It is no secret these days that coffee can be a part of a healthy diet. We have written about it numerous times.
But, there is a difference between general health benefits and actually supplementing with caffeine to help get your body in shape.
Athletes and fitness buffs are starting to take caffeine, in one form or another, as a fitness aid and not just a way to get perky in the morning.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Ironman Triathlon, it is a race which begins with a 2.4 mile swim (often in open oceans), immediately followed by a 112 mile bike ride, which is also immediately followed by a marathon length run of 26.2 miles.
Those that complete an Ironman level triathlon are looked upon by many as some of the fittest people on the planet.
The Ironman Triathlon is becoming more and more filled with athletes taking caffeine supplements mid-race, to enhance their competitive edge.
Matthew Ganio is an exercise physiologist who told The Atlantic that athletes could expect improvements of about 3%, simply by taking caffeine before or during their performance.
Ganio performed an in-depth review of 21 studies focusing on the athletic performance boosts tied to taking caffeine under various circumstances, so his numbers are not pulled from thin air.
And, when you are talking about professional athletes, 3% is a tremendously large number.
Ganio goes on to say that the sweet spot for caffeine consumption and optimal performance is in the range of 3-6 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight.
Dr Jonathan Colter, of the blog All About Healthy Choices, told Match Made Coffee via email he takes caffeine himself before workouts.
My goal is to use as LITTLE as needed (for all pre-workout ingredients) to achieve the increased intensity and results from a workout. The goal is to ENHANCE; not to create an abnormal state to push the body beyond tolerable limits. –Dr Jonathan Colter
Colter warns about taking too much, and has himself reduced his pre-workout caffeine supplementation to 200mg. For those unfamiliar with the quantity, this is approximately the amount contained in 2 cups of coffee.
Performance athletes are not the only people who can benefit from caffeine consumption, however.
There are studies that are decades old showing the benefits to metabolism and fat loss by having caffeine.
Some studies showed metabolism increasing by as much as 24% for certain demographics after caffeine consumption, while other studies with different demographics showed up to 11% boosts lasting 1-3 hours.
Some other interesting studies show that mental fatigue carries over into physical fatigue. Anyone who has ever had a long day of mental work and found it hard to exercise afterwards can attest to this. So, it would reason that since caffeine also provides mental stimuli, that this could make you more willing to exercise as well.
It is well established that caffeine helps eliminate feelings of tiredness. Meaning, that not only can your metabolism be increased by caffeine, as well as your physical output, but that you would most likely find it easier to train and make physical breakthroughs while having caffeine.
Being mindful of your caffeine intake and its effects on your body is key. It is always better to start conservatively and see how it affects everything from performance to sleep, and build from there.
Of course though, please speak with a medical doctor if you have any questions about how this pertains to you personally.