September 25, 2023
If you're curious to know how you can use caffeine to improve your fitness – you're not alone – and are in the right place.
Let's start by asking what is caffeine really? Caffeine is a naturally occurring compound that is found in many plants. Some of the most common natural sources of caffeine include cocoa and coffee beans, kola nuts, tea leaves, and Guarana. It is also added to certain non-prescriptions medications, supplements, energy bars, soft drinks and energy drinks.
So how does caffeine affect your body? This compound is considered a stimulant. This means that it primarily increases the activity in your brain and nervous system, but can affect other parts and systems as well. When consumed, it is absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream, so it's effects usually peak about an hour after ingestion and can last three to six hours. Some common effects of caffeine on the body include increased alertness, heart rate, blood pressure, and improved concentration. With consistent use, you can also develop a tolerance to caffeine and will need more of it to achieve the same effect.
Due to its stimulating properties, caffeine is a commonly used supplement in the fitness world. Why? Read on to find out!
When you exercise, your muscles usually use glycogen for fuel. Glycogen is the stored version of glucose and is limited in quantity. Once your glycogen stores run out, your muscles will get less efficient and you will begin to feel tired and maybe even exhausted. In other words, you “hit a wall”. This is where caffeine comes in handy. Caffeine can help to conserve glycogen by encouraging your body to burn fat instead of sugar for fuel. This will help to sustain your energy levels and allow you to exercise harder for longer. For this reason, caffeine is most beneficial for endurance-type workouts that last more than an hour.
Caffeine also affects your cognitive function. We've already covered that it makes you more alert, improves concentration and keeps you sharp. This can help to improve speed, agility and power in workouts. You know the burn you feel in your muscles during an intense workout? Caffeine can also help with that! Caffeine has been shown to reduce the perception of pain during workouts. Once again, this can result in higher output and more productive workouts.
When used correctly and in appropriate amounts, caffeine can definitely boost your performance in the gym. However, caffeine has some negative side effects, especially when taken in large amounts. This includes migraines, increased anxiety, tremors, difficulty sleeping and dependency. Therefore, this is a tool that you should use carefully. Here are some of our recommendations for supplementing with caffeine:
Have you used caffeine to help you in your workouts? Let us know your experience in the comments below!
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