Addiction is a scary thing. And fear of addiction often gets people to do strange things. Like giving up coffee for a month just to prove you’re not addicted to the drug.
Good news: Don’t bother!
Not only do three-quarters of the world’s elite athletes allegedly consume caffeine on the regular, a new study says coffee before a workout can help you perform better.
Quick caffeine science lesson: Consuming caffeine delays feelings of fatigue by blocking receptors for the sleep-related neurotransmitter adenosine, helping you keep on keeping on without feeling fatigued.
And a new study conducted at the University of Sao Paulo, suggests a correlation between caffeine and more effective workouts. (The man behind the study: Professor Bruno Gualano, a coffee drinker and fitness enthusiast. Suspect? Perhaps. But let’s ignore this fact for the sake of our coffee love).
Basically, the study went down like this: Gualano put together a group of competitive male cyclists. They were split into groups based on how much coffee they usually drink each day—no coffee, less than one cup, more than three cups.
From there, the men performed various time trials on the bike, where they were given no caffeine, a placebo, and a 400-milligram caffeine pill, which is the equivalent to four cups of coffee.
The results were significant: The men all went faster—an average of 3.3 percent faster—on the time trial where they were given the caffeine pill. The placebo increased their performance as well, but to a lesser degree—2.2 percent—while they were slowest on the time trial where they didn’t receive anything before the ride.
BUT, what was most significant was that everyone increased his performance with caffeine—those who normally consume 3-plus cups of coffee a day, as well as those who rarely or never rely on caffeine.
Ok, but that’s just one study, right? True, but it should be mentioned many other studies have been done about caffeine, which also paint the drug in a positive way.
10 other potential benefits of caffeine include:
10. Caffeine taken with carbohydrates is believed to replenish muscle glycogen concentrations faster after working out.
9. It is believed to help detox the liver and cleanse the colon.
8. It might help reduce muscle soreness after working out.
7. It is believed to help improve memory and might even guard against Alzheimer’s.
6. A study out of Rutgers University discovered caffeine prevented skin cancer in mice, while another study suggested coffee drinkers are less likely to develop melanoma.
5. It might even prevent erectile dysfunction in men. (The study showed a reduced risk in men who consumed as little as 85mg of caffeine a day).
4. It reduces the chance of developing kidney stones. This was determined by a study of more then 200,000 people.
3. It might help with chronic inflammation as it blocks the expression of a gene responsible for chronic inflammation as we age.
2. It helps people with asthma breathe better (from a study published in the U.S National Library of Medicine).
1. It might even prevent weight gain. This comes from German researchers who showed that weight loss participants in a study drank 2-4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day.
Some pretty bold claims, indeed. Take them with a grain of salt, or hop on board the train and get ready to caffeinate and dominate.