I went WAY overboard with caffeinated pre-workout powders, energy drinks, and coffee for a few years in my life.
Since I have a strong background in nutritional supplements, I know my way around the industry and I’ve experienced many products. Any product that contains caffeine is something you’ll feel very quickly and that is a huge selling point.
My first ever pre-workout powder that I used was N.O. Xplode. The caffeine boost made my workouts super fun for a period of time. Then I realized that I could just take a scoop of N.O. Xplode before I went to work and then I had energy for my customers. Unfortunately, there was always the inevitable crash.
Strongest stimulant I’ve ever used was the original Jack3d powder.
Wow. You could be incredibly tired and then you take a scoop of Jack3d and all of a sudden you had super powers. The ingredient which was used, 1,3-DMAA, is now a banned substance. The 1,3-DMAA acted as a caffeine synergist and a strong stimulant in its own right.
The downside ultimately came down to the fact that I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was hurting myself by neglecting sleep because, oh, I can just take a little bit of Jack3d in the morning. I was de-hydrating myself. I was constricting the blood cells and possibly over-training. I got to a point where sometimes it felt like I couldn’t even get a full breathe of air.
I was ingesting a GRAM of caffeine per day.
The recommendation for safe consumption of caffeine is between 100-400 milligrams of caffeine. I was ingesting a GRAM of caffeine per day! Ridiculous. Between pre-workouts, energy drinks, and coffee, I knew that I was ruining myself but like many others, I was in a vicious cycle.
Step 1 to quitting energy drinks: Drink black coffee.
Ultimately, enough was enough and something had to change. I was tired of being drained of my life force. I needed to care for myself. So the first step was to wean off of all sources of synthetic caffeine, which includes energy drinks like red bull or 95% of pre-workout powders.
I started drinking lots of black coffee. I drank about 20-30oz of black coffee, usually without any cream and certainly no sugar. This was helpful because at least coffee has some antioxidants.
Step 2 to quitting energy drinks: Drink less black coffee.
Okay, so I continued to drink black coffee at significantly less volume. I dropped down to about 12oz of black coffee a day and NEVER after noon. I found that by this time, my sleep was improving and I became less reliant on caffeine.
The downside with coffee is that I still felt the high and the low and I really wanted to avoid the low. I’ve known about green tea for a while, but green tea was never powerful enough…
Step 3 to quitting energy drinks AND drastically reducing coffee: MATCHA!
I ordered myself some matcha powder on Amazon and even ordered some direct from Japan via Ebay to get more experience. I found that the ceremony or ritual was unimportant to me because I just need something to boost me up and get me in a positive attitude for my 5AM workouts.
Quick rundown on the BENEFITS of Matcha:
- Contains natural form of caffeine which is bound to some of nature’s highest and strongest antioxidants.
- Contains high levels of amino acid L-Theanine which supports brain, mood, and other central nervous system processes. The amount of L-Theanine found in Matcha powder is essentially unique, and you won’t find this concentration in pretty much anything else.
- There is no crash from the matcha caffeine for several reasons.
- First, there is less caffeine per gram in matcha compared to pre-workout powders.
- Second, since the caffeine is bound to antioxidants, the caffeine is metabolized over a longer period of time. Your body must extract the antioxidants from the caffeine, which takes time. Moreover, those antioxidants are highly anti-inflammatory and health promoting.
- And third, the amino acid L-Theanine has somewhat of a brain-boosting and simultaneous calming effect on the central nervous system which means that that potential harm (read: stress) from the stimulants is highly mitigated.
In sum, Matcha is simply more nutrient dense than coffee is. And don’t think that I’m bashing coffee because I love coffee. I might drink coffee once a week and I’ll drink matcha about every day.
But isn’t matcha bitter?
Yes. Matcha is incredibly bitter. The caffeine and the antioxidants in matcha cause it to be very bitter. I’ve tried mixing matcha with many different things including water, juices, and other nutrient powders.
I’ve discovered that the green algae known as Chlorella has an amazing neutralizing effect on the bitterness of matcha. Now I’m not saying that Chlorella + Matcha is delicious, but it is certainly more palatable than Matcha + Juice.
(Related article on Chlorella: https://drefitness.com/2017/02/13/why-green-superfood-powders-for-health-and-fat-loss/)
So if you want it to be sweeter, your best option would be Matcha + Chlorella + Juice (like pomegranate juice, blueberry juice, or something like that).
And best of all: Matcha is an excellent fat burner.
For all of the reasons listed above, matcha is a great way to burn some fat while not stressing out the body. In my opinion, if you are always stressing out the body, then you will always have belly fat. I truly believe that belly fat is linked to stress. So use matcha to give yourself energy while not stressing the body out.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more!