This is a guest post by Daniel. Learn more about how you can guest post for Daily Shot Of Coffee.
Chances are good that over the next few weeks, more than a few of you will hit the gym for the first time in a while. Exercise is a natural stimulant that, when combined with a healthy diet, leaves you feeling energetic and fulfilled afterward– if you can find the energy in the first place. Those who are not a go-and-get-em mood at 5:30 AM will be happy to know that a cup of coffee before exercise will help you continue your New Years resolution well past Easter. Not only does coffee you awake, research shows that it boosts athletic performance.
Caffeine boosts fatty acid levels in the bloodstream, giving your body extra fuel for workouts. A cup of coffee before a swim or job allows your body to work longer and harder. According to the New York Times, caffeine is the most widely-used drug in professional sports, especially among triathletes, cyclists and rowers. A few cups of coffee may not have been enough for Lance Armstrong, but it should give Average Joe a significant boost in his cardio workout.
A small study conducted by Coventry University researchers shows that caffeine is also beneficial to weight lifters. Participants who consumed energy drinks an hour prior to performing resistance exercises reported feeling less exertion than the caffeine-deprived control group. Coffee will of course also make you feel more alert and focused, which could help in tennis or other sports that require concentration.
Just how much coffee should you drink? Experts have different opinions. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, 3-6 mg of caffeine per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight is the ideal amount for endurance sports. Thus a 175-pound athlete should consume 240- 480 mg of caffeine per the criteria. That’s about 3- 6 cups of coffee!
Sounds like a bit much? Keep in mind that this is the recommended amount for well-trained athletes. No research has been done on average individuals, but it’s fair to say that a cup or two would also be beneficial to an inexperienced athlete. The benefits are greater for longer sessions, so triathletes and long distance cyclers have a great excuse to invest in a new coffee maker. Unfortunately, some regulatory bodies consider excessive caffeine levels doping, but modest caffeine intake shouldn’t be an issue.
Also note that research is generally done with pure caffeine, not coffee, however. The ACSM states that this heavy caffeine intake did not affect urine volume or sweat levels, though it may increase the risk of heart attack in some individuals. This is generally not a problem with athletes. Keep this in mind if you’ve been a couch potato for the last several years and are just starting an exercise regime, however. The stress of caffeine intake on your heart with the added fatigue from exercise could make a heart attack more likely for those with cardiovascular conditions. If in doubt, talk to your doctor.
For me personally, a cup of coffee before I hit the treadmill or pool in the morning gets me going. The idea of trudging to the gym on a cold winter morning makes me want to stay in bed, but freshly ground coffee from my Aeropress gets me there. What’s a better time than now to get up and get fit with a cup of coffee?
Daniel is the owner and founder of Coffee Krave, an up-and-coming blog covering the latest coffee gear, gadgets and more. Keep up to date with us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/Coffee_Krave) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/CoffeeKrave).