Caffeine: Yay or Nay?
Working out while you are tired can be very hard. A shot of caffeine can help you improve performance and will make it easier for you to workout with less pain and fatigue. There is no proven science that says that caffeine plays a role in aiding you to train harder, but the research done so far seems to be positive.
How caffeine works?
Caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream and the blood levels peak after about 90 minutes. They remain high for about 3-4 hours and then begin to drop. Caffeine effects the cells all over the body including muscles and brain.
Given below are the various effects of caffeine in our body:
- Fat burning: Caffeine can increase the body’s ability to burn fat via lipolysis, or the breakdown of fat in fat cells.
- Endorphins: Endorphins can increase feelings of wellness and give you the exercise “high” that people often experience after working out.
- Hormones: Adrenaline is the hormone responsible for the “fight or flight” response, which can increase performance.
- Muscles: Caffeine may impact the motor cortex, which is a part of the brain that signals muscle activation.
- The nervous system: Caffeine activates areas of the brain and nervous system to improve focus and energy, while reducing tiredness.
How to use caffeine as a supplement?
There are several things to keep in mind when supplementing with caffeine.
If you already consume coffee, energy drinks, soda or dark chocolate, you may experience less benefits from caffeine supplements, because your body has developed a tolerance to caffeine. Caffeine anhydrous seems to have the most benefits for exercise performance, but coffee is a good option too. Coffee also provides antioxidants and various health benefits.
Dose is often based on body weight, set at around 1.4–2.7 mg per lb of body weight (3–6 mg per kg). This is about 200–400 mg for most people, although some studies use up to 600–900 mg.
Start low, at 150–200 mg, to assess your tolerance. Then increase the dose to 400 or even 600 mg, in order to maintain a performance benefit. If you wish to use caffeine for athletic performance, you should also save it for key events or races, in order to maintain sensitivity to its effects. For optimal performance, it is recommended to be taken about 60 minutes before a race or event. However, make sure to test this protocol first if you’re not used to taking caffeine.
Side effects of caffeine
At a sensible dose, caffeine can provide many benefits with few side effects. However, it may be unsuitable for some people.
Here are some common side effects of too much caffeine:
- Increased heart rate.
- Insomnia or sleep disruption.
- Stomach discomfort.