Working Out The Right Workout Tea
When people find out that I’m also a certified tea sommelier in addition to being a personal trainer, the next question is often: “So what’s the best kind of tea to drink?”
Or the variation: “So what’s the healthiest kind of tea to drink?”
Or even the variation: “So what kind of tea should I drink, period?”
This is not unlike the getting-to-know-you process of personal training itself. For the fitness newbie, the questions that often hit me are exactly the same, just with a little switcharound of wordage:
“So what’s the best exercise for me to do?”
“So what’s the healthiest exercise to do?”
“So what exercise should I do, period?”
What happens when you’ve been at both practices as long as this guy, you have two choices: a) stockpile a bunch of answers that don’t really address the individual concern, but make the person satisfied with a conversational rejoinder, or b) give them the truth, which is often wordier and less satisfying to hear when the individual probably was looking for a 1 + 1 = 2 sort of solution to their fitness woe.
Sorry, guys. I’m more of a b) person. This article is going to be one of those.
The goal here is not to say that any one tea is perfect for working out in general, because just as every tea is different, so is everyone’s workout. Thanks to the prolifery of information and options out there in the world, it’s unfair for me to suggest that there is such thing as a “general” workout that fits everybody’s desires and body type. By the same token, I can’t go and assume that there’s a “general” sort of tea anymore, since even the layman of 2019 knows the difference between black and green at this point.
Therefore, I’m here to introduce different types of working out, and which teas best complement them. Your body, brain, and (taste-) buds get served a different experience with every option.
Resistance Training. Strength is everything. It’s the ability to stand on your own two legs without feeling something wobble. It’s the ability to bend down at your doorstep and pick up an Adagio haul of twelve 16-ounce bags of Autumn Mist Green and Bonfire, because it’s going to be a whole year before we see them again.
When most people think about getting in shape, they think of losing their excess weight first, rather than building their bodies strong enough to master it— which actually ends up burning through that weight in the process. It’s kind of beautiful. However, in spite of this magic, I have found anecdotally that resistance training— anything that requires you to move or resist load, such as weightlifting, cable machines, rubber bands, etc — still remains one of the most underrated forms of fitness.
That being said, you want a gosh darn good tea to make picking up that barbell worth your while. I recommend matcha. The antioxidants and l-theanine impart a wicked brain boost that can improve your focus during the set, which is crucial for maintaining good form and self-awareness of what your body is feeling as you complete the exercise. The caffeine content will also provide you with the get-up-and-go that you need to feel energized throughout your routine, even if you feel like you’re stuck on boring repetitions.
What’s even more delightful is that Adagio now has matcha to-go sticks in flavors like Jasmine and Raspberry, perfect for dumping in a water bottle and hitting the gym. Now you’ve really got no excuse when you’ve forgotten your whisk at home.
Cardio. This is just as important as weight training! A good cardiovascular system allows you to walk to the grocery store and back, climb up the stairs with your load, and put everything away in its proper order without collapsing. (Among other things, of course.) It also helps you keep your breath through the resistance work we just discussed.
Recovery. For that, you need to think endurance. I’m a big believer in Rooibos, seeing how it was studied to be an excellent companion for runners in South Africa (I’ve written about the importance of electrolytes before, and rooibos is chock full of ‘em. It also has no caffeine, which means you’re safe to take it on an evening run.
Recovery. Yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais, anything that makes you feel rejuvenated and more connected to your body as a whole. You can’t beat yourself up without having a separate practice to build yourself back together again. Personally, I’d be a hot mess without regular yoga and stretching during the day to keep my joints alive— and I’m a professional! Anyone can benefit from movement-oriented self-care, no matter how active they are during the day.
Which is why I like to keep it simple and sweet: White Peony. It brews up a cup that’s light and reflective, perfect for the state of mind that you want to be in when working therapeutically on yourself. Just don’t burn the dear! Whites can yield a surprisingly high amount of caffeine if treated with boiling water like one of the hardier teas.
Of course, within each of these categories are still thousands of other options, which can all be paired with other teas that didn’t make it to this list. And I feel bad, not to mention there’s a good deal that can be said about the relationship between yerba mate and deadlifts, for example.
What does this mean? We’ll just have to go one by one, and get in-depth on each form of fitness and how you can use tea to make it work the best for you. So next time, I’ll see you for tea with resistance training— the extended edition! (Like Lord of the Rings, only pure bonus material and minimal recap.)