Many athletes and gym goers swear by a caffeinated drink before their workout, whether it’s coffee or a supplemental “preworkout” powder mixed with water. Studies have shown that caffeine can, in fact, improve athletic performance – it’s even a banned substance at the Olympics! How can you take advantage of this effect while still supporting optimal health?

On a daily basis, excessive coffee consumption and highly processed powders aren’t ideal, and they’re expensive habits to boot. This recipe offers an alternative – an all-natural, research supported, recovery promoting, refreshing preworkout drink that contains a small amount of protein (perfect if you’re trying to avoid working out on an empty stomach but you don’t have time to eat anything).

It even provides a boost of natural caffeine in the form of matcha powder – powdered green tea leaves. Matcha is the perfect way to get a concentrated dose of green tea in your diet with minimal effort. Instead of steeping and brewing like typical teas, matcha powder can simply be stirred into hot or cold water.

Even if you don’t work out regularly, this beverage can still be of benefit. It’s helpful during cold and flu season thanks to its immune boosting properties, and it could help you get through the afternoon slump thanks to that little hit of green tea. If you’re trying to wean yourself off of soda or expensive coffee shop beverages, keep a few bottles of this drink in your work fridge as a healthy, energy-boosting alternative.

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Each ingredient in this beverage serves a purpose. Check out some of the benefits they offer:

  • Apple cider vinegar. Supports digestion and healthy immune function (both systems that can get thrown out of whack by taxing workouts). Also decreases inflammation, potentially reducing your risk for workout-induced injuries.
  • Collagen hydrolysate/BCAA powder. Improves cell growth, muscle building, and workout recovery by giving your body the important amino acids it needs.
  • Lemon juice. Vitamin C supports immune health. Your immune system can be depressed by difficult workouts, so the Vitamin C in lemon juice can help you ward off potential colds and flus and consequently get to the gym more frequently.
  • Matcha. A great source of gentle caffeine energy, balanced by vital amino acids, antioxidants, and nutrients. Boosts your energy without a “crash” afterwards!
  • Tumerica. Wards off joint pain, inflammation, and arthritis.

As you can see, the purpose of this drink is to both boost your workout as a short-term effect AND to protect and improve your health long term. Rest and recovery are equally as important as tough workouts in terms of muscle building and fitness improvement, and nutrition choices should reflect that.

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If you want a recovery-focused drink to sip later in the day, leave out the matcha and use 2 tablespoons of collagen (skip the BCAAs). If you find yourself in need of a bit more of a “boost” before your workout, add an extra ½ teaspoon of matcha. If you don’t like stevia, sweeten the drink with a tablespoon of raw honey or maple syrup. The natural sugars will give you a bit more energy as a nice side effect. This drink can be modified to suit your needs. It’s great for anyone, from bodybuilders to yogis to speed walkers!

DIY All-Natural Preworkout Drink  (Makes 14 ounces)

12 ounces cold filtered water

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon collagen hydrolysate

1 tablespoon BCAA powder

12 drops liquid stevia (or to taste)

Juice of ½ lemon

1 teaspoon matcha powder

1 teaspoon turmeric powder (optional)

Directions:

  1. Measure all ingredients into a glass jar or bottle (use a funnel if needed). Screw the lid on tightly and shake well to combine all ingredients. Taste and adjust stevia quantity if necessary. Drink immediately or keep in refrigerator for up to a week.

Recipe Notes:

  • If you work out early in the morning, make a big batch of these drinks and keep them in your refrigerator for the perfect grab-and-go workout beverage.
  • If you lift weights and want to build muscle, try drinking one of these beverages before your workout and a protein shake afterwards.
  • The turmeric is optional because it does give a slightly funky taste to this recipe. Without it the drink tastes like a tart green tea lemonade – with it, it tastes a bit more unusual. Add it if you’re not super picky. It’s obviously a super healthy ingredient but drinkability should be the deciding factor.
  • Collagen hydrolysate and BCAA powder are widely available online. Check Amazon or your online health product retailer of choice

Integrative Nutrition is the world’s largest nutrition school and Health Coach Training Program. Through our innovative, one-year online course, students learn the principles of health coaching, business skills, and over 100 different dietary theories with lectures by the world’s leading experts.

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