Personally, I don’t live a day without a cup of coffee, yes, I might be a little addicted which isn’t very healthy, but maybe I have found myself an excuse for my coffee habits. Many studies show that caffeine can have a positive impact on your workouts! In a previous blog, the effects of coffee after a workout were discussed, today I will discuss coffee as a preworkout!
Let's start with coffee!
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world and has many different kinds, flavours and ways to prepare. The biggest reason why people drink coffee is due to its stimulating effects mostly caused by caffeine.
Caffeine is labelled as a Central Nervous System stimulant but in certain portions also works as an autonomic nervous system stimulant. Which means that it has an effect on your central nervous system and to some extend on your autonomic nervous system, obviously. The way caffeine works is by blocking adenosine actions and therefor prevent drowsiness, which means that it keeps you alert.
As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, many studies show that caffeine does not restrict itself to mental alertness but also has ergogenic effects on maximal strength and muscular endurance. One research review done by Jozo Grgic et al. suggests that a caffeine intake of 3 to 9 mg/kg, about 60 minutes before exercise will give you the optimal boost. Anything above 9 mg/kg of caffeine may lead to side effects such as insomnia or even headaches. Therefore, I would suggest staying between 3 and 6 mg/kg to prevent these side effects and maintain health.
Another meta-analysis including research between 1939 and 2008 showed that muscle strength improvements due to caffeine mostly appeared in the knee extensors and less to none in other muscles. This is a pretty interesting finding which raises questions regarding caffeine’s effectiveness. However, there needs to be more research done to understand the full potential of caffeine effectiveness on overall muscle strength and endurance.
Coffee and muscles
So now you know, besides the mental boost of alertness and focus, caffeine also has to some extend ergogenic effects on your muscles. You might be wondering now, how many cups of coffee you need to drink to get the proper boost?
Well, one regular cup of coffee contains roughly 95 mg of caffeine. As mentioned before, 3 to 6 mg/kg should give you the boost which means that if you have a weight of 70 kgs, you should take about 210 to 420 mg of caffeine, about an hour before your workout.
Personally, I would recommend about 2 cups of coffee before a workout and no more. Besides the side effects and benefits of caffeine, you have to realise that it can be addictive and too much coffee can mess up your quality of sleep, concentration and focus in the long run. Especially, energy drinks such as Red Bull could be very harmful. There have been cases in the past when people had consumed an energy drink just before exercise/sports and couldn’t finish their workout/match due to heart problems.
Knowing this, you could opt a supplement to give your workout a boost, such as MZ Preworkout!
Or caffeine supplements such as Caffeine caps from Aliness. However, caffeine capsules do not stop the side effects of caffeine, they are just another option you can consider when you do not want or like to drink coffee.
Once again, watch out with caffeine, use it responsibly! And that’s where this blog ends today, I have to get back to my coffee before it’s cold! But if you enjoyed the read or if you have any questions or suggestions, do not hesitate to let us know in the comments!
Written by Sven Nicholson | Online Personal Trainer @ www.healthychanges-pt.com