Coffee – Can It Boost Your Workouts?

Can your coffee encourage you to enjoy your gym trips?

This is the core question of a prominent research on caffeine and exercise. It is just one of the numerous novel experiments going on to suggest that caffeine may assist you to enjoy your sport more and perform better.

For various scientists and athletes it is a well known fact since years that a cup of coffee prior to a workout actually jolts the body’s ability to perform better in athletics especially in stamina sports like cycling and distance running.

It has already been proven that caffeine increases the number of fatty acids present in the bloodstream; people are thus enabled to run/pedal longer ( reason – the muscles can actively utilize these fat molecules to produce energy saving the body’s stored reserves of carbohydrates for the later part of the workout).

The most obvious result of this finding is that caffeine which is legal as per International Olympic Committee regulations is the most popular drug in sports. It was found in the urine samples of more than two-thirds of 20680 Olympic athletes as per a recent report, with maximum usage by the athletes, rowers and cyclists.

But not much has been established about caffeine’s affect on less aerobic sports like weight lifting and stop and go games like football and basketball.
So scientists at Coventry University, England decided to study this aspect of caffeine.

They enlisted 13 young men for repeating standard gym regimen for weight lifting on a number of occasions. They were made to perform the task after consuming a sugar free beverage containing caffeine an hour before. On another occasion the men drank the same beverage without caffeine and performed the same regimen. The men lifted, squatted and pressed, performing each one of the exercise until they got exhausted.

It was discovered that in the work out containing caffeine the exhaustion came much later and they were able to do more sets of each of the exercises as compared to the workout involving the placebo.

Recruits were reported to be less tired individually in the workout having caffeine. Interestingly, some of these recruits were enthusiastic enough to repeat the whole of the workout again soon after.

Michael Duncan, senior lecturer, Sports Science, University of Exeter, England who is the leading author of the study remarked that the person exhibited more willingness to invest exertion with caffeine.

According to him, “After the caffeinated drink, the recruits put more labor into the training sessions and after the training sessions; they were more ready to go again psychologically.”

Dr. Duncan says, “It isn’t fully comprehended yet how caffeine affects body and psychology of the weight trainers. Increase in the number of fatty acid molecules in blood can’t be an answer to this kind of workout.

One theory according to him can be stated as – caffeine upsets adenosine which is a compound built in the muscles during exercise and adversely affects the force of contractions.

That is the muscular force is inversely proportional to the quantity of adenosine. Caffeine lowers adenosine levels, thus enabling more powerful muscular contraction and delayed fatigue. But Dr. Duncan stresses that this is only a theory till now.  Researches are on and additional mechanisms may also be found to be at work.
Another research showed that volunteers participating in arduous workouts with less aerobic exercises reported that caffeine helped them to perform 16% better. The outcomes of the researches are so overwhelming that the day is not far when a coffee mug would become an integral part of your gym gear.

Get drinking that coffee!


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