It is no secret these days that caffeine and coffee can be a part of a healthy diet. We have written about it numerous times. You might still wonder though, “can caffeine boost workouts?”
First, be sure to realize that 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.
The Ironman study
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.
Ironman triathletes are considered among 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.
So, can caffeine boost workouts? Ganio says, “Yes!”
Other sources trying to find out, “can caffeine boost workouts?”
Ganio performed an in-depth review of 21 studies. These studies focused on the athletic performance boosts tied to taking caffeine. These numbers were determine under a slew of circumstances.
And, when you are talking about professional athletes, 3% is a tremendously large number.
Ganio goes on to tell us the sweet spot for caffeine consumption and optimal performance. The range of 3-6 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight seems to be ideal.
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. Two cups of coffee contain approximately this amount of caffeine.
Performance athletes are not the only people who can benefit from caffeine consumption, however.
Fat loss, metabolism, and other benefits of caffeine
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 had a long day of work and found it hard to exercise afterwards knows this. So, it would reason that since caffeine also provides mental stimuli, that this could make you more willing to exercise as well.
Caffeine helps eliminate feelings of tiredness. And, metabolism can be increased through caffeine. Caffeine can boost your physical output as well. You would most likely find it easier to train and make physical breakthroughs while taking caffeine.
Being mindful of your caffeine intake and its effects on your body is key. It is always better to start conservatively. Then, see how it affects everything from performance to sleep, and build from there.
Of course though, speak with a medical doctor if you have any personal questions