Wake up. Shower. Get dressed. Head to the coffeemaker for some morning energy. This is the routine for people all across the world.
Caffeine use is so common that we often forget about how it can affect our bodies, both positively and negatively. We also tend to ignore the role that caffeine plays in helping or hurting our fitness goals.
What is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a mild stimulant. Its found in tea, coffee, energy drinks, soda, chocolate, you name it. Many people use it to stay mentally alert. Others use it to simply stay awake.
How Does Caffeine Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals?
Caffeine Improves Athletic Performance
For athletes, moderate amounts of caffeine improve performance across a variety of sports. While you may not consider yourself an athlete, if you engage in the 8fit programming, you are an athlete.
In one study, caffeine was shown to improve exercise performance by 11.2% and lowered ratings of perceived exertion by 5.6%.
That means that caffeine can contribute to a more intense, more productive workout.
Caffeine Increases Endurance
Caffeine speeds up the oxidation of fat. This means that it helps your body break fat down into a usable form of energy.
Because of this, it enables your body to save the glycogen from carbohydrates to use later in your workout. These things work together to ensure that you feel less fatigued and exhausted towards the end of your workout.
Caffeine Decreases Muscle Pain
A study of 25 college-age males showed that when individuals ingested 5mg of caffeine per kg of bodyweight before exercise, their reported muscle pain was lower than when they did not ingest caffeine.
This means that a dose of caffeine before your workout may not only help during the workout, but allow you to feel better afterwards as well.
Caffeine Increases Your Metabolism
Research shows that small to moderate amounts of caffeine increases metabolic rate, which means that it speeds up metabolism.
A faster metabolism means that your body burns more calories than it normally would. So, if you’re looking to burn a few extra calories, caffeine is a good way to go.
Caffeine, Appetite and Weight Loss
One study found that increasing coffee and tea consumption was associated with less long-term weight gain.
Caffeine may have an appetite suppressing effect. However, this effect does not generally last long. So while caffeine might offer you a bit of a boost if you’re having a craving, this is short lived.
Overall, caffeine is able to speed up your metabolism, increase fat oxidation, and offer a short appetite suppressing effect. These things alone do not lead to significant weight loss, but they may be able to assist you in your fat burning plan.
Heads Up for your Health
Consult your doctor before taking any stimulants of any kind, including caffeine.
We’re including this article best many people drink coffee, tea and energy drinks. While natural is the best way to go for your body, it’s better to be informed than guessing.
Our intention here isn’t to recommend you take stimulants, but to help you be more aware and make better decisions if you choose to on your own.
Everyone’s body is different. Do your best to avoid all stimulants within 6-8 hours of bedtime. Ideally, only take them if you feel you really need them; caffeine is one way (and not necessarily the best) of achieving several objectives in this articles.
Caffeine and Your Goals
Pre-Workout Performance Booster
Consume 1-3 mg of caffeine per kilogram of bodyweight around an hour before your workout.
Caffeine To Suppress Appetite
If you feel a craving coming on, take a dose of 20-100mg of caffeine (1 cup of tea or coffee) before you feel like you’re starving.
Caffeine To Speed Up Metabolism
Consume up to 300 or 400mg of caffeine 3-4 days per week.
Caffeine’s Law of Diminishing Returns
The more you consume caffeine, the less of an effect it has on your body. These caffeine use strategies will likely not work if you already consume 400mg of caffeine every day. Practice moderation.
If you make the decision to consume caffeine, you must also make the decision of what source you get your caffeine from. Much like any other food or supplement source, it’s best to go as natural as possible.
Good Natural Sources of Caffeine
Tea (black or green)
Natural caffeine supplements
Unfavorable Sources of Caffeine
Chocolate and other candy
Putting it All Together
Much like anything else in life, caffeine has both positive and negative effects. In most cases, if you consume a reasonable amount of caffeine, the positives seem to outweigh the negatives.
Don’t live on caffeine or expect it to shed many unwanted pounds. Use it for a little mental warmup in the mornings, to occasionally suppress appetite and provide a metabolism boost, and before a workout when you want to push yourself.
If you feel you need caffeine or other stimulants, always aim to increase your natural energy so you don’t become dependant.
Keep exercising and keep improving.