The Caffeine Buzz!
In the UK, 51% of us regularly drink caffeinated drinks and together we drink around 70 million cups of coffee every day!
The recommended daily dose of caffeine for an average person is around 4 cups of coffee each day. But if you enjoy your daily coffee, the good news is that studies show that having two coffees one hour before exercise can improve your workout by a third.
Many people consume caffeine in some form every day, whether in tea, coffee, fizzy drinks, energy drinks or chocolate. It’s mostly known for its ability to provide an energy boost and increase mental alertness, but it is also one of the most commonly used stimulants among people who exercise.
A biochemistry professor at Loughborough University has found that consuming enough caffeine at the correct time can enhance physical performance and reduce muscle pain during exercise. Of course, performances may vary depending on the strength of the caffeine. Drinking black coffee one hour before exercising can improve endurance and is one of the most effective ways to consume caffeine before a workout. If this sounds like a good plan to you, check out this helpful guide that explains how the caffeine content in coffee can vary depending on the type of roast
Energy drinks contain caffeine too. They can give you a boost when you exercise, just like a mug of coffee. Energy drinks can give you the extra push to keep going, so you burn more calories and get better results. As the ingredients can vary across the different energy drinks available, it’s always best to read the label first.
You can take your caffeine in a tablet if you’d prefer. These are widely available and can allow people to know exactly how much caffeine they are consuming. However, one caffeine tablet could contain more than the individual requires. Therefore, it’s as important than ever to read the label or get advice before you start taking them.
Risks and Side Effects…
But there are some risks of continued reliance on caffeine for fitness. Caffeine can cause anxiety, insomnia, palpitations, headaches, and high blood pressure. Consuming large amounts of caffeine can also create high levels of homocysteine in the blood which has been associated with heart attacks and strokes.
Some people tolerate caffeine better than others, so people should be careful about how much they’re having. Highly caffeinated drinks used with other stimulants, such as nicotine, alcohol or prescription drugs, can over-stimulate the brain and body and cause more heightened effects.
As with most things, moderation is key. But if you are unsure about the effects of caffeine and whether you should be taking it before you exercise, seek advice first.