There are numerous health benefits of drinking coffee!
It’s been associated with a reduced risk of mortality, reduced cancer risk, lower heart disease risk, and less chance of developing diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
Coffee that contains caffeine is also enormously beneficial for improving exercise performance. It can enhance athletic performance by a whopping 25 percent in controlled studies, which equals about 5 to 7 percent in real world competitions. Coffee can also radically accelerate recovery and raise motivation to train, so it’s sure to give most individuals a valuable advantage.
This article will give you five unbeatable ways to use coffee for better athletic performance and improved body composition.
#1: Use Coffee To Reduce Muscle Soreness & Recover Faster
Coffee is one of the most effective aids for reducing the debilitating muscle soreness that appears a day or two after a hard workout. Plus, it’s one of the only methods of restoring strength and muscle function when suffering from a major muscle thrashing.
For example, a recent study found that when female trainees took a 5 mg/kg dose of caffeine—which is equal to about 2.5 cups of coffee—at the 24 and 48-hour time points after a muscle-damaging workout they decreased muscle pain by between 26 and 48 percent compared to a placebo. Recovery of maximal strength was also faster.
Coffee also helps you recover from very intense workouts so that you can hit it hard again in the gym. For example, it’s most useful when you need to replenish muscle glycogen fuel stores so that you can train twice-a-day or compete in a weekend tournament.
The effect is large: One study showed that giving athletes 8 mg/kg of caffeine (4 cups of high-powered coffee) after a time trial to exhaustion allowed for 152 percent greater performance than a placebo on a second sprint interval test performed 4 hours later.
#2: Drink Coffee for Higher Quality Workouts
There are a number of physiological benefits to drinking coffee:
- It raises stimulatory hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine.
- It helps free fatty acids to increase the use of fat for energy.
- It releases calcium that is stored in muscle for increased endurance.
- It decreases the sensation of pain, influencing the brain’s message of fatigue, allowing athletes to keep going when they’d normally collapse in exhaustion.
The result is that strength and power athletes are more motivated to train after drinking coffee and may have higher quality workouts. For example, a bench press study found that trained men who took 5 mg/kg of caffeine did an average of 22.4 reps and lifted 1,142 kg compared to a placebo group that did an average of 20.4 reps and lifted 1,039 kg.
Another study found that Spanish National team rugby players who consumed 3 mg/kg of caffeine had a huge increase in running pace during games. Female soccer players had similar results with the same dose of caffeine, improving jump height by 3 percent and total distance covered in a game by 6 percent.
#3: Drink Coffee to Promote Optimal Body Composition
There is compelling evidence that coffee increases your metabolic rate so that you burn more calories (3 to 10 percent more) and it can help shift the body to burn fat rather than glucose for energy. In addition, coffee modulates blood sugar and can improve insulin sensitivity.
As wonderful as coffee is, this doesn’t mean that it’s a magic solution for fat loss. If adding coffee is the only thing that you change about your diet and habits, you’ll be unlikely to see changes in your body. However, the fact that coffee enhances motivation to train and improves your desire to work hard and push through pain may lead to greater fat loss or gains in muscle.
Furthermore, since coffee keeps you from getting sore for days on end and restores the strength loss you get from hard lifting, you can train more frequently.
It goes without saying that if fat loss is your goal, don’t put sugar or artificial sweeteners or creamers in your coffee. And be aware that straight caffeine, such as what you’d get from an energy drink, has been found to decrease insulin sensitivity. Coffee has the opposite effect, improving the sensitivity of cells to insulin, most likely due to the high concentration of antioxidants it contains.
#4: Use Coffee to Improve Performance & Mood When Feeling Sluggish
Coffee is a godsend when you are sleep-deprived or feel sluggish and unmotivated to work out because it boosts mood and blunts physical fatigue.
For example, when sleep-deprived professional athletes were given 4 mg/kg of caffeine prior to a strength training session, they self-selected heavier training loads than when they took a placebo. The caffeine increased voluntary workload and readiness to train, allowing them to get more out of their workout when they were tired.
Coffee also helps you overcome the fact that athletic performance is diminished in the morning compared to later in the day due to lower activation of the central nervous system and reduced body temperature.
For example, a study found that when elite athletes took 3 mg/kg of caffeine in the morning, squat and bench press performance were enhanced by 3 to 6 percent compared to a placebo. Morning strength and power were nearly equal to levels recorded in an evening trial when performance peaked.
Caffeine will also improve concentration and reaction time. When you feel fatigue or pain, motor firing rate decreases. Caffeine blocks this reduction by activating the release of neurotransmitters for more efficient muscular contractions. For example, studies have found that tired doctors who need to perform ultra-precise surgery benefit from caffeine.
#5: Drink Coffee for a Huge Endurance Performance Boost
Coffee is most effective at raising performance in endurance sports and it’s been tested in nearly every sport, including running, cycling, rowing, and swimming.
For example, in one 1,500-meter time trial of elite runners, those how drank caffeinated coffee ran 4.2 seconds faster on average than those who drank a placebo, and the best time was 17 seconds faster with coffee.
How To Benefit: People do become habituated to coffee, which means that you’ll get the greatest boost in performance if you don’t drink it daily, although it does still have a performance effect even after you’ve built up a tolerance.
Depending on whether you’re a regular coffee drinker, performance improvements are maximized with between 3 and 6 mg/kg of caffeine, which equals 1.5 to 6 cups of coffee. Caffeine content varies greatly from about 95 mg to 200 mg per 8 oz. If you decide to stop consuming caffeine prior to competitions to get the maximal performance boost, do so at least 5 days and possibly a week out.