Can you boost your performance with coffee?
There are many truths and myths about the world's second most popular drink - coffee. Does it benefit your health, or is it actually harmful? Will it keep you up at night or increase your efficiency in everyday life?
The answer probably is: Both. Like with most things - the secret lies in the dosage. So, while one cup of espresso in the morning might indeed make you feel more energized and give you some extra power to start the day, 10 cups of black coffee could actually increase blood pressure and heartbeat rate.
There are countless studies about pros & cons of coffee and in recent years, scientists focused especially on the effects the crucial component - caffeine - has on a person while doing sports.
Without any further ado, let's dive directly into it!
What does the chemistry tell us?
Moderate intake of caffeine is proven to lower perceived exertion, meaning any workout will feel easier, and you'll be able to maintain your pace for a longer period of time.
Your blood levels of free fatty acids rise and can be used by your body to regain strength. Glycogen stores on the other hand will be better preserved - this comes in especially handy while going for long-distance running. Consequently, your body's ability to burn fat is increased as well!
A higher concentration of endorphins in your brain will give you a nice and completely natural feeling of well-being. Caffeine also stimulates your central nervous system and therefore lowers your perception of exhaustion.
This might sound great but, it also has its downsides - sportsmen trying to mask their fatigue by drinking coffee excessively are more likely to overtrain, which may lead to injuries.
As mentioned earlier, the right quantity is key!
What can we learn from top athletes?
Recent studies suggest that two-thirds of Olympic athletes use caffeine to improve their running performance which is an incredibly high number!
Around the year 2004 the Olympic Committee actually discussed whether to do drug testing on caffeine before competitions but decided not to - since the use of it was far too widespread which would lead to far too many athletes being disqualified.
So, if Olympic athletes and endurance runners rely on it you can be quite sure that it will have a similar effect on you as well.
But most importantly - what do you think?
Even though the positive effects of caffeine while doing sports seem endless, you should always listen to your body and decide for yourself. In the end, everything works differently on everybody so knowing what's best for you will ultimately lead to success.
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Picture 1 : Milo Miloezger via unsplash
Picture 2 :Rodrigo Flores via unsplash