Green Tea Pre-Workout, The Healthy Choice
If you are reading this article, It may be safe to assume that you are physically active, or looking into starting, you want to make the most out of your invested time and energy, and you are looking for a healthy way to do it.
99.99% of people who exercise have heard about, considered, or even tried using a pre-workout supplement. To be honest, I am one of that 99.99% of people. I have tried pre-workout supplements, I experienced the unnatural sensation of energy overload, jitters, face tingles, post-workout restroom runs, and anxiety. Most pre-workouts are simply powdered anxiety attacks, full of synthetic "proprietary blend" ingredients – most of which have not been tested or approved by the FDA. The effect that pre-workout supplements have on the body is clearly unnatural, and I would venture to say that they are unhealthy and unsafe.
Using green tea to supplement your exercise can have beneficial results that improve the overall quality and impact of your exercise. Green tea produces beneficial results from mild similarities between green tea and synthetic pre-workout supplements.
As difficult as it may be to believe, there are a few similarities between green tea and synthetic pre-workout supplements. Those similarities contribute to the positive effect that green tea has on your exercise without the negative effects of synthetic supplements.
Both green tea and pre-workout supplements contain caffeine however, pre-workout supplements contain high levels of caffeine that may contribute to sleep problems and other general health issues.
How caffeine improves exercise
Caffeine promotes the release of adrenaline from the adrenal glands into the bloodstream. The effect of adrenaline, commonly known as the "fight-or-flight" response, is well documented precursor to high-fuction bodily action.
The body reacts to the presence of adrenaline in different ways. However, the responses that are most important for optimizing your exercise are the following:
Blood is shunted from the brain, organs, and skin to major muscle groups.
The liver releases sugar into the blood to make energy available.
Muscle tone increases to prepare for action.
Everything in moderation
Caffeine can act beneficially for a workout, especially in moderation, granted it is not consumed in large amounts or regularly. A few problems arise when caffeine is consumed in large quantity or regularly.
The levels of caffeine found in a single serving of most pre-workout supplements are unnaturally high. The synergistic effect of combining high levels of caffeine with other stimulating supplements produces an elevated "fight-or-flight" response in the body and is responsible for the effects felt after consumption, such as anxiety, face-tingles, frequent urination, etc.
Dehydration, Tolerance, and Dependence
The biggest issues caused by overconsumption of caffeine are dehydration, bodily tolerance, and bodily dependence.
Firstly, caffeine acts as a diuretic in the body when consumed in a large dose. In a lower dose, the diuretic effect of caffeine does not normally cause dehydration because the caffeine is not potent enough to cause the body to expel more fluid than what is being consumed.
For example, the ratio of caffeine to water in green tea is so low that more water is consumed than the caffeine causes the body to expel. For enough caffeine to be consumed to produce a diuretic effect, one would need to consume a large quantity of green tea, greater than 1 liter, and in such a case the amount of fluid expelled would be less than what is consumed.
Over time, the body becomes tolerant to the introduction of caffeine into the system. More and more caffeine will be needed to produce the same effect. If the goal of consuming caffeine is to produce the "fight-or-flight" response then greater doses will be required over time.
The "fight-or-flight" response is not a sign that a pre-workout substance is "working," it is simply a sign that your adrenal glands are dumping adrenaline into your system and preparing your body for survival in response to the simulants introduced to the body.
The fact of the matter is that the low to moderate levels of caffeine found in green tea is more than enough to encourage muscular activity without subjecting your body to unhealthy levels of caffeine mixed with other unknown "proprietary blend" stimulants.
The effects of green tea are mild to non-existent in comparison to those of pre-workout supplements, but it is not the perceived effects that promote an optimal workout. Optimal workouts are the product of a healthy body being encouraged to function at peak performance and "raising the bar" on one's physical performance. Injury during exercise is a realistic outcome of exercise under the influence of stimulants that alter the perceptions of the body. It is hard to perceive one's physical limitations and push the body to a healthy level when under the influence of stimulants. The state of body and mind produced by pre-workout stimulants is dangerous and often leads to injury, caused by both the exercise and the unhealthy effects of the stimulants themselves.
There are actually many articles that dispell the popular belief that one may become addicted to caffeine.
Though one does not become dependant on caffeine in the same way one would become dependent on alcohol or drugs, there is still an arguable degree of chemical dependence.
The most common indicators of caffeine dependence are withdrawal symptoms, which may include irritability, headaches, tiredness, and depression.
Vascular Effects of Dietary Nitrate
Nitrate is very popular in the exercise/gym world. It has been shown to have many beneficial vascular effects, to include optimizing exercise performance in healthy individuals, reducing blood pressure, and reducing arterial stiffness and inflammation.
The effects of dietary nitrate are known to improve the dilation of veins and the delivery of oxygen to the muscle tissue.
Healthy sources of dietary nitrate
Though green tea provides beneficial levels of caffeine for a workout, be it lifting weights, aerobics, or yoga, it does not provide a substantial dose of nitrate to influence the "nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide (NO) pathway."
However, the combination of green tea and a nitrate-rich diet may improve the impact of your exercise to get the best return on your invested time and energy without subjecting your body to unknown, potentially dangerous, synthetic exercise supplements.
Nitrate Content (mg per 100g fresh weight)
- Cabbage, savoy cabbage, turnip
- Chinese cabbage, leek, parsley, mustard greens
Very High, >250mg/100g
- Celery, cress, lettuce, red beetroot, spinach, rucola
Spinach Is Boss
Of the listed vegetables, spinach is by far the most nitrate dense. At 741 mg nitrate per 100 grams of raw spinach, it definitely takes home the gold for nitrate-rich food.
May you have good health and a long life
There are many dangers and adverse effects caused by pre-workout supplements. If you are currently using pre-workout supplements, I hope that you will consider using a nitrate-rich diet and green tea instead. Your body will thank you.
I want nothing more than health and happiness for myself and for others. A healthy diet and exercise is the most sure-fire way to be healthy, and good health makes for a successful pursuit of happiness.
Good luck, and good health to you.
Content from the Tao Te Tea website and blog is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. The information provided on this website is intended for general consumer understanding and entertainment only. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.