Looking for a way to enhance your physical and sports performance in the gym and lift even heavier than dudes? Or win that race? Coffee is your best friend, my dear!
About two hours before I hit the gym, I drink 2 cups of coffee in a row and take another one at the bar in the gym. When I participate in organized run like the Dam Tot Damloop, I do the same, just slightly more extreme with 5 cups of coffee.
Positive effects of coffee in general
You might be shocked, as coffee is known as an unhealthy substance (I will not go deeper into that in this article). But coffee has positive effects as well:
* a decreased risk of heart failure incidence of 11% at 4 cups of coffee a day;
* an increased alertness already at 1 cup of coffee or 75 mg caffeine;
* coffee contains antioxidants, which help repair cell damage. These molecules take care of your skin at night, which is why they are also known as an anti-ager;
* may prevent skin cancer.
Positive effects of coffee for endurance performance and resistance training
I admit: coffee is my best friend before a workout. Here’s why:
1. Coffee hydrates
Fluid intake is important for lots of things in your body, for example to lubricate joints, nourish and protect the brain and other tissues like your skin, keep your body temperature normal and to help remove waste through perspiration, bowel movements and urination.
Drinking water prior to and during exercise is very important, as dehydration results in a lowered ability to regulate your body temperature and a decrease of sports performance. Make sure you meet the requirements for daily fluid intake or at least drink whenever you’re thirsty. The daily requirement for fluid intake is approximately 2.4l (2.5qt), depending on characteristics such as height and weight. This is equal to eight glasses of water. Or coffee.
Yes, coffee. Coffee consist for 95% out of water, so when you drink coffee, you contribute to meeting your body’s daily requirement for fluids. That remaining 5% caffeine and its dehydrating effects? You don’t have to worry about that; there are no recent studies that proof that moderate coffee intake (about 5 cups a day) indeed dehydrates.
On the contrary! A larger intake of caffeinated beverage intake does not have a stronger effect on urinary excretion compared to low caffeine intake. There can also no effect be found of moderate coffee intake (the equivalent to 5 espresso cups of coffee) on total body water, extracellular water and intracellular water and neither does the difference between moderate coffee and water consumption on total body water or blood measures of hydration status show a significant effect. Although the latter two studies were conducted on men, coffee may also not have a dehydrating effect on women, but I won’t jump to conclusions too soon.
2. Caffeine benefits endurance athletes and strength performance
As an athlete (or let’s just say: during your workout) it is important to keep your fluid level high, as loss of fluids impairs in exercise performance. We already learned that coffee does not have a negative effect on hydration, nor does it in endurance athletes during performance.
There ìs a positive effect of caffeine intake on sports performance – especially on endurance sports performed longer than 5 minutes and resistance training (specifically barbell bench presses) among women – though; caffein works as an ergogenic aid, which can be describes as a strong stimulant that helps to enhance performance (speed, power, length, strength, resisting fatigue, concentration). Without going t0o much into detail, the effect can be described to the effect of caffein on the production of adrenalin, which in turn stimulates energy production and improves blood flow to the muscles and heart.
Having the positive effect of caffeine on endurance clear, how much caffeine do you need to incorporate to benefit from your cuppa coffee? It is hard to say how much you need to incorporate exactly since every body is different and reacts differently, but the positive effect of caffeine found on endurance training has especially been the strongest when abstained from caffeine for 7 days and 1 hour prior to a sports performance in moderate quantity (3-6 mg.kg body mass). The same might be true for resistance training.
- You need to drink appr. 8 glasses of water day.
- According to recent studies, coffee is not dehydrating.
- You can drink coffee to meet your daily fluid requirement.
- Hydration is important for temperature regulation and sport performance.
- Coffee can help you improve your sports performance due to its rehydrating characteristics and ergogenic aid.
- This effect is the strongest in strength training and aerobic training.
- Coffee’s ergogenic effect is at its strongest when you abstain from coffee 7 days prior to a competition (or workout) and take 3-6 mg/kg body mass 1 hour prior to the competition (or workout).
> Mostofsky, E. et al (2012). Habitual Coffee Consumption and Risk of Heart Failure: A Dose–Response Meta-Analysis. Circ Heart Fail.5(4): 401–405. doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.112.967299
> EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) (2011). Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to caffeine and increased fat oxidation leading to a reduction in body fat mass (ID 735, 1484), increased energy expenditure leading to a reduction in body weight (ID 1487), increased alertness (ID 736, 1101, 1187, 1485, 1491, 2063, 2103) and increased attention (ID 736, 1485, 1491, 2375) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/20061. EFSA Journal, 9(4): 2054.
> Fengju Song, Qureshi, & Jiali Han (2012). Increased Caffeine Intake Is Associated with Reduced Risk of Basal Cell Carcinoma of the Skin. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-3511
> Goulet, E. D. (2012). Effect of exercise-induced dehydration on endurance performance: evaluating the impact of exercise protocols on outcomes using a meta-analytic procedure. British Journal of Sports Medicine.
> Can J Appl Physiol. (1999). Effects of dehydration on exercise performance. Barr SI, 24(2):164-72.
> Grandjean A C et al. (2000). The effect of caffeinated, non-caffeinated, caloric and non caloric beverages on hydration. J. Am Coll Nutr 19, 591-600
> Silva A. M. et al (2013) Total body water and its compartments are not affected by ingesting a moderate dose of caffeine in healthy young adult males. Applied Physiology Nutrition & Metabolism, 38:626-632.
> Ganio MS et al. (2009). Effect of caffeine on sports-specific endurance performance: a systematic review. J. Strength Condition Res 23 > Ganio M. S. et al. (2009). Effect of Caffeine on Sport-Specific Endurance Performance: A Systematic Review. J Strength and Conditioning Research. 23(1):315-24.
> Kolasa, K. M. et al. (2009). Hydration and health promotion. Nutr Today 44, 190-203 > Killer, S. C. et al (2014). No Evidence of Dehydration with Moderate Daily Coffee Intake: A Counterbalanced Cross-Over Study in a Free-Living Population. PLoS ONE, 9(1): e84154.
> Grandjean, A. C. et al. (2000). The effect of caffeinated, non-caffeinated, caloric and non caloric beverages on hydration. J. Am Coll Nutr 19, 591-600
> Ganio, M. S. et al. (2007). Evidence-based approach to lingering hydration questions. Clin Sports Med, 26, 12-16 > Ganio, M. S. et al. (2009). Effect of caffeine on sports-specific endurance performance: a systematic review. J. Strength Condition Res 23
> Goldstein, E. R. et al. (2010). Caffeine enhances upper body strength in resistance trained athletes. J. Int Soc Sports Nut 7: 5
Do you take an ergogenic supplement before a competition? Or maybe before a workout?