It’s time to turbo charge your workouts and results with one of the most researched sports supplements available – caffeine! This pharmaceutical compound has been used as a medicinal and recreational drug for thousands of years, by consumption of caffeine containing plants. However, since it’s discovery in 1819, it’s grown to become one of the most popular and researched sports performance enhancing supplements available. Taken before a workout it can result in a better workout and faster results.
Top Benefits Of Taking Caffeine Pre-workout
Improved mental clarity and focus – Caffeine acts on the central nervous system, which increases alertness and concentration. This is great during a workout as improved focus means a better quality workout, and a better quality workout means better results!
Accelerated fat loss – Caffeine stimulates the release of adrenaline, which raises fatty acid levels in the bloodstream. Your muscles will then be able to use these fatty acids as fuel, which means more fat burnt and more muscle glycogen spared. As an added bonus of this benefit this also means you can workout for longer without feeling tired.
Better muscle contractions – Caffeine can improve muscle contractions by releasing calcium from its storage sites in muscle cells. This is great news for a hypertrophy or fat loss workout.
Improved performance – An analysis of 40 caffeine studies at the University of Luton, UK, showed that it can improve endurance by an average of 12 percent. The researchers at the RMIT University, Australia, supported this statement and found that caffeine improved performance by 4-6 seconds in competitive rowers during a 2000m row.
Aim for 5mg per KG of body weight (experiment depending on tolerance) around 30-45 minutes prior to your workout. Here’s some common products and the typical caffeine content contained per serving:
Instant coffee (cup) – 60mg
Espresso (shot) – 50-100mg
Tea (cup) – 40mg
Green tea (cup) – 40 mg
Dark chocolate (50g) – 40mg
Energy gel (1 sachet) – 25mg
Caffeine supplement (per capsule) – 200mg
The best sources of pre-workout caffeine would be a strong black coffee, espresso or caffeine supplement.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Some individuals are more susceptible to side effects than others. It’s all down to how sensitive to caffeine you are. Those that are extremely sensitive may experience anxiety, trembling and sleeplessness. So gauge your dose according to this. Scientific research shows no link between long-term use and health issues such as high blood pressure and bone mineral loss. It’s also worth mentioning that although caffeine is a diuretic, a daily intake of less than 300mg results in no larger urine output than water.
It’s important you follow these three simple rules to get the most out of your caffeine supplementation:
Rule #1 – Don’t become reliant on caffeine to get you through your workout. Remember, it’s only a way to turbocharge your workouts, its not the driver behind them. If you’re finding you need caffeine to get you through a workout you should strongly consider asking yourself “Is my head and heart in my training like they should be?”. You may need to take a step back, set some goals or change your exercise programme.
Rule #2 – Avoid caffeine after 3pm in the afternoon if possible. Caffeine is a stimulant and it could disrupt your natural sleep cycle if taken to close to bed time. Sacrificing a great nights sleep for a better workout isn’t worth it.
Rule #3 – Use it, don’t abuse it. You’ll notice we’re only looking at this substance in the pre-workout window during this blog post. Whilst it’s ok to have a cup of coffee upon waking, try not to abuse caffeine throughout the day as it can diminish it’s effects when you need it most and you’ll soon exceed that 300mg threshold which could start to dehydrate you.
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