I love just a little bit of caffeine before a quick run or a good lifting session. It almost seems as if we’re addicted to having more energy. Caffeine is found in just about everything anymore. You can obviously get your caffeine in your morning cup of Joe, but you can also find it in energy drinks, teas, supplements, and even chocolate bars with added caffeine. Caffeine seems to help give you a little boost before you hit your workout, but what does it actually do for you?
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, and most of us have used caffeine at one point or another to help stay awake. As far as performance goes, caffeine helps to release free fatty acids into the bloodstream. This spares muscle glycogen and increases the use of fat as a source of fuel. What does this mean for you? This means an increased time to exhaustion when you’re performing your cardio workout. To see this effect in performance, 5mg of caffeine/kg of body weight is necessary. As far as strength training is concerned, there isn’t as much concrete evidence, but it does seem as though there may be some positive benefits there as well! As always, before taking any supplements such as caffeine, check with your healthcare provider! I am not a dietitian nor a doctor!
Caffeine helps you run for longer distances, but let’s be honest, most of us exercise to improve that body composition! We aren’t looking to improve our marathon time from last year! So, is it good for improving body fat percentage as well as distance running and possibly strength? The answer is yes! Releasing those free fatty acids into the blood to be used as fuel helps to improve body composition! Also, caffeine increases thermogenesis. This means that it helps create heat, which burns more calories.
Caffeine does have uses other than waking us up first thing in the morning. It has been proven to help improve endurance performance as well as help burn calories and increase fat use as fuel.
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Mawer, Rudy. “How Caffeine Improves Exercise Performance.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 2016, www.healthline.com/nutrition/caffeine-and-exercise#section8.