I was a little worried about the fact that matcha green tea speeds up how much fat that we burn. For long distance runs I want to ensure I have plenty of reserves. Although I am trying to get a bit more weight off – quite successfully judging by how my jeans feel today after being pretty strict this week, I want to ensure my body is properly fueled and nourished.
Marathon runners are actually encouraged to drink matcha during training. Although matcha powder increases metabolism, it provides sustained energy for 4 – 6 hours – this is ideal for long distance runners. This comes from the caffeine found in matcha but unlike the caffeine found in coffee, this is a gradual and sustained release of energy – as opposed to the initial spike and rapid decline of energy from coffee (oh the jitters). There is evidence to suggest drinking matcha before or during a race can spare glycogen stores for that late race push. Studies have found that matcha extract increased the endurance capacity of mice by 8 – 24% through enhanced metabolisation of fat.
Leading up to an important running event we want our bodies to be accustomed to preferentially burning fat over sugar for fuel. Stored glycogen in the muscle only provides about 2000 calories worth of energy. So we want to be able to preferentially tap into our fat reserves (extremely calorie rich) during the race. Eating foods that encourage this leading up to race day, I think, are important. So I wouldn’t be concerned about cutting matcha or other fat burning foods prior to your race day. We need to be eating adequate calories in the form of protein, healthy fats and healthy carbs from whole foods.
I still love my coffee and will continue to treat myself to a cup a day. I am however glad to have a bit of matcha in my life now !!