Coffee before Exercise

According to CNN.com there are five reasons to drink coffee before your workout.

A Spanish study, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, found that trained athletes who took in caffeine pre-exercise burned about 15% more calories for three hours post-exercise, compared to those who ingested a placebo.

According to the report the necessary amount of caffeine to gain this effect is 4.5 mg per kilogram of body weight. For a 154 pound person this comes to 250 mg of caffeine in a 12 ounce cup. Additionally researchers in Japan have shown that blood flow is increased for an hour and a quarter after drinking coffee with caffeine. And, it turns out that drinking two to three cups of coffee before exercise resulted in less perceived pain from a hard workout.

Athletic Performance and Coffee

We wrote recently about how coffee enhances athletic performance. We noted that drinking coffee increases adrenaline. Adrenaline increase heart rate and blood flow, increases blood flow specifically to the brain and helps improve short term speed and endurance. Scientifically, the caffeine in coffee is an ergogenic aid for sustaining a high degree of effort over the short term. And coffee only lasts just so long and then the body metabolizes and excretes it. Typically half of the caffeine that you ingest at 7 am is gone by 1 pm (a six hour half-life). If our hypothetical 154 pound runner drinks two cups of coffee and gets 400 milligrams into his system he will still have 200 milligrams six hours later. This is plenty of time for a slow marathon runner to complete the course or for someone to complete a soccer match. Besides the other good health effects of drinking coffee, you may play a better tennis match or score more goals in soccer as coffee enhances athletic performance. These are good reasons to drink coffee before exercise.

Preserving Muscles as You Get Older

An interesting recent finding from animal studies is that helped offset the loss of muscle strength that occurs with getting older. Protective effects were seen in both the diaphragm and in skeletal muscle. Researchers believe that that taken in moderation caffeine can help preserve overall fitness and reduce the risk of age-related injuries.

Improving Performance in the Skill Positions

Bud Grant, the coach of the Minnesota Vikings in their heyday referred to skilled and unskilled positions in professional football. Big linemen played unskilled positions and quarterbacks and receivers played skilled positions. Assume for a moment that Grant was correct about big linemen not needing to think. There is no good evidence that coffee helps weight lifters or anyone else lifting, pushing or pulling heavy weights. But, coffee wakes you up. A recent study from Johns Hopkins shows that memory is better for a day after drinking coffee. If remembering what play it is matters quarterbacks and receivers would do well to drink a cup or two of coffee before going on the field. And do not forget about drinking healthy organic coffee because it is good for you, good for the environment and good for the coffee farmer who practices sustainable agriculture.




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