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Why is L-Theanine good in pre workouts?

There are many popular pre workout ingredients out in the market. However, once you start researching the many different types, you’ll notice that there are a lot of them that are repeatedly used in different supplements.

Unfortunately, just because an ingredient is commonly used doesn’t mean that they are actually effective. Of course, there are different ingredients used for different things. In the case of L-Theanine, it’s main purpose is to be used along with stimulants – which are commonly used in most pre workout supplements.

Even if you are unfamiliar with stimulants, you still have probably heard of caffeine. Caffeine can be found in food and beverages and has been known to boost your mental and physical energy- which makes going through your workouts a lot easier. Unfortunately, caffeine and other similar ingredients might result in some pretty strong ‘crashes.’

This is where L-Theanine comes in. Caffeine is very commonly used in most pre workout supplements, and most of them would prefer higher doses – for stronger and longer lasting effects. Pairing these strong doses of Caffeine with L-Theanine will help your body handle the strong effects of these powerful stimulants.

What is L-Theanine?


The use of L-Theanine was popularized as more and more stimulants were added into pre workout supplements. It promotes the opposite effects, which to some might sound counter-productive, but actually, it works really well with helping someone not have to deal with the side-effects that comes with consuming stimulants like caffeine.

If you’re a bodybuilder, you are probably familiar with protein and amino acids. L-Theanine is similar, but it is nondietary- which means that it is very difficult to retrieve with a regular diet. It’s also not one of the essential amino acids, so you don’t really need it. Also, unlike the types found in most meats and other protein-packed foods, L-Theanine doesn’t directly help your body build up or maintain lean muscle mass.

You can consume it from some beverages- like green tea, but not in the same doses that you are likely to see in pre workout supplements. Its appearance in green tea is very telling. If you are a regular green tea drinker, then you are probably familiar with its ‘calming’ effects. Of course, the fact that there is caffeine in green tea also promotes greater focus and a buzz of energy that makes you feel more capable of doing the things you need to do.

In a pre workout supplement, L-Theanine is best known for being able to lower your cortisol levels- which reduces the stress that you might build up during workouts. Whereas caffeine is a stimulant, L-Theanine is a ‘relaxant.’ Interestingly enough, this quality doesn’t actually relax your body in the regular way- sleep. In fact, it’s not very good at promoting rest.

The genius lies in what it’s best at doing, which is- no surprise- dampening down the strong effects of stimulants. A mixture of both has been proven to promote a very symbiotic relationship that improves on an individual’s mental focus.

Recommended Dosage

L-Theanine doesn’t require a high dosage for it to be considered effective. However, since it is non-dietary and hard to find in a regular diet, supplementing it becomes important. If you are looking for a non-supplement alternative you can drink green tea, which is a good source of both caffeine and L-Theanine.

However, supplementing it orally in doses from 100-200 milligrams has been shown to be most effective. You’ll likely find L-Theanine at this amount paired with caffeine in the more popular and well-formulated supplements.  

Studies involving the use of L-Theanine

L-Theanine Study

L-Theanine is known to affect the mind most. It’s not a subtle effect either, the brain is directly affected by L-Theanine. Taking L-Theanine has been proven to relax the mind- again, it does so without actually promoting sleep. In certain teas, it can promote these same effects for as low as 20 milligrams.

Which is why certain studies are being done in order to understand its effectiveness with larger doses. Said studies were conducted on healthy individuals, and their brain frequencies were observed in time periods ranging from 45 to 105 minutes.

The results of these studies proved that “… there was a greater increase in alpha activity across time” and showed “…a significant effect on the general state of mental alertness or arousal.”

Does it Work?

Many have probably side-eyed the use of L-Theanine in pre workout supplements. After all, why would you take something that is known to be a ‘relaxant?’ The answer sounds so surreal that many would probably still deny its effectiveness- despite the numerous research that has been done to prove its symbiotic relationship with stimulants.

If you’re not new to the world of pre workout supplements, then you are probably familiar with Caffeine. If you’ve taken supplements high in caffeine before, you have probably experienced the ‘jitters’ and the ‘crashes’ that comes along with high doses of it. This effect is dampened with the use of L-Theanine.

It seems a touch convenient. There aren’t many things in the fitness community that is known to work so well in the department that it promises to be most effective in. The fact that L-Theanine is so effective is more unusual than one would think. It’s so unusual that it’s a bit hard to believe- even after having read the results of the available research.

Best Pre Workout with L-Theanine and no side effects: 4 Gauge Pre Workout



Of course, there is a time and place that L-Theanine is meant to be used. Outside of its effectiveness when paired with caffeine, it doesn’t really do much to directly affect the rate in which one builds up muscles.

Which means, that it’s a very good ingredient when used properly and paire with the right ingredients. The most common way to consume L-Theanine is by regularly drinking Tea, which should provide enough to boost an individual’s levels of relaxation and focus. However, if you’re hoping to use it in a way that will boost your performance levels when working out- then supplements are the best way to go.


  1. Asia Pac J L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296328

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