4 Ways that Caffeine Can Improve Your Training
Caffeine is utilized and consumed across the globe and has a heavy influence in many cultures and countries. For example, in America, an estimated 85% of adults use caffeine every single day in some form or another. From coffees, teas, sodas, energy drinks, candies, supplements and more – there is no shortage of delivery methods for the most popular drug in America. Most people are probably aware of the effects of caffeine, such as waking you up or increasing attention and mental alertness, but did you know how caffeine could benefit you during sports and exercise?
1. Increased Performance & Endurance
The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reviewed 29 independent studies to determine if caffeine acted as a performance benefit. In 11 out of 17 of those studies, caffeine ingestion suggested a significant improvement in performance during exercise.
One of those studies read, “… ergogenic caffeine doses for short-term high-intensity exercise were ingested as gum or as part of a supplement.” For resistance training, sprinting, or activities simulating team sports, the study mentioned that caffeine in a capsule or supplement was shown to be ergogenic.
Ergogenic (adjective): substance to enhance physical performance
Another study, on the National Institute of Health’s website, tested the effects of caffeine in comparison to carbohydrates in cyclists. During this study, the group that received caffeine seemed to increase their workload by 7.4%, compared to 5.2% in the group that received carbohydrates instead of caffeine. Based on these studies, it can be concluded that caffeine can be a great boost for your workout and help push you that extra mile to show improvements or make gains.
Supplementing your pre-workout with your caffeine method of choice can help pump you up mentally and physically! Studies, like the one below, show that it can also increase your results.
2. Assist with Results
In addition to increasing your performance and endurance during a workout, caffeine can also help to see results. According to a study published by the Journal of Applied Physiology, “…consuming caffeine before and after a bout of moderate exercise increased [Energy Expenditure] and fat oxidation while improving exercise enjoyment.” Caffeine has also shown to increase heat production, or thermogenesis, which can assist with burning calories that can in turn help you see results, according to this study from the National Institute of Health’s website. With its abilities to increase calorie and fat burning, it is no wonder caffeine is typically a main ingredient in diet and weight-loss supplements.
3. Reduce Post-Workout Pain
Caffeine use has been shown to reduce muscle pain and soreness post-workout. Whether you are using muscles that you have never targeted before, or you are getting back into the swing of things, we all know that familiar soreness that comes on the next day or two.
This study, conducted by the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Georgia, found that a moderate dose of caffeine has the potential to alleviate post-workout pain by 48% in women.
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4. Promotes Mental Clarity and Focus
Last but certainly not least, caffeine can contribute to making you more alert and better able to focus on your workout. Used in a similar way for when you are trying to shake the weekend off while on your Monday morning commute, ingesting caffeine prior to a workout or sports game can help clear the brain fog and help you stay on track. This can help when learning a new exercise routine, or give you the focus for when you are practicing to beat your fastest time on the track.
Caffeine can improve simple cognitive functions like reaction times and staying focused on tasks that you may deem “boring”. Caffeine can also increase short-term memory, attention, and physical motivation when fatigued. So next time you are having a hard time finding the motivation to get off the couch and train, try adding caffeine to your routine and help your performance and results while you’re at it.
With all of these beneficial properties of caffeine when used with exercise or sports, its no wonder that there are so many different products on the market containing caffeine, and why humans have been using it for so long! Whatever your preferred delivery method, you can reap the beneficial properties from adding it into your workout routine!
A review of caffeine's effects on cognitive, physical and occupational performance. (2016, September 06). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763416300690#bib1085
Astrup, A., Toubro, S., Cannon, S., Hein, P., Breum, L., & Madsen, J. (1990, May). Caffeine: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of its thermogenic, metabolic, and cardiovascular effects in healthy volunteers. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2333832
Caffeine Attenuates Delayed-Onset Muscle Pain and Force Loss Following Eccentric Exercise. (2006, December 11). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1526590006010236
Caffeine consumption around an exercise bout: Effects on energy expenditure, energy intake, and exercise enjoyment. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.00570.2014
Efficacy of Acute Caffeine Ingestion for Short-term... : The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2010/01000/Efficacy_of_Acute_Caffeine_Ingestion_for.38.aspx
Ivy, J. L., Costill, D. L., Fink, W. J., & Lower, R. W. (1979). Influence of caffeine and carbohydrate feedings on endurance performance. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/481158
Laska, E. M. (1984, April 06). Caffeine as an Analgesic Adjuvant. Retrieved from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/392180