Americans have a dependence on coffee. Whether we use it to jolt us awake in the morning, or keep us moving through the day, we are almost addicted to the stuff. Now researchers think that morning “pick-me-up” may help your workout routine.
How does it work?
Scientists and athletes have known for years that caffeine has an effect on performance. It’s the most common, legal substance that athletes use. While runners and cyclists use it the most, other athletes are no strangers to caffeine.
A new study looked at how caffeine would affect weight training. Researchers at Coventry University in England put 13 men to work in the gym using various amounts of caffeine during several different workout sessions. The results showed men were less tired and put more effort into their workout when they had caffeine in their system.
“Essentially, we found that with the caffeinated drink, the person felt more able to invest effort,” says Michael Duncan, a senior lecturer in sports science at the University of Exeter in England and lead author of the study. “They would put more work into the training session, and when the session was finished, in the presence of the caffeinated drink, they were more psychologically ready to go again.”
How much is too much?
While caffeine has its advantages in the gym, doctors warn people about downing large amounts of it. “We don’t know the best dose” of caffeine to provide performance benefits without undesirable side effects, Duncan says, like heightened blood pressure or the jitters. There are also questions about the best time to drink the caffeine, before the workout or during. While many suggest before the workout, no study proves that. For now, doctors suggest using caffeine in moderation and drinking it before a workout to get the most out of your time at the gym.