What is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that can be found in various plants, such as coffee beans, tea leaves, cocoa beans, and kola nuts. Like most stimulants, caffeine has a positive effect on the body by enhancing focus, improving concentration, boosting your energy levels, and whetting your appetite. However, a little bit of caffeine goes a long way and may even be dangerous for some people who consume too much of it.
When caffeine is taken as a supplement, it is usually added to coffee, tea, and energy drinks. For those who aren’t big fans of coffee or tea, caffeine pills are also available. Every company that manufactures pre-workout supplements offers a selection of caffeine pills to go along with the drinks they create.
Caffeine is also present in energy drinks, which provide a one-stop source of energy. In addition to the caffeine they provide, energy drinks are also an excellent source of carbs to give you wings when you work out. Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at the benefits of pre-workout caffeine.
What are Some Benefits?
Beneficial for endurance exercise performance: In 2011, a study was done to examine how different combinations of caffeine and carbohydrate influenced the time to exhaustion during a cycling test. The study found that a combination of 1.67 mg/kg of caffeine and glucose or a combination of 2.11 mg/kg of caffeine and fructose performed similarly to a placebo (no caffeine or carb) in boosting endurance performance. No clear advantage to either caffeine-carbohydrate combination was found.
Earlier, another 2010 study compared the effects of caffeine versus carbohydrate consumption individually, in a double-blind placebo-controlled trial on the performance of endurance cyclists in a time-to-exhaustion cycling test. The cyclists were randomized to consume either a dose of 1.7 mg/kg of caffeine or 0.42 g/kg of carbohydrate. A total of 10 cyclists completed the caffeine and 11 the carbohydrate trial of which 7 or 8 had caffeine experience and 10 or 11 cyclists completed the placebo trial of which 8 or 9 had carbohydrate experience. The cyclists performed the cycling test with a mean exercise intensity of 64.9% V02 max. No significant differences in time to exhaustion were found between the treatment groups. However, when the results were expressed as relative to placebo, a significant improvement was found in the caffeine group.
Caffeine’s effects on energy levels are perhaps its most well –known benefit.
It increases your capacity to do more intense workouts by making simple carbohydrates more accessible to your muscles. It also allows you to continue training with ease for a much longer time.
Caffeine can supply you with the energy to do 4 to 6 hours of exercise. This is about the same amount of time you need to work out to achieve the same results as going to the gym 6 days a week.
Many people think that they need to consume huge quantities of carbohydrates to boost their energy levels. Not true! Caffeine alone will do the job in a much healthier way.
Caffeine is proven to prevent muscle damage during exercise. It does this by suppressing your body’s natural response to exercise – the production of stress hormones. It also has a mild effect on nitric oxide which is the chemical that expands your blood vessels.
Meaning that caffeine allows for better circulation, giving your muscles a greater blood flow, therefore increasing their effectiveness.
Also, caffeine decreases the amount of RNA that leads to muscle damage.
All of this supply your body with more energy, improves your circulation, and gives you a bigger boost to your performance during exercise.
As pre-workout caffeine is one of the major components of many pre-workout products, it’s best to think about what caffeine does in the body.
Caffeine works by stimulating your central nervous system. In doing so, it increases alertness, focus and also suppresses the body’s “sleepiness factors” such as adenosine.
Now, there are many theories as to why caffeine does this, but throughout the years it’s been clearly shown to increase endurance, both in aerobic and anerobic exercise.
Long-term endurance is increased through metabolic changes caused by the increased stimulation of the body’s central nervous system. For example, the increased stimulation will make your heart beat faster, which will ensure that your heart does this all the time and therefore gets stronger.
Short-term endurance is increased by directly stimulating the muscles and the cardiovascular system in your body.
It’s the reason people do coffee during a workout to keep going. Although this is not completely optimized, especially when it comes to your cardiovascular system. Real improvements in cardiovascular health come from more natural sources, such as resistance training.
Caffeine requires a prescription to purchase. However, pure caffeine in powder form is available online.
Caffeine can boost concentration and suppress fatigue, allowing you to work out longer and more vigorously. While using caffeine as a pre workout may not help you achieve maximum muscle growth, it can be useful for aiding in training programs for longer athletic events or to help you get that extra boost during a particularly difficult workout. Just remember not to overdo it or it can have adverse effects.
According to this site, supplemental caffeine can be useful for:
- Improving mental alertness
- Improving heart muscle contractions
- Lowering body fat
- Increasing endurance
- Enhancing cognition
Consuming caffeine pre-workout can help to maximize your workout. For one, caffeine can significantly boost your metabolism and may suppress appetite.
If you’re an athlete, caffeine can improve hand-eye coordination, muscle activity, and concentration.
Using caffeine pre can also allow you to get that extra boost of energy during a difficult workout. A workout supplement containing caffeine can increase your ability to exercise longer.
While the benefits of caffeine are pretty clear, there can also be risks involved when taking too much pre workout caffeine.
When Should I Take Caffeine?
You could take caffeine supplements throughout the day. This is probably the most economical way to enjoy the stimulating effects of caffeine.
One half to 1.0 grams of caffeine per kg of your body weight can assist in managing stress and boosting energy.
Alternatively, you could take a dose of caffeine pre-workout to get a kick-start to your training. This strategy has shown to be particularly effective with respect to performance and endurance because:
Pre-workout caffeine will boost your intensity.
Because exercise makes you hungrier, caffeine can help moderate unhealthy food cravings.
Caffeine will improve your mental focus to enhance your training and performance.
Caffeine will increase alertness that can improve safety while working out.
A study reported that pre-workout caffeine can enhance performance by up to 23%. Participants took 1.0 mg/kg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight pre-exercise.
The results of the study confirm caffeine’s ergogenic effects and show that caffeine is the most effective ergogenic aid for short-term, high-intensity exercise.
How Much Caffeine Should I Take?
If you consume caffeine and workout, you have a higher chance of maximizing your performance and recuperation. You can drink coffee or take some form of caffeine pill about 30 minutes to 1 hour before you workout.
The guidelines for caffeine dosage vary depending on what kind of activity you are doing – whether it’s weightlifting, HIIT, cardio, or simply just working out.
For competitive athletes, caffeine can enhance speed and endurance, boost muscular strength and power, as well as help to delay fatigue.
Caffeine is well-known for its stimulating, energizing effects, which may help to increase performance in intense physical exercise.
If you are an athlete who needs to reduce muscle fatigue, caffeine can help to improve performance by reducing mental and physical fatigue. However, it is important to note that caffeine can’t make up for low training level, fatigue from dehydration, or a poor diet.
If you’re looking to lose weight or improve your endurance, then taking a caffeine supplement is a recommended way to increase your overall performance. Caffeine can help to improve your alertness, concentration, decrease feelings of fatigue and tiredness, and improve the number, duration, and quality of repetitions during your workout.
Are There Alternatives to Coffee?
As most of us have figured out, coffee isn’t the healthiest beverage on the planet. So if you’re looking to cut back on your coffee intake (or if you’re not a coffee drinker at all) in favor of a healthier option, there are a few options out there.
One is to swap your coffee for green tea. Green tea does offer a caffeine boost but it also has its benefits in the form of antioxidants.
Another option is to get yourself a good quality energy drink with sufficient caffeine content to keep you going throughout the day. Just keep in mind that these drinks also tend to be high in sugar and calories. And expect to face a caffeine crash once the effects wear off.
Of course, even energy drinks are not an ideal solution to your caffeine needs.
Well, if you want to take your pre-workout nutrition to the next level, you can opt for a product like JavaPro.
JavaPro is a pre-workout powder that delivers a powerful boost of caffeine to your muscles, as well as a powerful dose of amino acids, creatine, and essential vitamins and minerals. Its healthy ingredients stack up to all the great benefits of coffee without the added sugar and fats and without the caffeine crash when you’re done with your workout.
What Are Some Side Effects to Watch Out For?
Caffeine can cause some side effects as well. You may experience an upset stomach, diarrhea, or possibly even an increase in blood pressure and irregular heartbeat.
Since caffeine can cause dehydration, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
It’s wise to ease up on caffeine consumption if you are prone to having anxiety. Caffeine allows your body to produce more adrenaline, which can increase your heart rate and make your anxiety worse.
It’s recommended to drink only one or two caffeinated beverages in a day. Some pre-workouts have up to 300 mg of caffeine per serving, which is a lot. If you notice that you feel a bit shaky or jumpy after taking a certain pre-workout, then it may be due to the high amount of caffeine in that specific product. Try a new pre-workout, or you can try your old one with a smaller amount of powder in it.