Drinking Coffee For A Better Workout
For some, drinking coffee is just another part of a morning routine to get through the day. For others, it is used as a power source to master a morning routine at the gym. While some people swear by the high-priced chemicals packaged up in shiny containers found in local supplement stores to aide them with their workouts, others find that nothing beats a good ‘ol cup of joe. Here’s why.
Coffee Has That Special Ingredient
A number of gym rats rely on big, expensive tubs of performance-building supplements to power through their workouts, but a number of professional trainers will say that one can get similar benefits from just plain old coffee. That’s because coffee contains the same “magic” ingredient that so many other supplements do – caffeine.
Caffeine can give one a jolt of energy and can help make a particular grueling workout seem like less of a chore. Some gym-goers report that caffeine actually helps to make their workouts easier by giving them a sense of extra energy to push through. It is also believed by many that caffeine can help one’s body coordination while also helping one keep their focus. And they are not alone. Health Magazine reported the conclusions from a study of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism that said “trained athletes who took in caffeine pre-exercise burned about 15 percent more calories for three hours post-exercise, compared to those who ingested a placebo”(OpexFit.com).
What Coffee Doesn’t Have
Pre-workout supplements and exercise go hand-in-hand and therefore one could reason that they are a reliable, safe and healthy addition to any exerciser’s diet. But many are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and so, their safety is questionable. One has to rely on the word of others if a product is “any good.”
In contrast, coffee is simple. It contains virtually no calories (except sugars and creamers if one adds them) and no mysterious additives. But man cannot live by java alone. Nutritionist Megan Medrano of Run Whole Nutrition says, “Your body still needs an adequate amount of carbohydrates, fat, and protein to power through an entire workout. If you want to add coffee to your pre-fueling plan, be sure to add it in addition to your normal meal or snack, not in place of it” (MensHealth.com). One should also be aware of how much water or other liquids one is consuming while working out in order to stay hydrated. Still, with moderate levels of water intake, coffee can be a great boost to any workout!
Coffee is Very Accessible
Another benefit of drinking coffee is how accessible it is. From grocery store shelves to downtown cafes, one can find java just about every corner of the world. But just like those shiny supplement tubs, coffee can be sold in various forms and prices. But one need not have to purchase super expensive beans to get a morning jolt. Hot or cold, any brand will do. For a quick solution to the morning routine, purchase or prepare cold brew coffee a day before and store in the fridge. It features the same benefits, has less acid and is ready to go on a moment’s notice.
When to Partake
The coffee-powered workout does take some planning to get the best results. According to Men’s Health, timing is everything. Despite the fact that some people will experience a surge of energy from the very first sip of coffee, it actually takes some time for the caffeine to travel through one’s system in order to benefit fully from it. Since it is believed that the caffeine concentration will hit its maximum level at about 45 minutes after finishing one’s cup of Java, Tres Dean says that it is best to down a cup of joe about that amount of time before you plan to work out as the effects of the caffeine lessens from there on out.
“So if you hit the weights right around 45 minutes after downing a cup, you’re going to be experiencing the peak of your caffeine buzz before your body has had time to process the supplement,” says Dean.
How Much to Take
Recently, Kelly Plowe from Livestrong.com stated that the British Journal of Sports Medicine advises that one’s caffeine intake should be between three to six milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight, which sounds more complicated than it really is.
“For example, the ‘average’ 8-ounce cup of coffee contains around 100 milligrams of caffeine, so two cups of coffee would provide 200 milligrams, which is three milligrams per kilogram for a 150-pound person,” says Plowe (LiveStrong.com).
Of course, for those who like to plan their workouts later at night, drinking coffee may not be the best pre-workout beverage as the pros of the energy surge may not outweigh the insomnia that potentially could haunt one later when trying to sleep. With that said, every person is different with their own internal clock. If consuming caffeine late at night doesn’t disturb one’s sleeping routine, there is no reason to stop now.
“There may be great variability in tolerance to and metabolism of caffeine,” says Kelly Jones, RD, LDN. “Nutrigenomics research has found that some people are slow metabolizers of caffeine and may not have exercise benefits from ingestion like most people do. Typically, these people will react poorly, with feelings of anxiety and/or a racing heart, or other symptoms that decrease performance.” But a little coffee before a workout is very beneficial for MOST people!
What to Look Out for to Ensure a Positive Experience
The benefits of coffee are numerous from reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease to boasting one’s libido. However, like most things in life, it is best to consume the beverage in moderation. Studies have shown that taking in too much coffee can lead to higher levels of estrogen which can lead to prostatitis (an inflammation of the prostate gland) in men and can make some women a target of a higher risk of breast or ovarian cancer (Macabido.com). The Mayo Clinic also recommends that coffee drinkers limit their intake to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, which is about four cups of coffee. If one goes beyond that, they could experience such side effects like anxiety, a speeding heart rate, stomach upset and headaches.
Coffee can absolutely improve a workout, and will give most people a greater drive during their routine. As long as coffee is not being consumed in large quantities, it is extremely helpful for focus, motivation, energy, and drive!
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