Water-check. Towel-check. Headphones-check. Caffeine…
Caffeine may not seem like a “must-have” for a workout, but there are three major reasons why people at all fitness levels benefit from consuming caffeine before exercise.
Caffeine Improves Performance and Endurance
Doses of 3-6 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of bodyweight have been proven to improve performance and endurance in competitive male rowers, recreational runners, and healthy untrained subjects. The variety of fitness levels in these studies shows that whether you live at the gym or just work out when you can, caffeine can help you make the most of your work outs. It’s hard enough to squeeze a workout into your busy schedule. When you do find time to workout, you want to maximize the benefits of that time. A little caffeine can make your workout last a little longer, helping you reap the benefits of every rep and every step.
Note – Caffeine doses greater than 6 milligrams per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of bodyweight did not show any increased benefits to performance, and the European Food Safety Authority recommends healthy adults stay under 200 milligrams of caffeine per sitting/occasion and under 400 milligrams of caffeine per day.
Caffeine Improves Focus
If you’ve ever tripped over a battle rope, fallen off an exercise ball during crunches or gotten a headphone cord wrapped around a treadmill hand-support bar, you know that focus is important during a workout. Caffeine has been proven to increase energy and focus in truck drivers, military service men and women, graveyard shift workers and emergency personnel. The people in these situations are often sleep deprived and under significant stress. If caffeine can help these people focus, imagine how it can help you next time your spin instructor is yelling at you to go faster.
Caffeine Encourages Fat Burning
Glucose (a simple carbohydrate) is the body’s primary source of fuel. Caffeine causes several small changes in metabolism, and each of those changes encourages the use of fat for fuel. But how does caffeine trigger all these small changes? The answer has to do with adenosine’s throne.
A molecule called adenosine has a throne that only adenosine can fit into. When adenosine sits on its throne, it can send signals to make us sleepy. Fortunately for us, caffeine is similar enough in size to fit adenosine’s special throne. When that happens, caffeine blocks adenosine, preventing those sleepy signals from being sent. But adenosine has more than one throne. In fact, we have adenosine receptors all over the body. Interacting with all those adenosine receptors is how caffeine is able to trigger these small metabolic changes that encourage fat burning over glucose burning for fuel.
One Final Note
Caffeine can feel magical on those days we find ourselves in Struggle City, but caffeine is not a magical weight loss tool. Caffeine helps improve performance, endurance, focus and fat burning, but you still need to put in the work. If you’re ready to make the most of your workouts, add a bottle of Avitae to your gym bag essentials.