Carson City Bootcamp: Coffee And Exercise

Bootcamp, Exercise, Health Add comments

Caffeine is one of the most widely used drugs in the world.

Hi, my name is Luke and I’m an addict…

Coffee, tea, energy drinks, soda, diet soda – all contain caffeine.

Besides helping you get going in the morning, a lot of people use caffeine to help improve their exercise performance.

Promises of caffeine to exercisers include enhanced performance and increased energy levels.

The reasons behind these promises are that caffeine is supposed to help with:

  • Increased exercise time to exhaustion (work out longer)
  • Increased fat oxidation (burn more fat)
  • Spare carbohydrates during exercise (burning fat instead?)
  • Improved endurance
  • Delayed fatigue

Caffeine stimulates your nervous system and influences many metabolic processes including cardiovascular (aerobic) function and epinephrine (adrenaline) release.  Because of this, caffeine may indeed help delay fatigue and improve your athletic performance.

There has been research done on all of the above claims, and it looks like there is some truth behind each.

Red Bull won’t really give you wings though…

Caffeine also improves your alertness and reaction times.  If combined with carbohydrates (sugar and caffeine!) it has been shown to improve cognitive function.

Caffeine also decreases your “Rate of perceived exertion,” which means you can work harder before you feel the burn.

There is solid evidence that caffeine improves endurance, but research is inconclusive on whether caffeine helps high intensity aerobic and anaerobic exercises.

When it comes to dosing yourself with caffeine, more might not be better.

Unless you’ve drunken so much coffee that your body no longer registers the caffeine’s effects…

One particular study tested the effects of different doses of caffeine on cycling performance.  Researchers supplemented trained cyclists with either 0, 5, 9, or 13 mg/kg of total bodyweight with caffeine one hour before cycling at 80% VO2 max to exhaustion.  The results showed a significant increase with taking caffeine over taking the placebo, but there was no significant difference between the doses.

Translation: some caffeine will help your endurance more than no caffeine…

Looking at the research, 1-3mg caffeine per kilogram of your bodyweight is an effective dose.  Take it 30-60 minutes before exercise to give it time to kick in.

Keep in mind that large doses of caffeine can be dangerous.  Small side effects include anxiety, jitters, sleep disturbances, and gastrointestinal distress.

Doses of caffeine in excess of 10-14 grams can be fatal.

So go ahead and enjoy your morning coffee

Just don’t drink 2 pots of it…

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