Q: Set the record straight – is caffeine good or bad?
A: Ok, if you don’t like coffee in general, then stop reading this post right now. If you are a Joe lover like me and need an extra boost for your morning workouts, this is for you. Coffee before your AM workout is a YES in my book!
Now let’s look at this from a scientific point of view. Caffeine is a natural stimulant, it increases cortisol levels before the workout and can help both mentally and physically. Mentally, caffeine can enhance focus, which can lead to better form and overall performance. It gives you extra stamina and increases your heart rate, improving blood flow from the heart to the rest of your body. This helps muscles produce greater strength and power output. The result is less fatigue and more endurance, a double win.
Like most things, everything in moderation. How much caffeine is too much? A good amount is 200mg for a 150 lb person, so for most people, about two cups of coffee. I go for a large Starbucks (aka a Venti, ahhhhh, that’s my little heaven right there.) Optimal time? Caffeine intake should be about 45 minutes to an hour before the workout. I usually roll into the gym with my coffee and finish it there within 10-15 minutes. There’s only so much time in the morning, right?!
To me, caffeine is a great pre-workout supplement. Others don’t tolerate it as well, It can make some people jittery, nauseous, or distressed. If you want to get the caffeine boost but are concerned with jittery side effects, consider taking 2 gm of vitamin C, which will help you metabolize the caffeine quickly and prevent that crashing feeling. Caffeine can also be dehydrating, so be sure to drink plenty of water before and after your cup of Joe.
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One Healthy Breakdown: A cup of Joe a day… Listen to your body. If you enjoy your morning coffee or tea, drink up and kick some butt at the gym.