The Verdict on Green Tea & Fat Burning

2010Hopefully you’re a couple days into your Transformation. I recorded a great call for you here:

Click here for this week’s fat loss podcast

Now the first thing we talked about was goal setting. Here’s what I want you to do…

Write down your goals

  • 3 short term
  • 3 long term

And you should do this for not only your transformation, but also other areas of your life, including financial, relationships, etc.craig ballantyne

Personally, some of my long term goals for this year include:

  1. Getting my weight back up to 195 (pic is of me at 194 in 2006 in Dubai)
  2. Getting my deadlift up to 455
  3. And reading 100 books

I also have plans to move to NYC, visit more of Europe, and create 25 TT programs, and more.

Check out all of my big plans here & the new TT workouts here

Now let’s get back to your transformation tips…female figure competition

Monday – Jan 4th

Transformation Tip: 7 Tips for Success

1. Sit down and plan out your complete body transformation – everything from end goals, to getting started with nutrition changes, to overcoming all of the obstacles in your way. Sit and daydream about this for 15-30 minutes.

2. Spend time planning your workouts to save you time when you go to do you workouts.

3. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not having a plan. That leads to wasted time (“what should I do today”) and no results.

4. Surround yourself with social support to have people do the work for you. Surround yourself with people who are smarter and fitter than you.

5. Script your day.

6. Be ruthless with your time. Time spent on cardio robs your family of you.

7. Get in to your workout, get out, and get on with your life.

Click here for more tips on how to do the body transformation contest

Alright, so crazy time of the year in the gym…well, no worries, here’s the quick workoutssolution.

The TT 15-Minute Express Workouts

You can do these workouts at home. I highly recommend getting a gymboss interval timer for this program.

Beginner Workout A

  • Start every workout by going through the circuit once at a moderate intensity.
  • Perform the workouts as circuits doing one exercise immediately after another.
  • Do not rest between exercises or before repeating the circuits.
  • Train conservatively and do not hesitate to take rest if needed.
  • Repeat the circuit workout as many times as possible in 15 minutes.
  • Do each exercise at a controlled pace, taking 2 seconds to lower your body or lower the weight, and 1 second to return to the start position.
  • Do each exercise for 30 seconds and then switch. For single leg exercises, do 30 seconds on one leg and then 30 seconds for the other leg.

Workout A

  1. Stability Ball Leg Curl – 30 seconds
  2. Kneeling Pushup – 30 seconds
  3. W & T on Ball – 30 seconds each exercise
  4. 1-leg Hip Extension – 30 seconds each side
  5. Plank – 30 seconds
  6. Jumping Jacks – 30 seconds

Finish with static stretching.

Here’s a video of W’s and T’s (along with Y’s, I’s, and L’s)…

30 minutes of fun activity and now let’s look at the verdict on Green Tea and fat loss…

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 91, No. 1, 73-81, January 2010
Effect of green tea catechins with or without caffeine on anthropometric measures: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

  • Researchers reviewed 15 Green Tea studies.
  • GTCs (Green Tea catechins – the supposed metabolism boosting component of Green Tea) helped reduce bodyweight an average of 3 pounds in the studies – HOWEVER – this only worked when the GTC’s where combined with caffeine.
  • Studies that evaluated GTCs WITHOUT caffeine did NOT show benefits.

Therefore, in THEORY, if you combined enough GTC’s with caffeine, you might lose more fat…

The researchers concluded…

1) The clinical significance of these reductions is modest at best.

2) Current data do not suggest that GTCs alone positively alter anthropometric measurements.

And my conclusions are:

1) The results are not that impressive.

2) If your Green Tea supplement is caffeine-free, it definitely won’t work. Green Tea catechins do NOT work unless combined with caffeine.

3) You never really know how much GTC’s are in the supplements you buy…do they put in a “pinch” or the necessary dose for results?

Interesting stuff…let me know if you’ve had success with Green Tea and fat loss.


Beginner Express Workout B

Remember: Start every workout by going through the circuit once at a moderate intensity.dumbbell row

  1. BW Squat or Lying Hip Extension – 30 seconds
  2. Dumbbell (DB) Chest Press – 30 seconds
  3. DB Row – 30 seconds per side
  4. Step-up – 30 seconds per side
  5. Side Plank – 30 seconds per side
  6. Run in Place – 30 seconds

Finish with static stretching.

30 minutes of fun activity – to keep you mentally healthy as well.

Br J Sports Med 2009happy_people
Dose-response relationship between physical activity and mental health

UK researchers wanted to see how important physical activity is for better mental health. They studied 19842 men and women and found:

  • Any form of daily physical activity was associated with a lower risk of psychological distress.
  • The more activity you did, the greater the reduction in distress.
  • And while low-intensity activities like housework and gardening helped, the best results were from sports.

So get vigorous activity with friends and you’ll be happier and less stressed.

Friday images

Beginner TT Express Workout C

  1. Prisoner Squat – 30 seconds
  2. Kneeling Close-Grip Pushup – 30 seconds
  3. DB Rear-Deltoid Raise – 30 seconds
  4. 2-leg Stability Ball Hip Extension – 30 seconds
  5. Bird Dog – 30 seconds
  6. Jumping Jacks – 30 seconds

Finish with static stretching.

Social Support Saturday!
Get 30 minutes of fun activity, and then have a friend to help you take ese_mikeandjulietmeasurements.

I askedBrad Pilon, author of Eat Stop Eat, for the #1 thing he learned in 2009, and he said:

“This year the main thing I learned was that you can’t judge results by scale weight.

You HAVE to record circumferences if you want to know whether you are improving.

Use circumferences to judge your progress.

Also, if you are not making progress… change something. Don’t keep doing what your doing…”

Great advice.

So get a friend, get a tape measure, and get records. Get pictures. Get your weight. And maybe body fat. But that’s in order of importance…

Sunday – Plan, Shop & Prepare
Do your 30 minutes activity and then plan, shop, & prepare…

One food I’ve added recently to my mainly vegetarian diet have been “Organic Sunshine Burgers” (250 calories, 8g protein, 15g fat per burger)…here’s the ingredient list:

– organic raw sunflower seeds, organic brown rice, organic carrots, organic black beans, organic bell peppers, organic cilantro, organic garlic, organic jalapeno peppers, organic ground cumin seeds, organic onion, sea salt

Pretty good stuff.

That’s it for this week, so Happy New Year…fat burning

Next week!
TT 15-min express – Advanced
New Research – Milk, resistance training & fat loss!

Until then, stay strong and start transforming,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Creator, TT Transformation Contests

  • Alexandra

    Hello! Those Sunshine Burgers are delicious and you can’t beat the nutrution factor. I’ve tried all the flavors and my favorite is the original – sunflower seeds, brown rice, veggies, herbs and spices.

    You wrote that you want to get back up to 195 lbs; what do you weigh now? Do you think you’ve lost weight on the vegetarian diet?

    • Craig Ballantyne

      183. I have not lost weight with the vegetarian diet.

  • Adam

    Nice post Craigg! As usual.

    You’ll have no problem reaching your goals, honestly, go stronger. I have faith in you man and I know you can excel even more! The sky isn’t high enough as a limit for setting goals.

    Keep us posted on your progress and I’ll be right with you trying to ‘gain’ healthy weight and new #’s in the gym!

  • K.G. Rao

    A Q on the green tea plus caffeine theory. Is theer any indication in the studies as to whethet the two HAVE to be taken together for the fat loss effect, or can be imbibed hours apart, say, a cup of green tea at breakfast and an after-luch coffee?

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Hi KG, it would need to be taken together, and the amount of GTC’s in one cup of Green Tea is not likely to be enough for an effect.

  • Dawn

    Great info Craig, as usual.
    Re the green tea. A leading development and research nutritional company were miffed due to the lack of good ‘stuff’ (GTCs ?) in their purchased sample from the grower/seller.

    On inquiry they were advised that if they wanted the ‘real deal’ in green tea, they had to ask for it, and pay a heap more for it.

    I bring this to ‘your’ attention as this could side track many good fat loss intentions.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Very interesting Dawn!

  • Kathy

    Glad to hear someone isn’t just jumping on the bandwagon of hype regarding weight loss by using green tea!
    Honestly, that’s all I drink aside from water and yes, I do train and eat clean, and I have not experienced any fat loss by adding this to my daily regimen.

  • sk

    What do you recommend as replacement exercises for those that cannot do the following (due to knee problems): Run in Place, Jumping Jacks, etc. Thanks!

    • Depending on the specifics of your knee problems, I would first try removing the impact from the movements (stand in place and pick up your knees alternately rather than landing with every step; slide to the sides or do skating motions alternately rather than jumping jacks). This will involve the large muscles without the jarring impact. I think that’s the simplest replacement and would work well for stable but restricted knees.

      If your knees are so unstable that even picking up your knees and doing mild lunging and sliding to the sides is a problem, then I think it might be worth considering either sitting variations, or leg exercises using a stationary prop so that you reduce the weight bearing.

      Next, weight swinging movements that emphasize the upper body but require you to use your legs just to help stabilize (club or bell swinging). These will mobilize your whole body but work the legs much more indirectly.

      Finally, remember that you can always use the ground, don’t assume you have to train in a standing position. If your knees are really bad, you can take the weight off them by a wide variety of movements from the ground. Things like bridging, pikes, bicycles, and leg levers of various sorts can involve the whole body and emphasize the legs while putting very little strain on the knees.

      That’s what I would try. Best to you and Happy New Year!

  • Hi Craig,

    Thanks for the post and happy new year to you!

    I’ve been drinking organic leaf green tea at least twice a day, in the morning, for years. And I do think it helps me stay lean. It also gives me energy and I feel clean on the inside (if this makes sense) and light, and helps me think clearly too. Recently, I have started drinking it with filtered and alkalized water (which is all i drink now) and feel even better!

    Been doing your workouts during xmas, and some ashtanga yoga, which has helped me start the new year in great form, so thanks a mill!

    You coming to Ireland on your travels? You are very welcome to stay with me and my husband John. This is a serious offer!



    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you for the offer Anna, and congrats on your results!

  • Kevin blakeley

    What green tea is recommended. I assume most of the normal brands like liptons are loaded with sugar and I think some recommendations would be helpful.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Brewed green tea.

    • susie

      “eat this-not that” recommends Stash Preminum green tea

  • I’ve seen recent research that shows green tea before aerobic exercise does promote weight loss more than if you don’t drink it before.

    Personally, about 3 years ago, I was running about 3 miles every day and drank about 5 cups of dragonwell (not much, if any caffeine) tea. I dropped from 147 to 122 eating a low fat, vegan diet. Never counted calories, never hungry. But I felt at my age and circumstances it would be better to cut back running to every other day. Did my first half marathon this year (57) no problems, great easy recovery. However, when I began decreasing weekly mileage, my weight gradually crept back up to 130, which is where it has stayed, with a slight muffin top 😉 for the past 2 years. Nothing I do seems to get it back to 122, including increasing protein and tea. Teavana and maybe some other companies, actually did attempt to calculate how much caffeine was in their teas. I race a lot, place in my age group locally, but my observation is that there are women in my age group who easily weigh 110 or less, race faster and seem to keep the weight down with one thing in common: more running than me on a weekly basis. Fascinating subject…definitely needs more research if anyone out there is listening.

    I’ve used tea with higher caffeine, but definitely notice the side effects…more jitters, heart palpitations and headache withdrawals. Thanks for posting!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Very interesting, thanks Ellen

  • Trish

    I had been drinking 2-3 cups of green tea a day, without any noticeable fat loss, but with did enjoy a good energy boost. I donate blood every 8 weeks and my latest attempt was not possible because my iron was too low. This had never happen previously, so I was a bit stumped since my diet had not changed. After discussions with the staff and reviewing the literature they give you regarding low iron, I learned that the tanins in tea can block the absorption of iron in your body. Just something to consider for the women out there, since iron deficiency can be a common problem.

    Thanks for all the great info Craig!

    • Kathy

      Wow! Never heard this before about the association of iron and green tea but it hit home for me. My iron levels have been so low and I couldn’t find any answers as to why nor could I get any results even with eating foods known to contain iron…my body was not absorpting it! THANKS SO MUCH! I will definitely switch to herbal teas and see what happens.

      • Trish

        Kathy, be careful because herbal teas can contain tannins also. I believe that the darker the tea and the longer you steep the bag, the more tannins it contains, as the tannins give tea its color. Moderation is definitely the key here, because a cup a day should not effect you. It’s when people consume several cups in attempt to get the fat burning effect.

  • I am also trying to slowly wean myself away from coffee and switching to green tea. I am now less prone to have palpitations, thank goodness.

  • aseem tiwari


    I’ve been drinking green tea for over 5 years now and it definitely helps me stay lean and clean. I’ve tried to test my body without it for a couple of months here and there and I made a difference with me. I also drink coffee. Say, I may have a cup or two of coffee and drink green tea an hour or two after. Perhaps that mix has worked for me.
    Another way I’ve used green tea is to have a cup immediately after meals. If I eat a poor or greasy meal, or especially sweets, I follow it up with a cup. I really think following up junk with green tea helps. What do you think Craig?

  • Nat

    Hey Craig,

    I’ve really been enjoying your emails over the past few months. Good luck in NYC.

    • Craig Ballantyne


  • Chris

    But caffeine is naturally occurring IN green tea! Does this mean that when they took it all apart to test the different bits it didn’t work? And when you put it all back together again and consume it as a ‘whole food’ it DOES work? Forgive me if I’m not too surprised…

    I found my cholesterol lowered a lot (and is still low) after one half-year or so when I was consuming lots of green tea. I couldn’t identify any other variable at the time, there was nothing else I noticed that had changed, so I attributed the lowering of my cholesterol to the consumption of brewed, whole leaf, green tea. Which I had heard could have that effect anyway. Didn’t notice a change to my fat storage, but I wasn’t concerned about that…

  • Alexander Boxall

    Just out of interest, are there really any natural herbal supplements that genuinely work for fat loss? I’ve noticed that many of the major companies now provide a “caffeine-free” version, but from anecdotal evidence, along with this study you have shown here, caffeine appears to play a major role in the actual usefulness of Green Tea (normally the main ingredient in these fat loss supplements).
    Without going back to the now illegal combination of Ephedrine-Caffeine-Aspirin, are there any supplements that can actually help with fat loss, and if there are, are they normally best left for those last stubborn few lbs? Is there any point taking these supplements at the very start of your weight loss?

    Thanks for all the insight and tips you provide!


    • Craig Ballantyne

      Hi Alex, I strongly believe there are no herbal supplements currently available that work.

      The only way that one could work is if it suppressed appetite.

      Nothing can boost metabolism enough to have an effect, in my opinion.

      After all, if long, slow cardio that burns hundreds of calories barely works – if at all – how could a supplement burn enough calories to cause fat loss?

      Those are my thoughts.

    • Dawn

      I don’t know of any herbal brews, however I do have some friends who swear by this

      My understanding from them is that its the only fat loss brew that has been clinically tested.

  • E-ROC

    Most caffeinated items used in conjunction with a good routine would produce results. I drink decaffeinated green tea for the antioxidants (always plus). Green tea (decaffeinated or not) helps suppress one’s appetite. I wonder if that aspect was taken in consideration for that study.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      I don’t think there is any evidence that green tea suppresses appetite. I would like to see that.

  • Anh

    I just recently started drinking this Japanese Green Tea I bought from Costco. I noticed that whether I drink it before my meal, during meal, or even after meal, it did indeed curbed my appetite. I didn’t not like skipping meals because the body needs nutrients for our muscles, cells, blood, etc. Unfortunately, this green tea did suppressed my appetite. I read some where that “CAFFEINE” does curb appetite.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      If caffeine really did curb appetite, we’d have a much smaller obesity problem. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.

      • Anh

        If we are talking about coffee (caffeine), then of course it won’t curb appetite if people put sugar, cream, etc. They increased the calories, and sugar spike your insulin and makes you store fat.

  • Amy

    the whole green tea drink doesn’t seem to help me at all. maybe the person who had a change due to the start of the green tea at meals needs to consider the other changes. what were you drinking before the tea at meals? maybe another type of drink. maybe with that gone, your cravings decreased making it seem as though the green tea worked.

    to the person (57) above about the running 3 miles a day and them decreasing….. to considerations that i’d love the hear craigs thoughts on. first would it be better to increase your muscle mass with wieghts to aid in burning more calories, esp on off days? as you become more experienced( vs older) you loose so much more muscle mass that this is much more important than the toll that the body takes with running.

    second – on the day you are no longer running, i’ve read info on how walking fast can do just as much calorie burning and can decrease harsh toll on knees, hips, and back. you must concentrate to keep up the fast almost running i think?????

    • Anh

      I drank many brands of green tea in the past, even Lipton green tea. When I drank the KIRKLAND Japanese Green Tea I bought from COSTCO, it has a much darker green like the kinds you see at a Sushi restaurant. In my opinons, if the green tea is not a dark green when you pour hot water to it, then you got a cheap imitation green tea.

      In response to your question, “what were you drinking before the tea at meals? maybe another type of drink. ”

      I only drink water for the past 2 years. I don’t drink, milk, juice, sodas, energy drink, etc. Only water. I have a verocious appetite and can eat like there is no tomorrow. But noticed that when I drink this green tea it curbed my appetite. I stopped for a week then started consuming it and again it curbed my appetite. I guess it works for some people and not others. My body type is an “Endomorph”.

  • hi, craig…
    i really like this article..
    i worked in a sushi restaurant before..
    n the crews who worked there are allowed to drink green tea as much as we wanted to..
    it was even served for free to the customers..
    the taste of the original green tea was really great..
    we all love it..
    however, i didn’t know that by combining green tea with caffeine it can help to lose weight..
    but how are we going to combine those two?
    drinking green tea n coffee at the same time? haha..sorry if i guess it wrongly..
    drinking coffee or tea is also my favourite..
    and more thing i would like to ask, i’m not a vegetarian and i don’t eat vegetables at all, would that be ok??
    i would be very glad if you can give me any suggestion or comment for this kind of eating lifestyle of mine..
    anyway, thanks for all the newsletter you have sent..all of them are very useful..

  • Julian

    Hello Craig!
    I have for so long been thinking about green tea and its effect.
    And then the mail came in : Green Tea Research…..
    But i still have a few questions.
    I like the taste from a cup of green tea, so i drink it without sugar, sweetener etc.
    but can’t help wondering, green tea AND coffein? How does that work together?
    I was thinking some sort of Coffein pills in the tea, but i really don’t think that is the ideally way to do it?

    Regards Julian.

    P.S Happy newyear everyone! 🙂

  • the key to remember is everyone’s body is not the same and people will react differently to each fat burning tip. It is very important to be patient and see how your body handles the various ways to burn fat.

  • Green tea minimizes the risk of having hypertension. Add a tsp. of dried cinnamon powder to a cup of teas and have a cup full twice or three times a day.