Coffee gyms, a healthy choice as a pre-workout?
Coffee gyms have been springing up in LA and I’m hoping that this craze doesn’t take off over here. Science itself proves that it’s not the best pre-workout drink and the long term mental health affects point firmly to the negative on the scale.
But don’t coffee beans burn fat? you say. I’m often asked this when I’m in the gym comparing myths of coffee and merits of Matcha. I’m writing this blog today because I want to dispel the myths and explain the science behind the choice…
Coffee does contain a fat boosting agent - Chlorogenic Acid - but this is destroyed when the bean is roasted prior to being ground. So at best, coffee will give you a boost before a workout due to its high caffeine count. However, the caffeine is not delivered to your brain and body in a sustainable form, so you get the buzz but next you’ll inevitably get the crash.
Trust me I’ve tried it. Then when you crash you need to keep going, so you have another coffee to get your fake energy levels up again.
I used to feel exhausted and drained by mid-week of my workouts - quite the opposite of how you should be feeling after a good workout. I certainly wasn’t excited about my next session!
Let me ask you this:
If you’re hyped up on coffee before a workout do you listen to your body in the same way or does the rush to the brain override your body telling you to slow down or take care?
Did you know:
Too much coffee leads to osteoporosis - not good in anyway for your future healthy self, least of all if you’re focused on a weight and strength training regime or multiple HIIT workouts. Coffee beans are also the highest pesticide treated beans on the planet,so unless you’re buying purely organic beans you’re also absorbing more and more chemicals into your blood stream.
Yet even these reasons don’t scare me as much as the affect that coffee has on the neurotransmitters in our brain. Coffee consumption stimulates a rise in cortisol levels.
Bryan Walsh sums this up perfectly in his incredible piece of research ‘Coffee and Hormones’, demonstrating this for Precise Nutrition.
‘Studies in humans have shown that caffeine increases cortisol and epinephrine at rest, and that levels of cortisol after caffeine consumption are similar to those experienced during an acute stress. Drinking coffee, in other words, re-creates stress conditions for the body.’
Coffee also leads to insomnia and high levels of anxiety over time. There’s just no long-term benefits to drinking it whatsoever.
How is Matcha different?
So when I was visiting friends in the US I tried Matcha NOW and was immediately impressed with the results which had the science to back them up.
It ticked every box - how does Matcha work in comparison to coffee?
Matcha does contain naturally occurring caffeine, however unlike coffee it also contains the magic ingredient of L-Theanine. This works to slow the release of the caffeine to the brain giving you a steady supply of energy. It was discovered in the 12th century by Japanese monks who used it to sustain their focus during meditation and was later used by their military for the same reason in battle.
The steady flow of energy means that you can work out for a longer time and really focus your attention to specific muscle groups boosting your overall strength. There is no crash so there’s no negative emotions tied in with drinking Matcha at all.
And on top of all of that it also contains 137 times the anti-oxidants of regular green tea. That’s more than goji berries and blueberries put together.
Healthy all round. That kind of long term health that makes you strong physically and mentally. And we all know half the battle with working out is a mental one…