored glucose from food. This means that those who workout do not have to work as hard to burn off their pre-work out meal before they get down to burning undesirable body fat.
Reduced Lactic Acid
Those muscle cramps and the soreness that you may feel post-workout can almost always be blamed on lactic acids. After physical activity, the body produces lactic acids as a by-product of using energy and oxygen during a workout. The build up on the muscles is what ultimately causes soreness and fatigue providing the area was not injured.
Matcha and its antioxidants actually give a boost to the immune system to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the muscles in the long run, which helps muscles repair faster post-workout as they do not have to first remove the lactic acid.
As lactic acid is created in no small part due to the body using glucose for energy, with matcha stimulating the body to burn more fat, the body uses less glucose and thus produces less lactic acid in the first place.
Alongside its helpful antioxidants, matcha is also packed with an amino acid called L-theanine which is known for its calming and focus-building properties by stimulating the alpha waves in the brain. Alpha waves are associated with both alertness and focus, making L-theanine the reason Zen Buddhist monks have used matcha to help them focus during periods of meditation.
However, you don’t need to be meditating to feel the benefits. When exercising, athletes can feel the enhanced concentration and mental stamina to help get through a particularly tough workout.