Can Catechins Improve Physical Endurance And Fat Loss For Athletes

Can Catechins Improve Physical Endurance And Fat Loss For Athletes

Green tea is one of the most common thermogenic ingredients, but how does it work?

One of the most popular ingredients in fat burners and thermogenic supplements is green tea extract.

If you’re wondering how green tea works and what it can do for you, check out our ultimate guide to green tea.

LAST UPDATED: March 2019 by Ben.

This article is supported by 8 cited references.

What Is Green Tea Extract?

Green tea itself comes from the same plant as other teas (the Camellia Sinensis).

However, green tea is made from the fresh, young leaves whereas black tea and oolong tea are made from oxidized leaves that have been dried.

There’s no difference between drinking green tea and taking it as a supplement, but of course it’s much easier to take the optimal daily dose through a quality supplement.

The fat-burning potential of green tea extract starts at around 4 cups of strong green tea per day.

Drinking that much green tea would be a challenge – and we want to keep our options open for coffee, right?

So choosing a well dosed green tea extract supplement is the easiest way to use green tea as a fat burner support.


The reason green tea is such a powerful dietary supplement lies in its antioxidant properties.

It is high in polyphenol molecules which help the plant to protect itself against damage.

Green tea is particularly rich in a type of polyphenols called catechins (epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), epi-gallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG) and epicatechin (EC)).

The potent catechin is ECGC, and green tea has a significant amount of this useful catechin.

woman jumping with green tea

How Does Green Tea Help Burn Fat?

The catechins and caffeine in green tea extract act as a stimulant, making you feel more focused and giving you more energy to train harder or do cardio for longer.

This is how green tea supports your energy output so you can create more of a calorie deficit in your day. But there’s more to it than that.

Green tea and caffeine affects thermogenesis synergistically by increasing the body’s noradrenaline levels, increasing the thermic response to food, and inhibiting the phosphodiesterase enzyme.

In addition, green tea can also boost the effectiveness of other fat burning compounds, which is why you’ll find it in so many popular thermogenic products and pre-workouts.

How Much Green Tea Or EGCG To Take?

When dosed at 400-500mg EGCG per day, green tea extract has a positive effect on lipid oxidation and related fat-burning pathways. [1]

So it’s important to check the ECGC content (per dose) of your green tea supplement, or the ECGC levels in any fat burner that lists green tea as an ingredient.

You can try taking higher doses of green tea (around 945mg) which may increase fat oxidisation and oxygen consumption during your workouts – but you might experience some unpleasant side effects (including nausea and an elevated heart rate).

Why not just take an ECGC extract, if that’s the part of green tea that helps burn fat?

Studies suggest that all four catechins within green tea are important for a myriad of health benefits, and some experts think that taking all four is much better than isolating ECGC.

Using Green Tea As A Diet Support

The best way to take green tea as a fat burning dietary support seems to be via a well dosed supplement (green tea capsules are popular and cost effective).

Or look for a thermogenic product or pre-workout which lists green tea and ECGC content per dose.

Remember that green tea extract is a stimulant, so don’t take it too close to bedtime, and watch out for mild side effects like feeling sick.

Side effects are unlikely in low to moderate doses, but might occur if you take high doses of green tea or combine your green tea supplement with another caffeine source.

athletes next to a tea plantation

7 Benefits Of Green Tea

You might choose to take green tea for its fat burning properties, but there are plenty of other potential benefits.

1) Increased fat loss and calorie burning

Green tea extract can boost fat loss thanks to several mechanisms in the body, mainly by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks down catecholamines (chemicals your body produces to burn fat).

This meta analysis carried out in 2009 took a wide look at the role of green tea in regulating body weight [2], and this 2011 study [3] looked at the effects of catechin rich teas (including green tea) on both energy expenditure and fat oxidation.

2) Weight maintenance

Studies have shown that green tea and EGCG have a small but noticeable effect on helping people to maintain weight loss after the initial diet.

So if you’re trying to lean bulk, or stay close to your optimal weight all year round, adding green tea extract to your supplement stack might help.

3) Reduction in DOMS after training

Green tea extract can even help reduce muscle soreness after training, which will have a knock on effect on fat loss (because you’ll be able to train again sooner and be more active in the days after a big session).

Taking time off due to DOMS doesn’t just reduce your calorie output, it can affect NEAT and even limit the amount of lean muscle you gain over the year.

Studies [4] show that green tea extract can have a positive effect on skeletal muscle after eccentric muscle contractions.

In layman’s terms, that means it can help your muscles recover faster from weight training.

4) Faster recovery from training

The antioxidants in green tea can help you recover faster and better from the damage incurred during training.

Some training stress is a good thing (it encourages the body to adapt, getting stronger and bigger).

But too much training stress could lead to over training and even injury, exercise-induced damage and stress.

When you exercise, you damage your muscles and stress your central nervous system. This study – using green tea extract supplementation alongside strength training [5] – showed that green tea extract supports the body’s own defence systems, reducing the amount of damage caused by gym training.

5) Better mood

When you feel good, you are more likely to train – right?

So any supplement that boosts your mood, energy levels, and focus will help you to burn more calories through training.

Studies [6] show that using green tea extract as a supplement can boost mood, reduce feelings of stress and tension, and lead to a better state of mind.

6) Reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Green tea extract helps promote normal blood glucose and levels of insulin (the hormone released into the blood by the pancreas, which moves nutrients including glucose into cells).

Green tea helps the body to use glucose optimally, which lowers your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In 2012, this study [7] looked at the effect of green tea on lipoprotein cholesterol, glucose, and hormone levels in healthy subjects.

7) Lower risk of chronic arthritis

As we get older, we need to keep aches and pains at bay so we can continue to train hard and see results.

Arthritis is just one of the conditions which can threaten our training career as time ticks on.

Green tea has been shown to have a positive effect on your chances of developing arthritis, thanks to it anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

This is because green tea’s polyphenol antioxidants neutralize free radicals.

As a result, green tea can reduce the negative effects of oxidation stress in the body [8] and could be useful in treating your risk of arthritis [9].

Take Away Points

After reviewing some of the available studies regarding green tea and the constituent catechins (EGCG) it is clear that there are many benefits to drinking green tea or taking a green tea supplement.

Over this article we have demonstrated that there are at least several areas whereby your fat mass can be reduced and your athletic performance enhanced; be this through reducing DOMS to improving your defense systems that can help muscle and central nervous system recovery.

Ready to add green tea extract, or a fat burner that contains green tea, to your supplement stack?

For more on green tea fat burning supplements and thermogenics, check out these products.


[1] Effects of green tea and its epigallocatechin (EGCG) content on body weight and fat mass in humans: a systematic review Vázquez Cisneros LC, López-Uriarte P, López-Espinoza A, Navarro Meza M, Espinoza-Gallardo AC, Guzmán Aburto MB. Nutr Hosp. 2017 Jun 5;34(3):731-737. doi: 10.20960/nh.753. Review. Spanish. PMID: 28627214


The effects of green tea on weight loss and weight maintenance: a meta-analysis.

Hursel R, Viechtbauer W, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Int J Obes (Lond). 2009 Sep;33(9):956-61. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2009.135. Epub 2009 Jul 14. Review. PMID: 19597519

[3] The effects of catechin rich teas and caffeine on energy expenditure and fat oxidation: a meta-analysis. Hursel R, Viechtbauer W, Dulloo AG, Tremblay A, Tappy L, Rumpler W, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Obes Rev. 2011 Jul;12(7):e573-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00862.x. Epub 2011 Mar 2. Review. PMID: 21366839

[4] Intramuscular adaptations to eccentric exercise and antioxidant supplementation. Kerksick CM, Kreider RB, Willoughby DS. Amino Acids. 2010 Jun;39(1):219-32. doi: 10.1007/s00726-009-0432-7. Epub 2009 Dec 5. PMID: 19967420

[5] Green tea extract supplementation gives protection against exercise-induced oxidative damage in healthy men. Jówko E, Sacharuk J, Balasińska B, Ostaszewski P, Charmas M, Charmas R. Nutr Res. 2011 Nov;31(11):813-21. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2011.09.020. PMID: 22118751

[6] Effects of dietary supplementation with the green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate on insulin resistance and associated metabolic risk factors: randomized controlled trial. Brown AL, Lane J, Coverly J, Stocks J, Jackson S, Stephen A, Bluck L, Coward A, Hendrickx H. Br J Nutr. 2009 Mar;101(6):886-94. doi: 10.1017/S0007114508047727. Epub 2008 Aug 19. PMID: 18710606

[7] Effect of 2-month controlled green tea intervention on lipoprotein cholesterol, glucose, and hormone levels in healthy postmenopausal women. Wu AH, Spicer D, Stanczyk FZ, Tseng CC, Yang CS, Pike MC. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2012 Mar;5(3):393-402. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-11-0407. Epub 2012 Jan 13. PMID: 22246619

[8] Green tea supplementation affects body weight, lipids, and lipid peroxidation in obese subjects with metabolic syndrome. Basu A, Sanchez K, Leyva MJ, Wu M, Betts NM, Aston CE, Lyons TJ. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Feb;29(1):31-40. PMID: 20595643

[9] Prevention of collagen-induced arthritis in mice by a polyphenolic fraction from green tea. Haqqi TM, Anthony DD, Gupta S, Ahmad N, Lee MS, Kumar GK, Mukhtar H. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Apr 13;96(8):4524-9. PMID: 10200295

Rating: 5
Green tea and athletic performance
Article Name
Green tea and athletic performance
We look at how the catechins found in green tea can improve performance.

Ben BA(Hons), PGCert

Ben established this site to be a free resource in 2015. Since then it has gained over half a million visits. He has always been interested in sport and he started playing rugby at the age of 6 represented his town, county and school. Ben also enjoys cycling, has started skiing and is in the Army Reserve representing his Regiment as part of the 150 Regimental Shooting Team. He holds a bachelor's and postgraduate degree in sport exercise & nutrition.

4 thoughts on “Can Catechins Improve Physical Endurance And Fat Loss For Athletes

  1. Interesting article, thanks for the info.

    Think I need to swap my morning cup of Yorkshire tea to Green.

    Rating: 5
    1. Definitely give Green Tea a go, but I know just how rousing a cup of Yorkshire tea can be in the morning!

      Thanks for the comments.

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