How Matcha Improves Endurance
Exercise Down to a Science
Before we can discuss how matcha, and more specifically EGCG & L-theanine, improve endurance, we first need to understand what happens to the body during exercise. Although there are many, many things that can make your work-out less than pleasant, one of the most common ones is fatigue. And, no we aren’t talking about the kind of tired you feel after a poor night’s rest… We’re talking about muscle fatigue.
Muscle fatigue can typically be attributed to one of four things: Lactate production, low oxygen, dehydration, and carb depletion.
Although our body prefers to use oxygen to generate energy, that’s not always an option. Things like heavy weight lifting, long-distance running, even a tough hike require intensive energy production that your body just can’t keep up with on oxygen alone. So during those times, your body turns to a process known as glycolysis. During this process, your muscles break down glucose molecules into a substance called pyruvate, which produces something known as lactate. During intensive exercise, your muscles become flooded with lactic acid, which contributes to muscle fatigue.
Low Oxygen Uptake
We all know the feeling… you’re in the middle of an intense workout and you’re gasping for air. But despite all of your heavy breathing, you just can’t seem to catch your breath. This is likely due to the process we just described above. At most points throughout the day, when you breathe in oxygen, it’s more than enough to fuel whatever you’re during. However, during exercise, the muscles require oxygen levels up to three times as high as they do when you’re resting. Between this and your body’s attempt to expel the extra carbon dioxide, you’ll find that oxygen delivery to the muscles is slowed significantly. This causes exhaustion and weakness, which, you guessed it, contributes to fatigue.
There’s something about generating a nice sweat that just feels so satisfying. But, there’s a danger lurking behind that satisfaction, and that’s dehydration. Although most often experienced during the warm months, you can get dehydrated literally any time. And, sweat is not the only thing that will leave you feeling dehydrated. Gasping for breath is also a large source of water loss. So, how does dehydration affect your workout? When your body is dehydrated, it cannot regulate temperature as efficiently as it normally does. This causes your heart rate to rise and negatively affects mental function. All of which, will leave you feeling fatigued.
If you remember from above, when the body is low on oxygen, as it often is during exercise, it turns to glucose to fuel the muscles. This glucose is found in your body’s stored carbohydrates. And although it isn’t your body’s preferred method of energy, it is a necessity. However, when these stored carbs run out, your body sends a signal to your brain telling your muscles to reduce the amount of activity, in order to conserve energy. So, in this case, your brain is literally telling your body to stop. Surprise, surprise, this will definitely leave you feeling fatigued.
So, How Does Matcha Improve Endurance?
The key to matcha’s athletic success is found in its caffeine content and its special antioxidants, L-theanine and Epigallocatechin gallate. We’ll be referring to it as EGCG from here on out, because that’s a bit of a mouthful. But first, let’s discuss how the caffeine in matcha can help fuel your workout to new heights.
Caffeine | Quality over Quantity
Compared to a cup of coffee, which has about 80-100 mg of caffeine per cup, matcha’s 25-35 mg of caffeine may seem a bit wimpy. But, we’re not interested in how much caffeine there is. We’re just interested in how it helps fuel your body during the day and through a workout. Caffeine, in general, is widely applauded for its ability to enhance physical activity. Caffeine increases the release of neurotransmitters, like adrenaline, which makes your heart beat faster and lets your liver know to release extra sugar into the bloodstream to prepare for intensive activities.
However, when caffeine combines with another matcha special L-theanine, we get something truly special. When consumed in tandem, as with matcha, this combination helps to slow the entrance of caffeine to the bloodstream. This means that rather than experiencing all of those benefits immediately and then running out shortly afterward, your body gets to experience the boost of caffeine for much longer. This results, on average, in an 8% boost, in energy production, which in turn, improves your endurance.
EGCG & L-Theanine | Catechin Cache
In addition to providing your body with a better fuel source, L-theanine also helps with focus. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine is exactly why the Japanese monks drank matcha to help their meditations. It gives your mind and body the energy it needs, with all of the focus and none of the jitters. This improves concentration and mental stamina, which is crucial for helping athletes get through the toughest parts of their workouts. And, best of all, L-theanine helps prevent caffeine crashes, which means that you won’t run out of energy halfway through your workout.
Drinking matcha before a workout can also help with carb depletion. Although eating more carbs before a workout might seem like a good idea, chances are, that it will end up feeling like a rock in your stomach. Instead, fuel your body with a matcha mix before you exercise. The catechins in matcha have been shown to enhance fat burning, which in turn, helps to prevent carb depletion. And, with more carbs stored, your body has a much deeper store of energy, improving endurance and helping you get through the toughest of workouts. The catechins in matcha have been found to extend the period before muscle exhaustion by up to 24%.
There's also the obvious benefit of preventing dehydration. Matcha is a green tea powder that has to be mixed with water. So instead of turning to something like coffee or a preworkout chemical cocktail, which is a source of water loss, use matcha to fuel your workout and prevent dehydrate.
What’s Your Matcha Pre-workout?
If sitting down to methodically whisk up a matcha latte before you workout doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, we totally get it. That’s why we have this matcha shaker bottle. It’s the perfect way to get your daily dose of matcha magic wherever you are. You can do the quick and easy matcha iced tea or you can mix it up and add something, like almond milk, to create a little matcha latte. Your pre-workout routine is totally up to you. But, there’s no denying that the science stands behind matcha. It’s great for a pre-workout, and it helps improve endurance.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.