You like it hot…but not this hot. The only way you can get a morning run in that isn’t completely miserable is by leaving before the sun comes up. The only way you can avoid the dreadmill is waking up at 5 am to lace up your running shoes.

In a perfect world you get a cup of tea or two before a workout but, to beat the heat, that’s not always an option. Even getting down much needed breakfast fuel is a challenge when it’s so hot and humid outside. You’re logging your miles but you’re sluggish. You don’t even feel like you’re quite awake until about 20 minutes into the run. You contemplate filling your water bottle with iced tea instead.

You’re on the right track. Tea is the ultimate natural pre-workout drink.

If time is not on your side when it comes to beating the heat or making it to kickboxing class before work, a pre-workout drink can give you some much needed quick energy. What has made my shy away from traditional pre-workouts in the past is they usually contain a lot of other ingredients most women don’t need, like creatine and beta-alanine, and artificial sweeteners.

However the caffeine and anti-oxidants in tea make it the perfect pre-workout drink. I’ve been relying on it for years I to drink a cup or two of pu-erh or whisk up some matcha before a morning workout. I sometimes make yerba mate with lunch to get a little lift before I hit the gym for an afternoon workout. Recently, due to travel and weather, I’ve had to try to some other ways to get my morning tea. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results.

Here are three ways to use tea as your natural pre-workout drink.

Vega Clean Energy

Clean Energy by Vega is the most “traditional” of the pre-workout options yet it doesn’t have so much caffeine that it makes you jittery or extras that makes your skin crawl. It gets its energy from a blend of black and green tea plus coconut palm nectar and brown rice syrup for fuel. Simply add one scoop to water, mix and drink. Since it takes about 20 minutes to kick in, I’ve been drinking it while I get dressed for my morning runs. By the time I go through my warm up routine and eat a hard boiled egg (got to get some protein!) I’m good to go. If you’re new to tea and training for endurance try this one!

Amoda Tea Matcha Fuel

I was so grateful my Matcha Fuel at IDEA World Fitness. I mixed 1 tbsp. of Matcha Fuel with my Emergen-C packet and some water about 15 minutes before my Body Shred workout with Jillian Michaels. The subtle boost from the combo of matcha, maca and ginseng was just what I needed to nail the Rockstar/Donkey Kick Up combo! You can mix it with juice too. Try mixing it with about 2 oz. of tart cherry juice to help kick start your recovery. If you’re more of a tea traditionalist or need something before the gym this is your option!

Invo Coconut Water Sencha Green Tea

I used Invo Coconut Water a couple of mornings to help start my day at IDEA World Fitness. I love the combination of the energizing electrolytes from raw coconut water and green tea to get you ready to WORK. This blend will have less of a boost but the calm alertness will help you focus during hot yoga. With no mixing required, this is your easy button option to drink on the way to an early bootcamp or yoga class.

Is a special pre-workout necessary? No, but it can help if your energy is low. You can still go old school and have a cup or two of something hot on days when you have the time or the weather is cooler. But during the dog days of summer I love getting my pre-workout caffeine from something a little cooler and quicker.

Do you use a pre-workout? Do you tea or coffee to boost your workout?

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