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Caffeinated workouts: The lowdown
Dragging yourself out of bed is tough at the best of times. This is true especially in winter, when most people’s Seasonal Affective Disorder kicks in, a sort of annual period of depression caused by the lack of daylight.

We have all read countless papers saying how much exercise will help with low mood, but when you’re warm and toasty in your bed, actually putting that into practice feels like a trek up to Everest.

Getting out of bed for a hot mug of coffee is sometimes more alluring than the prospect of getting out of bed for a hard workout. You know, it’s fine to feel that way. Sure there are some people, for whom the prospect of a workout first thing in the morning ALWAYS feels like the best idea ever, but if you aren’t one of those people then don’t beat yourself up either.

How does coffee impact your workout?
Caffeine increases alertness and arousal, making you feel awake, sometimes wired. That alone may motivate you to get on the treadmill, but the effects of caffeine on your body are further reaching than that.

A fat burner?
Muscles run on a substance called glycogen, which is a stored version of glucose, to keep at their work. When the glycogen stores are gone, you’ll find yourself experiencing muscle fatigue, as your muscles’ processes become less and less efficient.

However, a secondary source of energy for muscles is fat. When they are running off fat, their stamina is greater. The presence of caffeine in your blood actually encourages your muscles to burn fat at a faster rate, preserving your precious glycogen and giving your muscles a greater buffer period before they fatigue.

All in all, this will permit you a longer, more comfortable and ultimately less frightening workout.

Slow and steady wins the race
Caffeine doesn’t produce these effects instantaneously. If you prefer HIIT-type workouts over endurance exercise, then you will be less likely to reap the benefits. Since your muscles will burn through the glycogen stores first, you won’t really see any difference in a 15-minute cardio workout.

Most studies have focused on caffeine’s impact on exercise over a period of two hours. What they’ve found is that the effects begin to peak at an hour after ingestion and that they can persist for around 3 - 6 hours.

Caffeine overload?
Although it was previously (and erroneously) believed that the body’s tolerance to caffeine means regular coffee drinkers would have to drink extra cups of coffee to feel any effect, a recent study in Brazil implied the contrary.

They found that regular coffee-drinkers found increased stamina and endurance, having taken one caffeine pill only, as well as non-regular coffee-drinkers. There is also a word of caution for excessive caffeine ingestion: too much can cause unpleasant side effects.

These include headaches, increases and irregularities in blood pressure, stomach ulcers and heart palpitations. We would recommend taking one of our caffeine supplements, which has added vitamins or drinking a coffee an hour before working out.

2021 is going to be your year. Get on it!

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