You may not think much about your cup of coffee. Sure, it gets you ready for the day, but what more can coffee do?
Well, you have to ask this question to athletes and fitness freaks! According to research, coffee or caffeine has a number of advantages for athletic performance. From boosting energy to expediting recovery, it can do wonders for your workouts and fitness goals. Naturally, you will find the magic ingredient in almost all pre-workouts and fat burners.
Today, we will discuss 5 factors that make caffeine one of the best choices as a pre-workout supplement.
But first, let’s give you an idea of how this thing works!
How Caffeine Affects Our Physiology
The substance in your coffee is a legal psychoactive drug. If you consume too much caffeine, you will get a kick or rush of energy, similar to drugs like amphetamine.
However, it’s all-natural and doesn’t have negative effects unless consumed in excess.
Now, let’s see what happens when you drink a cup of coffee.
All of us know we get alert, focused, and active after consuming coffee. These effects are the result of the inhibitory effects of caffeine on neurotransmitters called adenosine.
You see, adenosines excite the neurons in our brain and lead to fatigue. Caffeine reduces the activities of adenosines and makes you alert and awake.
The stuff in your coffee even boosts the activities of dopamine, our “feel-good” hormone. As a result, you also feel a change in your mood for the better.
According to Healthline, caffeine also-
Apart from the above, you can also add many health benefits like reducing risks of cancer, kidney stones, stroke, and diabetes.
Next, we will see why the popular stimulant is so popular as a pre-workout.
5 Reasons Why Caffeine is the Best Pre-Workout
1. Boosts Athletic Performance
You can find endless studies and evidence on how coffee can increase athletic performance. A study that came out in the International Society of Sports Nutrition specifically said-
Caffeine enhances performance when taken in low and medium dosages
This is true for both athletic performance and endurance. Healthline notes the positive effects of coffee on both endurance performance and high-intensity exercises.
When you drink the magic ingredient, your muscles start conserving glycogen. Now, glycogen is what fuels our muscles to carry out various tasks, like working out.
Caffeine uses our fat cells to create energy and conserves the muscle glycogen stores. Preserving the glycogen in the initial 10 – 15-minutes of exercise helps you-
- Work out longer and harder
- Delay fatigue
- Increases your reps and weights
What Research Says
Research on coffee and its content shows the same performance-enhancing effects. In one study, participants taking caffeine covered up to 2 miles more than the placebo group.
In comparison with carbs, caffeine can increase workload and endurance of athletes. The effect is more prominent on trained athletes than beginners.
In one study, trained swimmers on caffeine outperformed novices reflecting the increase in power.
According to research, coffee can even make exercise feel less challenging and intense. This is represented as the rate of perceived exertion (RPE). In studies, athletes taking caffeine had lower RPE scores than placebo.
You can also benefit from your cup of coffee if you are a sportsperson. According to Healthline, the wonder stuff can improve performance in sports like rugby, rowing, cycling, and soccer.
2. Enhances Focus and Alertness
We have all experienced this effect of coffee in our personal lives. A cup of coffee helps you push through loads of files, get those emails sent, and motivates you to clean your room.
The same effects are also visible in athletes that allow them to work out efficiently.
What Research Says
Scientists at Harvard Medical School feels the same. They agree coffee can boost energy and improve mental performance. Your thinking becomes sharp, helping you make your workouts more productive.
In one study, ruby players taking caffeine had higher passing accuracy than the placebo group.
A cup of coffee can even increase the activity of our brain’s prefrontal lobe. This area of our brain is associated with concentration, strategizing, and attention. As a result, you can focus much better on your exercise and do the needful to achieve your fitness goals.
Caffeine can even increase focus by stimulating our central nervous system.
According to researchers, you can get all these cool benefits just by drinking 2 cups of black coffee each day!
3. Revs Up Your Metabolism and Fat Burning
For beginners, coffee can really boost your metabolism and calorie-burning capabilities. Your metabolic rate stays high, and you can burn fat throughout the day. Coffee makes our bodies go into thermogenesis and produce heat by burning fat.
What Research Says
There is no dearth of research on the fat-burning capabilities of coffee.
In one study, participants spiked the release of stored fat by 30% after taking the ingredient before exercise. Other researchers found the same effect to also happen post-workout.
You can also lose fat actively during exercise by using caffeine. This is why most pre-workouts contain the ingredient to help build lean muscles without any fat.
4. Caffeine can Bring Down Muscle Pain
According to TrainingPeaks, coffee can make a difference in your recovery. This, again, has to do with the preservation of muscle glycogen stores.
TrainingPeak mentions a study where researchers gave participants either caffeine drinks or a carb + caffeine drink. The group which took the combination drink increased muscle glycogen stores by 66% than the other group.
As a result, athletes can quicken their recovery and boost energy for their next workout. Along with improving recovery, caffeine can also reduce muscle soreness.
What Research Says
Research seems to go along with the findings of experts. Caffeine has been found to reduce muscle soreness by a massive 50% in studies. You can now be less worried about DOMS ruining your workout sessions.
Researchers of another study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning also point in the same direction.
In short, your cup of coffee can expedite your recovery and even cut down muscle pain.
5. Helps Prevent Many Diseases
You can count yourself out of many diseases and disorders by drinking coffee. The high antioxidants in the drink combat harmful free radicals that damage our cells. As a result, you have less risks of developing illnesses and can even lower inflammations.
Specifically, coffee can help to prevent diseases like-
- Various types of cancers
- Parkinson’s disease
Coffee may also have a beneficial impact on your heart health.
Ideal Dosage of Caffeine
Caffeine is available in coffee, chocolate, energy drinks, and many other food items. However, there is a safe dosage limit for avoiding any unpleasant effects.
You should take about 3 – 6-mg of caffeine per kilo of body weight. For an average person, 300 – 400-mg will do the trick. Some pro athletes take a higher dose of about 400 -900-mg.
It’s best to start with a low dose and slowly work your way upwards if needed. You can try 150 – 200-mg initially and then increase your dose.
Athletes who take pre-workout supplements should stick to the recommended dosage.
Note: Taking caffeine regularly builds up a tolerance. That means you will need to take more coffee to get the desired results over time. So, it’s always best to start with a low dose.
Caffeine seems to be the perfect thing to get ready for your workouts. It increases energy and power, making you add to your reps and weight.
You can exercise harder and longer, and keep fatigue at bay for an extended time. The wonder ingredient even enhances mental alertness and helps you focus better on your exercising. Ultimately, you can also stay free from many diseases, thanks to coffee.
Remember to keep your intake within limits to enjoy the best results of caffeine.
Is caffeine a good pre-workout supplement?
Caffeine improves athletic performance. It also improves mental focus and alertness. The ingredient even helps you burn more calories and reduce muscle pain. So yes, caffeine is a good and safe pre-workout.
Does coffee break a fast?
Coffee has very few calories that don’t make any noticeable difference to your fasting. You can safely drink coffee while you are fasting. It may even help you burn some body fat.
Is caffeine bad for kidneys?
Coffee is safe for your kidneys. Any healthy person will be able to rink 3 – 4-cups of coffee a day without any problems or fear of kidney damage. However, it’s always best to drink moderate amounts of coffee as we develop tolerance to it.
How much caffeine is too much?
Healthy people will be okay with 400 – 500mg of caffeine on a daily basis. That is the amount you will drink in 4 – 5-cups of coffee. Do note that the actual caffeine content differs from one supplement to another. So keep an eye on how many milligrams of caffeine your supplement packs.
How long does caffeine take to completely clear out of your system?
Caffeine can stay in our bodies for a long time. We eliminate half of the caffeine we take in 3 – 5-hours. The other half stays in our system for a long time. Don’t drink coffee after evening if you find it difficult to fall asleep.
Does caffeine raise blood pressure?
Yes. Caffeine can increase your blood pressure for a short time, like 3 hours. Consult your doctor if you have high blood pressure before taking caffeine.