If you’re looking to get more from your workout and you love coffee – or tea! – we’ve got some good news!
A study from the UK found that caffeine intake may boost performance while delaying fatigue during exercise. Researchers and athletes have long known that caffeine can provide extra oomph to aerobic performance. However this recent data provides evidence that it can also improve anaerobic exercise, like weight training.
In the study, researchers at Coventry University in England recruited 13 young men and asked them to repeat a standard weight-training gym regimen on several occasions. An hour before one workout, the men consumed a sugar-free energy drink containing caffeine. An hour before another, they drank the same beverage, minus the caffeine. Then the men lifted, pressed and squatted, performing each exercise until they were exhausted.
Exhaustion arrived much later for those who’d had caffeine first. After drinking the caffeinated beverage, the men completed significantly more repetitions of the exercises than after the placebo. Exactly how caffeine influences the physiology and psychology of weight trainers isn’t fully understood.
Participants in the study also reported feeling less tired during the entire workout and, in perhaps the most interesting finding, said that they were eager to repeat the whole workout again soon. Researchers are finding that caffeine seems to affect the central nervous system and parts of the brain involved in mood, alertness and fine motor coordination during exercise. I don’t know about you, but I will do almost anything to help me feel better while lifting weights!
It’s important to note that there are still many unknowns about the relationship between caffeine and exercise. For instance, researchers do not yet know the optimal dose for enhancing performance without inducing unwanted effects (like jitters and high blood pressure). If you are caffeine-sensitive, it’s still best to avoid drinking caffeinated beverages. But hopefully we will see more studies soon that will shed light on this fascinating topic. In the meantime, as long as you don’t experience any adverse effects from moderate (2-3 caffeinated beverages per day) caffeine intake, you may want to grab a cup of coffee or strong tea on your way to the gym!