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Caffeine is synonymous with focus and staying awake. A strong dose of caffeine, be it from its pure form or strong caffeine based beverage such as coffee, 15 to 30 mins before exercise, can bring about positive effects in workout performance.
How Caffeine Functions in our Body
This natural stimulant directly enters the blood stream and climbs up to its highest levels about one hour after consumption. It can directly affect brain and muscle cells and eventually gets broken down in the liver. It is said to block andenosine receptors, preventing the body from feeling sleepy.
Benefits of Caffeine in exercise
Improves Exercise Performance through :
1. Elevated alertness & focus
Caffeine influences the central nervous system, which makes individuals feel less fatigued. It encourages the body to produce more Epinephrine (Adrenaline) hormones and chemicals like Endorphins which causes the body to temporarily be relieved of stress and perception of effort.
Studies have shown that individuals engaged in endurance, high intensity and strength exercises experienced marked performance enhancement as compared to the placebo groups.
2. Muscle Recovery
According to the American Physiological Society, post exercise caffeine intake resulted in a 66% increase in muscle glycogen as compared to decaf carbohydrate drinks. This increase in muscle glycogen helps to preserve muscles and speed up post exercise recovery, getting the individual ready for the next bout of workouts sooner.
Speeds up Weight Loss
A very popular ingredient in weight loss supplements. Research has shown that taking caffeine 30 minutes before aerobic exercise can increase the rate of fat burn during the workout. It is shown to increase the overall body temperature or thermogenesis, resulting in more calories burnt.
Recommended daily dosage is 200 – 400 mg based on weight, ( 3 – 6 mg per kg of bodyweight). Preferable sources of caffeine for exercise performance enhancement should come in the form of caffeine anhydrous or strong coffee.
Dosing strategy should be overseen by a certified dietician for safety and efficacy.
Individuals respond differently to caffeine, side effects include :
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
- Headaches and Dizziness
- Cramped muscles
Please seek a certified healthcare professional before starting your caffeine intake regimen and start with small doses to test the body’s suitability to the supplementation.
When dosing, please make sure you read the labels correctly, such as not confusing between milligrams and grams.
Also, take into consideration of the caffeine intake that might be consumed from your daily regular drinks before considering the post exercise dosage.
By : Alvin Ho
B (Eng), MBA, Certified Allied Healthcare/Fitness Professional (EIMS), Master Fitness Trainer / Fitness Nutrition, Resistance & Endurance Training Specialist (NFPT)