It’s the most popular drink in the world, But will black tea actually do anything for your workout? Will it have a positive effect on your strength, endurance or even your motivation to train hard and get great results?
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We all like a nice warm mug of tea on a cold winter’s day.
But could this simple drink be the key to a more productive workout, greater strength and unlimited energy?
Does drinking black tea before your workout actually do anything?
Let’s take a look.
- What is black tea?
- Can it boost workout performance?
- Is there a better option?
What is Black Tea?
Black tea comes from the same Camellia sinensis plant as oolong, white and green tea. It’s just left to oxidize for longer.
Tea is a necessity in most households can be found in over three quarters of US homes.
There are numerous blends and mixes of black tea, including English breakfast and Early grey. Masala Chai is a kind of black tea where the leaves are combined with spices; and Ceylon is a bold, rich tea with a chocolaty taste.
Because of the process that black teas go through to reach their strong and full-bodied character, they retain their flavor and aroma for many years.
As the most popular drink in the world, you’ll find black tea from the east to the west and everywhere between.
It was even used as trade currency throughout the 19th century in places like Tibet and Siberia.
Black tea is great for your health
As you’d expect from a drink that derives directly from a plant, black tea is a good source of nutrition. Although it’s calorie-free, black tea will provide you with potassium, polyphenols and tannins.
Maybe it’s the oxidation process, but you’ll not find as many nutrients in black tea as you would do with the green variety.
It is good for your health though, with black tea found to boost health in a number of ways;
- Reduces inflammation
- Antibacterial and anti-fungal properties
- May help protect against some kinds of cancer
- Boost immune system health
- Relieves stomach upset
- Improves metabolic profile
Black tea is a source of caffeine
Black tea is probably most consumed for its caffeine content.
As a stimulant compound, caffeine inhibits adenosine receptor binding, meaning it stops you from feeling sleepy, calm and low on energy. Instead, caffeine cranks the dial up to 11 and floods your body with adrenaline – the hormone used in the body to optimize nervous system function and productivity.
But black tea only contains a modest 20 mg of caffeine per 100 g.
That’s around 35-40 mg for a mug of your favorite drink, around half of what you’d find in a cup of coffee.
For those that don’t have a high tolerance for caffeine, you can still feel the subtle effects of the compound. Regular coffee drinkers won’t get much effect from it.
Key Point: Black tea is a healthy drink with a moderate caffeine content.
Will Black Tea Before Working out Actually Do Anything for Performance?
There are still some people that suggest a cup of black tea before working out will improve performance.
And while it might be the favored drink for many people, there doesn’t seem to be much actual evidence to back this up.
It’s not used by athletes and isn’t even on the radar of anti-doping agencies that look into compounds which boost athletic performance.
Black tea could with hydration
The only real performance benefit to black tea is that it encourages you to drink more water before a tough workout.
Dehydration can impair everything from physical endurance and power, to concentration and motor skills. Even a 1% decrease in body weight from a lack of water can decrease performance.
At 3-5% you’re looking at serious side effects.
With no calorie content and high water levels, black tea could help keep you hydrated and as such help you perform optimally. But it doesn’t improve performance, just might help maintain athleticism.
A serious lack of caffeine might inhibit performance
There’s no denying that caffeine itself boosts performance. In fact, as natural compounds go it’s one of the most effective out there.
For example, studies have found that when athletes take caffeine based pre workout 20-30 minutes prior to a workout it enhances everything from strength and power, to stamina and even fat loss.
Study 1: 12 people given 1-3 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight improved 1 rep maximum strength 
Study 2: 9 cycling athletes given 2.5-5 mg per kg of caffeine significantly enhanced stamina during exhaustive endurance exercise 
Study 3: 500 ml pre workout drink improves time trial in 12 cyclists 
But before you get too excited, just bear in mind that these trials were using doses of caffeine that ranged from 150 mg – 300 mg.
That’s the equivalent of 5 or so cups of black tea before your workout.
With that volume of fluids you’re bound to feel uncomfortable. You probably wont even make it to the gym and are most likely to be locked in a toilet regretting your decision.
Key Point: It’s unlikely that black tea will improve your performance by any significant margin. It doesn’t contain enough caffeine and it’s bioactive ingredients or more related to health, not athleticism.
Is There a Better Option?
If you really want the best bar-bending, gym-smashing workouts you need something more powerful than black tea.
It might be the drink of choice for old ladies up and down the country, but for an athlete looking to race to their physique goals or break through performance barriers, a heavy weight pre workout is what you need.
4 Gauge is the number one choice for elite athletes looking for the extra edge they need to obliterate the competition and push past the limitations of endurance and strength.
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- Enhanced nutrient delivery and better muscle pumps
- Improve your power, strength and endurance
- Increase resilience, focus and motivation
- Hit personal records and never give up
Smash Your Workouts With 4 Gauge
4 Gauge is an exhaustively researched, all-natural pre workout designed to rip the lid off your gym sessions, sports games or workouts.
Packed with performance-enhancing nutrients such as caffeine, L-theanine and creatine, 4 Gauge will take your training to a completely new level.
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- Del Coso, J Dose response effects of a caffeine-containing energy drink on muscle performance: a repeated measures design. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012; 9(1):21
- Bell DG. Effect of repeated caffeine ingestion on repeated exhaustive exercise endurance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003; 35(8): 1348-54
- Ivy, JL et al. Improved cycling time-trial performance after ingestion of a caffeine energy drink. Int J Sports Nutrition Exerc Metab. 2009; 19: 61-78