5725727517_f8dfc7b214_zThe supplement market is filled with chemical-laden products meant for performance enhancement. One of the most popular categories is for pre-workout supplements. Many of these products are filled with caffeine and vitamins along with filler ingredients, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners. I am training for a Spartan Race later this year, so I find myself doing strenuous HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and Tabata workouts several times per week. I was looking for something to give me energy. However, I do not want to contaminate my body with weird chemicals. Why not fuel up with tea? I drink plenty of it every day anyways, I thought to myself, so maybe I can make my own pre-workout with tea!

Let me preface this by saying that the recipe I developed for myself is what I have found to work for me. It is most definitely not something to use if you’re trying to lose weight; it is meant for strength conditioning and endurance. This is a recipe I use to fuel myself for more cardio-intensive workouts. I don’t feel that I need the extra energy boost for yoga or rock climbing. On the contrary, I usually drink a cup of puerh before yoga or rock climbing as it seems to calm me.

The first thing I do is make a very strong cup of tea using Assam tea. I prefer to use Assam because it has a strong taste that I will still be able to taste after adding other ingredients. I like to use double the amount of tea that I would if I were to drink it plain. Next, after I have steeped the tea, I add 2 teaspoons of coconut oil and mix it in until it has completely melted into the tea. I then sweeten the tea with 1 tablespoon of honey. Once everything is mixed, I like to drink this quickly 1 hour before my workout. The caffeine and honey give me a quick energy to start the workout while the fats from the coconut oil kick in afterwards to give me sustained energy to finish the workout. Going by the nutrition labels on the products, I get about 9 grams of fat and 17 grams of sugar. I have seen variations on this type of beverage using butter as well, but I found that this variation upset my stomach to a point that I couldn’t workout. I find that this is a good mix for me; however, I recommend trying different amounts before you have any event to make sure your body can tolerate it. The taste is not amazing, but I know exactly what ingredients are going into my body, and I have been able to see a difference in the quality of my workouts.

James’s HIIT Pre-Workout Tea

Consume 1 hour before workout.

12oz water
6-8 grams of black tea
2 teaspoons of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of honey

Brew tea for 5 minutes
Dissolve coconut oil into tea
Mix in honey
Drink quickly