Guayaki Yerba Mate
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Darrin Moreira is a North Vancouver-based personal fitness coach who uses Guayaki Yerba Mate in a number of his recipes. Learn more about him at

As a fitness professional, one thing that I often hear from customers is that they don’t want to be taking in extra calories when they are trying to create a calorie deficit to lose weight. Consequently, a pre-workout meal often gets overlooked.

These are all the basic ingredients that you’d need to prepare a whole array of different drinks or gels. I have a 25 kilometer (15.5 mile) trail race coming up, so I’ll explain how I prepare a drink for that event. Ingredients for pre-workout recipe

Basic ingredients:

  • Guayaki Yerba Mate
  • Agave Nectar
  • Coconut oil
  • Dates
  • Hemp or rice protein powder
  • Chia
  • Lemons
  • Salt
  • Coconut water

Recipe for a 25 kilometer / 15.5 mile race

In a blender, process:

  • 1 large date
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 10-13 grams of protein powder (depending on what brand you use this should be about half a scoop)
  • Juice from half a lemon + zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • Brewed Guayaki Yerba Mate (1-2 table spoons loose leaf) with as much water as desired.

Nutritional information (approximate)

Calories 210

36 grams carbohydrates

12 grams of protein

2 grams of fat

I generally just throw the mate leaves in the blender with the other stuff, but if that doesn’t work with your pallet, you can steep with water and let it cool — then use the prepared drink instead of water.

These drinks can be altered in various ways. For instance, I might add coconut water instead of agave to boost the electrolyte content or throw in some chia to add fibre and omega-3 fatty acids to make the energy release even slower. For a short workout, I might just have a cup of yerba mate with a date or mate with coconut water.

The dates provide you with almost pure glucose with gets absorbed into your blood stream right away to provide energy. The agave is mostly fructose which is a simple sugar (like glucose) but it doesn’t get absorbed as quickly so it will be released after the glucose has been used up. The coconut oil is a saturated fat. Convention tells us that this is a no go. However, the medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil are absorbed very quickly and used for energy much the same way as glucose. The protein used now will help speed recovery later on after the workout as well as prolong the release of energy for the race. The lemon and salt both provide electrolytes which will be especially important on an event where you’ll be sweating a lot (the lemon also makes it taste nice.)

The mate will not only provide you with a host of phytonutrients, which aid in long-term health, but they have a stimulating effect. Phytonutrients are non-essential chemicals found in different plant based foods that, while not necessary for life, provide other benefits. This helps with mental focus and as numerous studies suggest, can help you push harder during endurance activities.


That’s just one recipe that can be made for a particular event. In a 25 kilometer / 15.5 mile race, I’ll burn upwards of 1 800 calories (I’m about 73 kilos). And I start out with just 210 calories! Of course, with a race like this I’ll take a second or third drink with me to fuel part way through depending on when I need it. My endurance (during workout food) drinks are about the same as a pre-workout drink.

I really like to use Guayaki because it is sustainably harvested and the quality is unsurpassed. I believe that to properly take care of our bodies, we must, at the same time, take care of the Earth. So I always use what products that I think best fit with this view.

Recipe versus workout in calories

Let’s consider this with a 50 kilogram / 110 pound runner who is going to run for an hour. By running for 10 kilometers on an empty stomach, she will burn 500 calories (to find calories burned while on a steady run, multiply kilometers ran by your mass in kilograms).

Now, let’s assume that she uses a well-designed preworkout drink that contains 70 calories right before her run. In that one hour, she might be able to push a little harder — run 12 kilometers, burning 600 calories in her hour. Though she initially consumed more calories than she might have wanted for that day, she was able to push harder and burn an extra 100 calories. Thus her net calories burned were still greater even though she ate something extra. This example is intended to simplify how consuming a few extra calories may not be a bad thing, please do not take it literally.


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  • Josh Terwoord

    This is great. I do wonder about consuming that much protein right before or during a race or workout. Is that not a bit much to take in without GI distress during exercise?

    • Darrin

      Hi Josh,

      Darrin here. I would speculate that you’d be okay with drinking this or something similar (the protein is easily digested.) That said, it depends a lot on what type of race or workout you’re doing.

      For a longer —steady— event, like a half marathon or marathon, you won’t be going so hard right off the bat that so much protein will be uncomfortable. Basically, the shorter and more intense an event is the more we want to rely on sugar. Conversely, as the event gets longer and longer we will be able to spare more blood flow for digestion of things like protein (in concert with other macronutrients.)