A Spanish study, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, found that athletes who consumed caffeine pre-excercise burned about 15% more calories post-excercise. The best results were obtained by consuming 4.5 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. For a 150 pound woman that’s about 300 mg of caffeine, about the amount in 12 ounces of brewed coffee.
Coffee has long been thought of as a vice which few people were inclined to give up but it’s actually a superfood. If you exercise, caffeine can offer functional benefits for your workout.
A Japanese study compared subjects who drank regular coffee and decaffeinated coffee. The subjects who drank regular coffee experienced a 30% increase in blood flow over a 75 minute period compared to those who drank the decaf. Better circulation – better workout. Muscles need oxygen.
A study done by the University of Illinois found that drinking 2-3 cups of regular coffee one hour before doing a 30 minute circuit of high-intensity exercise reduced perceived muscle pain. Scientists concluded that the caffeine may help you push just a little bit harder during strength-training workouts, resulting in improvements in muscle strength and endurance.
A study by Johns Hopkins University found that caffeine enhanced memory for up to 24 hours after it is consumed. Researchers gave subjects who did not regularly consume coffee either a placebo or 200 mg of caffeine five minutes after studying a series of images. The next day, both groups were asked to remember the images. The caffeinated group scored significantly better.
Sports scientists at Coventry University did an animal study and found that caffeine helped offset the loss of muscle strength that occurs with aging. The protective effects were seen in the diaphragm, the primary muscle used for breathing, and the skeletal muscle. The results indicated that, used in moderation, caffeine may help preserve overall fitness and reduce the risk of age-related injuries.
MORE MUSCLE FUEL
The Journal of Applied Physiology published a study which found that a little caffeine post-exercise may also be beneficial, particularly for endurance athletes who perform day after day. Compared to consuming carbohydrates alone, a caffeine/carb combo resulted in a 66% increase in muscle glycogen 4 hours after intense, glycogen-depleting exercise. Glycogen is a form of carbohydrate that is stockpiled in muscle to serve as a “piggy bank” during exercise to power strength moves and fuel endurance. A greater reserve means that the next time you work out, you’ve upped your ability to exercise harder and longer.
But beware, consuming too much coffee may backfire and it should be incorporated into your diet in healthy ways.