Matcha green tea has been around for about a thousand years. And if you haven’t tried it yet, it’s time. That might have you wondering: what is matcha, anyway? Is it different from plain old green tea? If so, is it better?
If you’ve ever wondered about any of those things, you’ve come to the right place. Since matcha is a key ingredient in Pep Rally, our new energy boost, I wanted to do a deep dive. Ready? Let’s go!
First, let’s talk about the common confusion between green tea and matcha. To clear it up, let’s start with the basics. Matcha is a specific type of green tea. That means that all matcha is green tea, but not all green tea is matcha.
Because matcha is specially grown and processed, the nutrients in the tea leaves are more potent and you get more of that leaf in your drink. Basically, matcha’s a more effective vehicle for getting the goodness of green tea (think: caffeine and antioxidants) into your system.
What makes matcha so great
Let’s be clear here: all green tea is great for you. Matcha just gives you some of the benefits in a higher concentration. Here are a few of my favorite things about matcha:
It’s loaded with antioxidants
Matcha has more antioxidants than other forms of green tea. This basically means it gives your cells more resources to fight damage, helping your body stay healthy and prevent chronic conditions, cancer, and more.
It gives you a natural energy boost
Because matcha is more concentrated than green tea, it delivers more caffeine. For reference, an eight-ounce cup of normal green tea has about 28 mg of caffeine. That’s basically half of what black tea has and about a quarter of the caffeine content you’d find in an eight-ounce cup of coffee. Truthfully, I can drink a cup of green tea and not feel the energy boost at all unless I really pay attention.
Matcha is different, though. It can pack in twice as much caffeine as green tea or, depending on the preparation, even more. In Pep Rally, you’re getting 80 mg of caffeine per serving. But because you’re getting it from a natural source, you don’t have to worry about jitters or any of the other junk that can come with a lot of the caffeinated products on the market today.
In fact, matcha also contains an ingredient that can directly combat that edge that comes with other forms of caffeine: L-theanine.
It delivers L-theanine
Remember how I said that shading the green tea leaves during the end of the growing process made them create more amino acids? This is the amino acid we’re talking about. L-theanine is a pretty powerful tool that can help improve focus and productivity. Specifically, this amino acid can:
Help you fight stress and keep your blood pressure stable even when you’re in stressful situations
Improve your focus
Support immune health
It’s a power player in Pep Rally
For all of these reasons, we pretty much had to put matcha in Pep Rally. As part of the Pep squad, it helps you get that long-lasting, jitter-free natural energy boost, plus more focus, better fat burning, and improved athletic performance. If you want to crush your next workout or you’re in need of a pick-me-up, call in the Pep Rally!
Our new boost gives you what you need with natural sources (like matcha) so you can feel good not just in the moment, but in general. Ditch the energy drinks and pre-workout and give yourself the boost you need with Pep Rally!
It’s def possible to have too much caffeine. On top of that, certain situations — like coffee on an empty stomach — can give caffeine a bad rap, even when it’s really the other things at play causing the problems.
All this said, I’m pro caffeine, just in moderation. Too much caffeine is going to literally jack you up, especially consuming too much at one time. But how much is too much? I’ve got you, girl.
Your recommended daily dose of caffeine
The FDA says people shouldn’t have more than 400 mg of caffeine each day. That’s roughly equal to four eight-ounce cups of coffee.
Note that we’re saying eight-ounce cups. That’s pretty small. And if you opt for an energy drink, be extra careful. A lot of options can have as much as 250 mg of caffeine in one eight-ounce serving.
Is going over that cap really a big deal? If you only do it every once in a while, probably not. But if you do it too much, you risk caffeine toxicity.
Plus, even a single day with too much caffeine can leave you with some pretty unwelcome side effects.
Side effects of excess caffeine
No surprise here: one of the main issues with too much caffeine is sleep problems. Besides insomnia, though, too much caffeine can cause:
High blood pressure
An upset stomach
Clearly, too much caffeine can cause a bunch of problems that leave you feeling way worse than you started. You’d probably didn’t want to trade that tiredness for the side effect you’re feeling, right?
To help you avoid these nasty side effects, I recommend:
Mixing in other stuff with caffeine. Consider what you consume along with your caffeine. I love matcha green tea because it has caffeine, but it also has L-theanine, which has a calming effect. Or you could always add some ashwagandha into the mix to ward off jitters.
Timing your consumption. When you have coffee or tea on an empty stomach, it can upset your digestive system. If you start your day with caffeine, eat something with it. This could be as simple as a quick shake with our protein powder or a banana. Then, mind your caffeine intake at night. It can take your body as long as six hours to metabolize even half of the caffeine you’ve consumed. If you’ve been having sleep problems, you might be able to blame your afternoon consumption. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, so pay attention. If cutting out caffeine after noon helps you get good sleep, that’s well worth it.
Avoiding too much at once. Too much caffeine can literally be toxic. And even when you don’t reach potentially health-hazardous levels, a lot all at once is often behind the jitters or nausea. Stick with about 75-160 mg at a time. That’s roughly one or two eight-ounce cups of coffee. Wait for about half an hour and see how you feel. If you’re still pooped, you can always have more. But there’s no way to undo too much caffeine other than to wait it out (yikes).
Getting smart about where your caffeine comes from. Some caffeine sources (looking at you, energy drinks and pre-workout) have so much that your risk for side effects is already super high. To give your body a boost without having to pay for it, look to natural caffeine sources like matcha green tea, smaller cups of coffee, or our NEW! Pep Rally Energy Boost!
Just the right amount of Pep!
We created Pep Rally so you could get caffeine from some of the best natural sources out there. Our new boost has 80 mg of caffeine per scoop so it’ll put some pep in your step without jitters or any of that junk. If you’re really needing to pump it up, you could do two scoops for 160 mg of caffeine. Even then, you won’t be exchanging tiredness for other side effects. In fact, Pep Rally also contains an amino acid called L-theanine that specifically combats anxiousness and stress!
On top of that, we’ve packed it with other key natural ingredients for long-lasting energy like:
Basically, it’s a healthier way to enjoy caffeine. So whenever you need it, summon the Pep Rally!
Sometimes we find ourselves in need of a little pick-me-up. I get it! We all have those days.
Maybe you’ve had a long week or you didn’t sleep great last night. Maybe your hormones are throwing you off. You could be stressed, traveling, under a tight deadline, or not getting the nutrients your body needs from your diet.
There are pretty much a million things that could be making you feel tired. So if you’re looking for a way to fight your tiredness and boost your energy naturally, add these things to your arsenal.
#1: Eat a nutritious diet
Your body is a complicated system and it needs a lot to keep it functioning at its best. If you’re filling it with junk like sugar or alcohol, it’s going to make you pay for it, usually with fatigue. And if you’re not getting the nutrients you need from your diet, the same is true. Making bad food choices is like putting only a tiny bit of gas in your car — and then expecting it to make a major road trip.
You might already know that I recommend eating whole foods above everything else. The closer you can get to the natural source, the better. That means choosing food with limited processing and added ingredients — and loading up your plate with lots of fruits and veggies. If you’re not quite sure what you should be eating to feel like your best, most energized self, I can help. All of my nutrition plans include meals that will supply your system with the nutrients it needs. And when you need a quick and easy way to get more goodness in, you know you can always turn to our LSF Plant Protein.
#2: Get Pep (Rally) in your step!
We all have days where you need a pick-me-up. I mean, I do!
That’s why I made our newest boost, Pep Rally! I teamed up all the natural energy-boosting powerhouses, like matcha and ginseng, to give you a pep in your step when you need it most. I can’t wait for you to try it!
#3: Move that body, girl!
A sedentary lifestyle (that basically means sitting around a lot) makes you feel even more sluggish. You don’t have to take my word for it. Studies show that getting moving on a regular basis can decrease your fatigue by 65%. That’s a pretty big drop!
My general recommendation is to get 30 minutes of exercise with the LSF App five or six days a week. But I know that if you haven’t been moving much, that can sound like a lot. Don’t be afraid to ease yourself in. Even 10 minutes a day can still do wonders — and I legit have the Daily 10 for this purpose. Getting moving can be way easier than you might think. A brisk walk around your neighborhood counts. So does literally any workout from our LSF App, which means you can choose whatever sounds good to you on any given day! Plus, we’ve got a seven-day free trial so you can see what you think. Try it out!
#4: Get enough sleep
If you want to feel energized during the day, you NEED to recharge your battery at night. And that means getting a good night’s rest. Most of us need at least seven solid hours every night so our body can do all of its important overnight work.
You probably already know that getting enough sleep is important for your body and your mind. The trick, of course, is actually getting that sleep. If falling asleep or staying asleep is hard for you, check out Slumber Party, our sleep boost. She’s packed with stuff to help you drift off to dreamland and wake up feeling refreshed.
#5: Control your stress
Stress takes its toll, literally. When your body is continually dealing with high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, it causes lasting fatigue. Plus, stress can make it harder to sleep, worsening the problem!
If you’ve been feeling wound up lately, meet Miss Congeniality, our mood-boosting stress buster. We’ve combined a bunch of natural but powerful ingredients to help take the edge off so you can feel better.
See? There’s a lot you can do to give yourself a boost when you need it without resorting to that fourth cup of coffee or an energy drink. I am SO excited to have you all try Pep Rally for that pick-me-up you need!
Look, I get it. You know you’ll feel better if you work out. But maybe your alarm was extra-unwelcome this morning or you’ve had an exhausting day. And you know that with a little bit of a boost, you’re not just more likely to actually feel up to exercising — you’re also more likely to crush that workout.
And that makes a pre-workout pretty appealing, but that quick high comes with some serious lows you need to be aware of.
Why I don’t use pre-workout
You all know I take my sweat session seriously. So a lot of people are surprised when they hear that I never make pre-workout part of my routine. I mean, it’s a pretty standard part of that fitness lifestyle for a lot of people.
But here’s the thing. Pre-workout is FILLED with synthetic sh*t like artificial sweeteners and untested supplements. Like, you’re truly getting that boost from chemicals paired with a VERY heavy-handed dose of caffeine. And that means it comes with side effects like:
An energy crash afterward
Tingling and flushed skin
Water retention (read: bloating)
You might think those side effects would probably be pretty rare — but you’d be wrong. A 2019 study found that 54% of people who took pre-workout experienced side effects, and those side effects were more common in women than in men. That means that if you and your friend both take pre-workout, the odds are pretty darn high that at least one of you will have to deal with feeling sick, getting a skin reaction, or some other issue.
On top of all of this, pre-workout raises your heart rate. If you’re going to be getting into some serious cardio, that can put excess (read: dangerous) strain on your heart.
As we learn more about what pre-workout does to the body, more and more health and fitness experts are coming out against it. And I’m right there with them.
What to watch out for
I’m not saying all of this to freak you out. But I do think that if you’re using pre-workout, it’s important to put some thought into it. Read the label and look up ingredients you don’t know. Here are a few common ones I would steer clear of:
Excess caffeine: A lot pre-workout products have upwards of 250+ mg of caffeine per serving. Factor your daily cup (or two) of coffee on top of that and you’re quickly hitting or exceeding the FDAs recommended caffeine intake of up to 400 milligrams. It’s important not to shock your system and overload it too quickly.
Beta-alanine: This compound is supposed to help prevent muscle fatigue and soreness. But it also affects your skin. If you’ve ever felt tingly after taking pre-workout, beta-alanine was probably to blame.
Niacin: A.k.a., vitamin B3, niacin does play an important role in your metabolism. But if you’re eating a healthy diet, you should already be getting plenty of it. And the high levels of niacin in pre-workout cause skin flushing, so much so that a lot of people get red patches on their skin.
Creatine: Creatine is a pretty popular fitness supplement because it helps to boost muscle mass and enhance athletic performance. But do you know what else it boosts? Water retention. This is such a common issue that it has a name: creatine bloating.
Citrulline: This amino acid is supposed to help your body build muscle by supplying your muscles with more blood. But it also increases blood flow to your brain, and that extra pressure can cause headaches.
Alternatives to pre-workout
I know there are some people who swear by pre-workout, and I get it. I’m not trying to argue against using what’s available to you to feel your best during your sweat sessions! All I’m trying to say is that there are some natural, much healthier ways to pump yourself up. Some natural energy boosters I use are:
Matcha green tea
Basically, before you reach for that quick fix, consider what your body really needs. A healthy, varied diet makes a HUGE difference in how you feel, both when you’re working out and in general. And eating right doesn’t have to be hard. Don’t forget that we have our LSF nutrition plans and protein + wellness boosts to help!
Plus, I’ll have some more good news on this front coming at you real soon here. Stay tuned!