Caffeine | How it can Improve Exercise Performance

Caffeine is one of the most popular and effective supplements there is, it is also a drug that is popular socially as it is in the bodybuilding world. Lots of people use caffeine regularly for a whole host of reasons and benefits, but it is popular in bodybuilding and fitness for aiding fat loss and improving exercise performance.

In this article we will be assessing caffeine as an ergogenic aid, and look at the benefits it can offer users in the gym and on the sports field.

What are the benefits to performance?

There are so many benefits of caffeine on performance that it is almost impossible to write them all down in one article. But luckily we can group a lot of these separate benefits into bigger groups which all have the same cause. So for example, caffeine can boost your metabolism and increase fat oxidation (the use of stored body fat for energy) [1]. This means that if you take it in the correct dosage you can lose weight.

But these are not three separate benefits, they are all related to each other. Caffeine can increase your metabolism which can lead to fat loss, and caffeine can increase fat oxidation that can lead to fat loss. So you have two benefits that create the same result (fat loss). Hopefully that makes sense!

So how can fat loss benefit performance? Well it doesn’t always, but having less body fat can improve your cardio performance, and can improve your performance in a number of sports, particularly sports where you need to hit a certain weight to compete (boxing, wrestling, powerlifting etc).

Caffeine can also increase power and strength performance in the gym, it does this by reducing the perception of pain. A 2011 study by Bellar, Kamimori, & Glickman found that a low dosage of caffeine reduced reported pain during a grip strength test [2]. Lowering the feeling of pain can help you to push harder in the gym – which can explain why caffeine not only improves aerobic performance, but anaerobic too.

Caffeine can therefore have a huge impact on strength and power because the user will feel less pain while performing intense lifts. Because caffeine can also reduce fatigue the user will be able to perform more reps too. This means that caffeine can indirectly increase muscle growth as you can work harder and for longer in the gym.

Another benefit of caffeine is that it can help fight the effects of a bad night’s sleep on performance, usually a lack of sleep would cause a poor gym workout, but taking high doses of caffeine will negate these bad effects.

Because caffeine is a stimulant it is also used as a Nootropic, it can improve cognitive function and help you focus better. This can help people who are studying for exams or have important meetings, but it can also help people in the gym to focus on their workout better, and it is particularly useful for sportsmen and women who require tactical thinking, or need to concentrate on highly technical movements.

Final Thoughts

Caffeine is one of the best supplements that you can have in your kit bag, you can find it in most fat burners and pre workouts, alternatively you can take caffeine pills. Or you can go old school and have a cup of black coffee 30 minutes before a workout.

References

[1] http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/6/1040.full.pdf+html

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21522070

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