With everything we know about the health benefits of our favourite drink, we take a look at how athletes use tea to their advantage. Studies in sports science regard tea as a beneficial part of improving performance, recovery and endurance.
STAYING HYDRATED WITH BLACK TEA
Dehydration impedes performance and causes fatigue and cramp. Athletes will struggle to compete at their maximum if they aren’t hydrated. A study concluded that “black tea, in the amounts studied, offered similar hydrating properties to water.”
Athlete Eliud Kipchoge, described as “the greatest marathoner of the modern era” (he’s won 12 of the 13 marathons that he has entered and holds the record for the fastest marathon at just under 2 hours) has a diet that consists of fruit, vegetables and…tea! “He drinks a lot of tea with a lot of sugar. Instead of protein shakes, he’ll have two litres of tea.” Matt Fox told The Guardian. Kipchoge’s pre-marathon breakfast is “Tea and bread. That’s enough.”
All eyes will be on Kipchoge on 8 August when he attempts to win his second Olympic marathon gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. He hopes to be the third man to have ever won 2 consecutive Olympic gold medals for the race.
BENEFITS OF GREEN TEA
Athletes need to maintain their concentration at all times. The slightest mental slip can lead to mistakes which can lead to defeat or injury. Staying hydrated and stimulated can be a difficult balance to find. Energy drinks that hydrate are often packed with additives which stimulate but they can also result in a big crash.
The advantage of Green Tea is that it has the right amount of caffeine to help boost and sustain your workout, without any of the additives. It is recommended as a drink when you take part in a workout that is high intensity and for longer than 20 minutes. The advantage of using Green Tea is that you can add a bit of sugar and use healthy alternatives such as natural honey, agave nectar or stevia plant extracts.
It also turns out that drinking green tea before exercise can help burn more calories and fat. You can read all about the full health benefits of green tea here.
There is an increasing trend of athletes enjoying Yerba Mate to improve performance. It is higher in antioxidants than green tea and is also an anti-inflammatory, which can help aid recovery after exercise. You can read all about Yerba Mate here.
Originating from South America, the herbal infusion has grown in popularity in Europe. Particularly in the world of football, with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino, to name but a few, who are huge fans of the drink.
The England team also turned to Yerba Mate at the last World Cup*, as their secret weapon, to help with performance, according to an interview by The Telegraph:
“At Tottenham, quite a lot of the players have started drinking it,” [Eric] Dier said. “I am a bit addicted to it now.
“With Tottenham, we have a lot of Argentinians so I started drinking it [Mate] with them and now the English players are trying to pretend to be South Americans. Danny Rose and I have a quiet one in our room sometimes when we’re with England.”
“Another member of England’s Tottenham contingent – Dele Alli – is also a fan. “I love it.”
Whilst we can’t promise that drinking tea will turn you into the next Kipchoge or Messi, it might just help you go that little bit further on your next workout.
Check out our full range of teas here.
*We are not sure what the French drunk…fingers crossed for next year’s World Cup!