If you're the type of person who regularly enjoys a cup of coffee in the morning or afternoon, you might be aware of the brain benefits it provides—such as increased cognitive function, productivity levels, memory function and even a decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease—but did you know that caffeine can also improve your physical performance?
When you drink coffee, you're getting a quick fix of the caffeine found in coffee beans, which blocks adenosine receptors in your brain and increases adrenaline, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels. The result? You have more energy during your workout to lift heavier weights or run faster than you could have otherwise done without any stimulation from caffeine! Caffeine acts as an ergogenic aid, which means it improves athletic performance and increases endurance.
Here are the top five reasons to drink coffee before a workout and give you one more reason to thank your caffeine addiction!
1) Enhances Performance, Muscular Endurance & Muscular Strength
Caffeine is actually not just used in your morning cup of coffee. In addition to being found in coffee, caffeine is also found in tea, energy drinks and energy gels. It enhances performance by stimulating neurotransmitters in your brain that are responsible for sending signals between neurons—and it does so quickly.
Muscle stimulation is essential for your body's natural processes that keep your muscles strong, flexible and protected. Muscle contraction requires energy to function, which comes from ATP. The only way to increase ATP levels in muscle cells is by breaking down glycogen stores and converting them into glucose for cellular respiration. By allowing more oxygen into your muscle cells, caffeine helps deliver nutrients to keep them working longer, effectively boosting performance during workouts.
Though it's not exactly breaking news, caffeine is also proven to boost endurance. In fact, there's a good amount of science behind it. More and more studies have shown that caffeine can improve muscular endurance when used in moderation (about 3-5mg per kg of body weight). Essentially, you'll be able to workout longer and get better results from your efforts over time. Plus, if you use caffeine before an aerobic activity like running or swimming—or even for strength training—you should notice improved muscular endurance as well.
Studies have also shown caffeine has been proven to enhance performance through an increase in skeletal muscle blood flow. This effect occurs when caffeine is ingested at moderate doses for short periods of time. Further studies have also concluded that taking caffeine before exercise increases endurance by significantly increasing resistance training capacity.
2) Improves Recovery, Reduces Muscle Soreness & Fatigue
The main reason for consuming caffeine before your workout is that it can improve your post-workout recovery. Caffeine may not completely prevent muscle soreness, but research shows that it can significantly reduce how long it takes you to recover from a workout and lower how much soreness you feel afterwards.
A 2011 study found that just 200 milligrams of caffeine (the amount in about two cups of coffee) could cut muscle pain by 50 percent and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness by 33 percent after exercise. Other studies have found similar results: In one study, cyclists who consumed about 6 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight every day for six days were able to ride longer before exhaustion set in than those who didn't consume any caffeine at all.
3) Boosts Alertness
In case you haven't heard, coffee is filled with caffeine. Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant, which means it can boost alertness and promote mental clarity. In fact, recent research shows that caffeine increases your focus and reaction time. A common misconception is that coffee is only good for waking you up. However, caffeine has been shown to improve cognitive function when consumed in moderate amounts. In one study, research participants who consumed caffeine scored significantly higher on short-term memory tests than those who didn't. Even if you aren't taking a test, it can help your brain focus on its current task. It's like being able to multi-task—you can be actively thinking about work while also focusing on an unrelated task like driving or talking with coworkers. It may sound counter-intuitive but it comes down to attention span—caffeine helps you focus on what's important without getting distracted by other stimuli around you.
*The key here is moderation—consuming too much caffeine can make you feel jittery and cause restlessness at night. For optimum performance, stick to about two cups of coffee per day.
4) Provides Vitamins & Minerals
Studies have shown that coffee is rich in many vitamins and minerals. It contains an array of antioxidants that work as preventatives against chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's. Coffee also has some B vitamins such as niacin, thiamine and riboflavin. It also contains some minerals like manganese, potassium and magnesium. Coffee is also high in chlorogenic acid which helps lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Caffeine's diuretic properties will make you lose water, which makes dehydration from caffeine particularly common. Dehydration can lead to some uncomfortable side effects, including headaches and constipation. If you're not careful and moderate your intake, it can negatively impact performance during physical activity. The best way to avoid this is to drink at least two glasses of water for every cup of coffee or other caffeinated beverage.
5) A Good Coffee just tastes great
There are a lot of different coffee beans out there, and they all taste different. You should find one that you like so you don't get bored with your cup. Look for one that sounds tasty and doesn't have any special preparation requirements beyond grinding it for use in your coffee maker or French press. Try not to let price drive your decision; instead, take tasting notes into account when choosing a bean and spend more money on higher-quality beans if necessary (although cheap ones can sometimes be good).
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Other Caffeine containing products
We have a wide range of products designed for Energy, Hydration and Recovery. Which deliver on Taste, Texture, Performance and now Sustainability. Many of which contain caffeine. For example, KMC Energy Gels contain 100mg of caffeine per serve.