It Turns Out That Coffee Drinkers Get a Pre-Workout Caffeine Boost, Too

Consuming caffeine before you exercise can enhance your performance even if you are a big-time coffee guzzler.
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Photo by: ericdelmar@ comcast.net ©Eric Delmar

ericdelmar@ comcast.net, Eric Delmar

Those of us who are big-time coffee guzzlers probably don’t need another reason to indulge in our favorite beverage, but science has given us one anyway.

Caffeine can give your workout a boost — this much has been known. But a theory has also held that, if you are a regular coffee drinker, the performance-enhancing effects of a pre-workout caffeine jolt is diminished. A new study indicates that may not to be the case.

A “double-blind, crossover, counterbalanced” study conducted by researchers at the University of São Paulo in Brazil and published in Journal of Applied Physiology suggests consuming caffeine about an hour before you exercise can enhance your performance regardless of whether or not you are a regular caffeine consumer.

The study examined the effect of pre-exercise caffeine ingestion on 40 endurance-trained cyclists who were either low (about a cup of a caffeinated beverage or less daily), moderate (about two cups a day) or high consumers of caffeine (three or more a day) in order to gauge whether the cyclists usual caffeine consumption reduced or otherwise altered caffeine’s known performance-boosting effects. It did not.

“Performance effects of acute caffeine supplementation during a ~30 min cycling TT performance were not influenced by the level of habitual caffeine consumption,” the study concluded.

The results will come as good news to athletes who have heretofore felt the need to lay off the caffeine in general in order to maximize the effects of caffeine before a race, game or athletic event.

But, the study’s lead author, Bruno Gualano, has cautioned that consuming too much caffeine can have perilous side effects – making you jittery or inducing a headache, upset stomach or even heart palpitations. Best to go easy, Gualano told The New York Times, suggesting that a single cup of coffee about an hour ahead of working out should suffice.

Alas, no scientific justification yet for loading your pre-workout coffee with cream and sugar, though.

Photo: iStock
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