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Esspress-Yo-Self: Kicking up Your Cardio with Caffeine!

Jun 13, 2012 04:14PM

Photo courtesy of stock.exchng

Written by Micah Holley


We wake up. We drink caffeine.

We become tired. We drink caffeine.

We need that extra boost. We drink caffeine.

We rely on caffeine when our bodies are lagging. So why not turn to caffeine when we need some extra oomph in our workout? It seems perfectly logical. But is it healthy? And does it really help your workout? It might seem crazy, but caffeine is a perfectly healthy way to pump up your workout. Still don’t believe me? Look to the experts.

Since caffeine is a stimulant, it increases energy and endurance. Rather than slowing down your entire body, it slows down the breakdown of muscle glycogen. Todd Astorino, M.S. and Len Kravtiz, Ph.D. of the University of New Mexico explain that glycogen is stored carbohydrates in muscles. Since carbohydrates are “the body’s preferred substrate during endurance exercise due to its more efficient energy yield per liter of oxygen consumed,” your body benefits from stored carbohydrates more with the help of caffeine intake.

What does that mean? Look at it this way: your body will have more fuel to keep going if you drink caffeine or take caffeine supplements prior to working out. Your body’s endurance increases and allows you to last longer, especially while doing cardio.

Caffeine helps so much with your workout that it was once banned from the Olympics. It landed itself right onto the Prohibited List up until 2004. Although caffeine is no longer prohibited, it is on the 2012 World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Monitoring Program. WADA monitors caffeine “in order to detect patters of misuse in sport.” It is being watched because some see caffeine intake as an unfair advantage over those who choose not to use it. However, it is nothing like steroids. Caffeine is a natural stimulant that can be found in tealeaves, coffee beans, and cocoa nuts.

Although it might seem like you need to drink a large cup of Joe before your workout, you do not. It only takes about half a cup of coffee to do the trick.

Perhaps you can get through half a cup of coffee without any sugar or cream at all. Adding cream and sugar to half a cup is somewhat counterproductive. You are simply adding more calories to your daily total. You need only enough for that extra energy you are looking for. If you desperately need cream in your coffee, try hot tea instead!

A 2009 study done by Robert Motl, a professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois, shows that caffeine reduces pain throughout a workout. Motl’s research pointed out that individuals who drink caffeine routinely and those who rarely drink caffeine share the same amount of pain reduction. Basically, it does not matter if you are doing a high intensity workout or climbing a few flights of stairs. Either way, your pain will be reduced while your endurance levels increase.

That extra boost of endurance pushes you to do more and, in turn, your body burns more calories by staying on the treadmill longer. The benefits speak for themselves. Drinking coffee before a workout really does help both short-term and long-term goals.

See here how coffee beans help make cellulite disappear!