A common question in the fitness world is, “What is the best pre-workout?” The market is flooded with products to help energize workouts and get the maximum pump. They are full of promises to make a beast out of anyone and guarantee their product is the best. Is there some merit to their product, sure. To say that that these claims are false would be misleading. There are loads of people who use pre-workouts and swear by them. People are loyal to the brand that works best for them but the most effective pre-workout is coffee.
Caffeine is the number one component to coffee that makes it an extremely effective pre-workout drink. Caffeine enters into the bloodstream where it eventually travels to the brain. Once in the brain, caffeine blocks certain inhibitory neurotransmitters which causes a stimulant effect (fight-or-flight). Because of this effect, energy levels improve as well as our mood and other brain functions. One of the brain functions that is increased is focus, which can contribute to more productive workouts.
Caffeine also stimulates fat oxidation. This is one of the reasons why it can be found in most fat-burning supplements. When caffeine is consumed, it causes fat cells to be used as a source of energy for physical exertion, once again preparing for fight-or-flight. Because of the increase in energy production with an increase in focus, performance can increase on average of 11% when compared to a workout performed without caffeine.
So coffee is great as a workout, but here are some of the other added benefits to coffee:
1. Contains vitamins B2, B3 and B5 as well as manganese and potassium
2. May lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes
3. May Protect You From Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia
4. May Lower Your Risk of Parkinson's
5. May Protect Your Liver
6. Can Fight Depression and Make You Happier
7. May Lower Risk of Certain Types of Cancer
8. The Biggest Source of Antioxidants in the Western Diet
HOW MUCH DOES IT TAKE?
According to Liz Applegate, Ph.D., Director of Sports Nutrition at UC Davis, “About 3 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. That means a 150-pound person would want 210 to 400 mg caffeine. A 20-oz Starbucks coffee contains about 200 mg; iced tea has about 40 mg; diet soda about 50 mg.”
Be aware that there are some side effects from drinking too much coffee. Here is a list of some possible side effects from too much caffeine:
1. Anxiety – 1,000 mg or more a day.
2. Insomnia – Caused by stimulus effect
3. Digestive Issues – Large amounts can lead to loose stool or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
4. Muscle Breakdown – Too much caffeine can lead to rhabdomyolysis. This is a very serious condition where damaged muscle fibers enter the bloodstream. This can lead to kidney failure and other serious medical problems.
5. Increase blood pressure and heart rate – This once again plays into caffeine’s stimulatory effect.
These side effects vary from person to person. Irregular caffeine intake can also intensify these effects. In general, limiting caffeine intake to 250 mg or one cup of coffee a day can have lasting beneficial physical and mental effects on the body.
SO CHEERS TO A WARM CUP OF HEALTH!