We have all seen gym goers rushing into the fitness club with a cup of joe in hand, ready to start their caffeine-fueled workout. But is that delicious brew really a good pre-workout drink? Is there any evidence that caffeine can help improve workout performance?
Coffee and other popular caffeine drinks have long been found to stimulate the central nervous system to alleviate tiredness and somnolence. It may also help with exercise performance, as studies have shown that it can increase muscular strength and endurance. As a result, it’s no surprise that athletes commonly use caffeine as a performance enhancer.
How Does Caffeine Impact Exercise Routines?
Caffeine can cause the body to more readily burn fat, allowing glycogen reserves to be conserved and providing the muscles more time to perform before they experience fatigue. This results in longer and less excruciating workouts. Some researchers think that caffeine might directly operate on the muscle through improved power generation efficiency.
Does Caffeine Aid in Weight Loss?
If you go into any grocery or health food store, you will see numerous weight loss products on the shelves. If you look on the back labels, you will likely see caffeine as a key ingredient of the most popular weight loss brands. Caffeine has been shown to be helpful as a part of a broader weight loss program, but to be sure, caffeine isn’t going to help you slim down as a standalone measure. It can modestly increase attempts to reduce weight loss or prevent weight gain, but there is no good evidence that mere ingestion of caffeine causes notable loss of weight. However, if you use caffeine before a workout, you may see that the workout goes more smoothly and that you are quicker to recover from workout soreness and fatigue. This is due to its aiding in the burning of fat before affecting the muscles directly.
How can you make caffeine more effective in your workout routine?
- Have your caffeine drink intentionally. Instead of having it when you first wake up, drink it just a few minutes before your workout. Your body already creates cortisol to wake you up, and cortisol levels are typically highest at around 8:00 or 9:00 AM. If you take your first drink to coordinate with your morning workout, you will get more bang for your buck. It will have a more immediate effect on your energy levels, and you will profit from a more productive workout.
- Have a second cup after your workout. This will help to eliminate any crashes and give your body a chance to build its energy back up. Make sure the second drink is of modest size and sip it slowly. You never want to gulp down a caffeine drink, as it might go straight to your head and cause dizziness or lightheadedness, especially after your body is winding down from an energy rush.
- Don’t drink caffeine after noon. It takes 5-6 hours to eliminate caffeine from your bloodstream, so you may still be a live wire when it is time for bed if you continue to consume after midday.
Using caffeine in a sensible, intentional way can revitalize your day and your workout, allowing you a more productive and efficient use of your body’s energy.