It is no secret that exercise plays a important role in maintaining a healthy weight for life as well as achieving weight loss. But is it good to enjoy a cup of coffee before you hit the gym? Experts say that drinking a cup of coffee about one hour before you work out can play an important role in your overall performance.
There has been enough studies done to understand what is it about coffee and caffeine that gets us going. Every drink has it’s share of advantages and disadvantages especially a simple one like coffee and it is still a debatable topic among health and fitness pundits and enthusiasts. Though the science on this is still not proven, research shows that whether you are new to fitness or a pro, one of the pre-workout drinks which is said to be a must-have is coffee and I have personally felt the difference with and without it. Downing a cup of coffee (my choice is always without milk) before your workout gives an awesome energy boost which has been proven time and again.
“Caffeine is a stimulant that acts on the central nervous system, the heart, and possibly the ‘center’ that controls blood pressure,” all of which play a vital role in helping your mind and body push harder in a workout, says Heidi Skolnik, M.S., a sports nutritionist and owner of Nutrition Conditioning, Inc. “It can also increase the release of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine, which effects pain receptors and mood” while you’re working out”. She further states that “Caffeine is quickly absorbed from the stomach within 15 to 45 minutes of consumption, hitting its peak stimulatory effects between 30 and 75 minutes. And, it can also increases the release of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine, which affects pain receptors and mood while you’re working out.”
The main effect of caffeine is to increase alertness which helps to make the workout seem more easy and less painful. It is also said to help the muscles burn more fat. In addition to the energy boost, coffee has been researched to have a load of health benefits which can help you maximize your efforts during a workout. I have personally felt that I can complete more reps at with heavier weights during my weight training sessions.
So when should you drink that cup of coffee?
Ideally one cup of coffee half an hour to one hour before your workout should provide you the push you need during your workout. But this does not mean you should down as much coffee as possible as water should always be your main source of hydration throughout the day. The maximum amount of caffeine recommended for enhancing performance is said to be upto 6 mg per kg body weight, which is about 400 mg per day for weight of 66 Kgs.
Some of the added benefits to adding coffee as your pre workout drink are,
- Accelerates fat loss
- Increases stamina
- Improves performance
- Decreases perceived muscle pain
- Improves focus
As a runner, I also have found it beneficial to have a cup of coffee before my run which helps me run longer and faster. Check out this video to discover the benefits of drinking coffee before a workout.
Drinking coffee has also an added advantage that it helps protect your body from diseases. Coffee contains high amounts of antioxidants, which protect against damage from free radicals and is said to fight against Diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and certain forms of cancer.
While research shows that caffeine can be a great addition to our workout routine, it is understood that it does have its downside which include headaches, insomnia, restlessness, increase in blood pressure and ulcers in the stomach.
What are your thoughts on this topic? I would love to hear from you.
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Video courtesy: Mercola