I do a ton of sport, and much like Neal (the other blogger and Matcha fan!) I have been getting into Triathlon; it made sense considering I do a lot of running, cycling and my favourite swimming! So what better way to start off the season than to use matcha as part of my training regime.
Week 1 – matcha in the afternoon
After already working out that matcha really does perk you up and make you feel tip top it was a no brainer to use it as a way of keeping me going in the office midafternoon right where we all look for the biscuit tin for that sugary treat. So this week was all about having it my favourite way with just a glass of cold water.
Result: I definitely felt the difference, even with training before work I felt that my evening training was more energized and productive, but I want to see if it affects things more than just a few hours later.
Week 2 – morning wake up matcha shot
So this week was all about the morning shot of matcha in a glass of juice or water. The aim was to see if I felt a benefit to all of my day, initially I expected to have that energy boost but with all the anti-oxidants and nutritional stats I should feel a little something extra.
Result: Those mornings where I was getting up early to go the gym there was the energy boost as expected, I felt I was lifting more, didn’t feel lethargic and had quicker reaction speed. The Amino acids present in matcha itself will, over a sustained period of time have an effect on my sport performance and with nearly half of the total amino acids being made up from L-Theanine (around 15mg out of roughly 35mg total amino acids) I will undoubtedly find myself more focused and have an improved cognitive response towards sport. However a week is such a small amount of time to really measure the difference, but I do have faith!!!
Week 3 – during sport drink mix
I know of a few people that drink green tea whilst going out on long walks or whilst they are doing sport and as I already like a big glass of cold water & matcha in the afternoons it was something I was looking forward to drinking as part of my during-sport hydration. So before I left the house I would take my water bottle, pop in a 1g serving of matcha, tighten the lid and shake like mad!
Result: What can I say, I loved it. After the initial few swigs of matcha (and some strange looks from my team mates) I jumped into the training hoping for that boost in about 15minutes time (giving in time to kick in). I certainly felt the caffeine boost and knew this week was going to be a good week for training. Each time I finished a swim set, or running drills or hill climb on my bike I took a swig knowing it was going to do me good. I ran, swam and cycled further before I started to feel my form was going and I was running out of steam. But a lesson I learnt from this is to start drinking 15minutes before the start of your work out to get that kick from the word go!
Week 4 – a mixture of it all
Taking the results of the previous 3 weeks I chose to mix them all together. For those mornings where it was my rest day (once or twice a week) a matcha shot was my recipe of choice, after early morning sessions followed by an evening training session a mid-afternoon matcha would do the trick and finally any big sessions focused on distance and speed rather than technique a water bottle mixed with matcha would be key.
Result: I can’t deny how good this final week and month has been. The combination of everything I learnt from the previous 3 weeks has definitely made a difference.
I have taken different supplements through my many years of sport be it vitamins/minerals/protein or caffeine gels and tablets but none have given me an overall package. If you want speedy results then the slow release caffeine boost from matcha will sort you out, but if you take it as part of your daily routine the vitamins/minerals and more importantly amino acids will definitely improve your performance. This is where I really trust there will be an improvement, if each session I am more focused on my technique for even just a smaller amount of time before I feel mentally fatigued then over a whole season it’s going to make a huge difference!
So my advice if you are looking to train for some sort of sporting event or just like to keep yourself fit and in shape I recommend taking matcha in a variety of ways and times of the day depending on your training plan and as long as you get into a routine I am sure you will feel the benefits.
Those Japanese Monks wouldn’t have been using it if it didn’t do the trick.