FUELIXIR’S FAST GUIDE TO CAFFEINE
WHAT IS CAFFEINE?
Caffeine is a fantastic substance that is the most commonly used mood-altering drug on the planet. It’s a psychostimulant that is used by almost everyone we know and is found in a variety of beverages. Once it’s consumed and reaches the bloodstream, the body takes it to the liver to be broken down into the actual caffeine compound, which travels to the central nervous system and begins to increase your brain activity.
WHERE CAN I FIND THIS MAGICAL STUFF?
A variety of plants contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, cocao pod, and guarana. Pre-workouts, energy drinks, and tea are also sprinkled with it, which can add some beneficial energy into your everyday life. You can even buy caffeine pills over-the-counter and reap its benefits. Studies suggest that taking in caffeinated drinks can help improve your workout by increasing your effectiveness, mood, and strength.
CAN I TAKE IN TOO MUCH?
In the United States, Mexico, and Canada alone, it’s estimated that about 80-90% of all adults and children will habitually consume caffeine during their lifetime. According to the FDA, the recommended levels for healthy adults should not exceed more than 400 mg per day, or about four to five cups of coffee. Although the average intake of caffeine for adults in the U.S. is 280 mg per day, some studies show that as little as 30 mg of caffeine can alter someone’s mood, and consuming over 100 mg per day can cause addiction and withdrawal problems. It’s best to know your own limits and to start small with all types of energy sources – energy drinks, caffeine pills, soft drinks, pre-workouts, coffee drinks, and teas.
TELL ME ABOUT THE BENEFITS AND SIDE EFFECTS
There are incredible benefits to consuming caffeine, such as boosting your overall performance and increasing your endurance during an intense training session (or competition!). A recent study even suggested that caffeine significantly reduced muscle pain for cyclists during 30 minutes of high-intensity training. Improved performance, increased adrenaline production, and reduced fatigue and pain perception are all amazing factors to consider. However, all good things have a dark side to them, too. Having too much caffeine than your body can handle can have dangerous consequences, such as anxiety, insomnia, addiction, and major withdrawal symptoms. Caffeine is also a diuretic (it makes you lose water), so you can be at a greater risk of dehydration if you’re not careful.
SO WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO HAVE IT BEFORE A WORKOUT?
Some researchers say that drinking coffee is the best because it contains B vitamins, while some say tea is the best source of energy before a workout session because it contains catechins (an antioxidant). There was a study done by Kevin Maki and his team in 2009 that demonstrated how the intake of green tea (with caffeine levels of about 39 mg) over a 12-week period resulted in a greater weight loss than those who didn’t drink it. Coffee does have its own positive attributes, including an increased ergogenic effect. Pre-workouts were made for intense workout sessions and many contain amino acid complexes and beta-alanine, which also have added benefits.
DROP THE MIC
Caffeine is remarkable and exists to fuel us with energy, but we must be careful how we consume it. There are so many sources of caffeine, but it might be wise to stick to old-school black coffee, refreshing green tea, or some modernized pre-workout when getting ready to train. Energy drinks and soft drinks might have too much sugar than you bargained for, and caffeine pills don’t have the added benefits of coffee, tea, or pre-workouts. Whatever you choose, make sure you’re drinking water with it, and having fun. It’s all about how you feel and how much you can safely consume. So drink up, fuel up, and kick some training butt!
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