7 Ways Coffee “May” Improve Athletic Performance
It goes without saying that being an athlete, professional or not, necessitates big sacrifices. A lot of athletes sacrifice some drinks and food as a part of their diet, a feat that most people find impossible to do. Because there are so many things banned from an athlete’s diet, it can be difficult for them (or you) to enjoy the flavors life has to offer.
Some of these drinks even tend to be caffeinated or carbonated, like soft drinks, some energy drinks, and more importantly the alcoholic drinks. Athletes are forced to avoid these drinks, lest they suffer reducing their performance in training and competitions.
Since most caffeinated drinks are often banned in an athlete’s diet, it begs the question of whether coffee is allowed. Thankfully, much research has been done regarding the topic, and the studies on it are mostly available for the public.
Although some studies can be contradicting, here are some of the perceived benefits of coffee to athletic performance:
1. Increased Endurance
Endurance is a key aspect no matter what sport you play. It allows you to expend effort in an exercise for longer periods, allowing you to perform at your peak longer than needed.
Coffee, or caffeine in general, is suspected to have positive effects on an athlete’s endurance performance. Coffee at moderate levels is known to have greater or more visible effects in endurance or aerobic sports. This means that taking coffee as a supplement to your diet or exercise can help with improving your endurance.
Along with this effect, it is also suspected to help athletes reduce the perception of effort, which further allows athletes to do more for longer.
2. Increased Energy Levels
Energy levels are important for an athlete because it’s what they use to do what they do in their sport. Beginners tend to have lower energy levels than professionals, but tend to grow as they continue to train.
It is pretty common for everyone to drink coffee in the morning, and for the reason that it helps them wake up. It gives them a kick of energy to start the day, and many people drink midday to be able to continue their work. If it can help non-athletes with non-sports tasks, then surely it can also benefit athletes and their performance.
Coffee can give an athlete the kick of energy they need to warm up or to keep going. Coffee is known to boost energy levels with very few carbs, so athletes can use it as a supplement to help them with training or competitions.
3. Fat Burning
Quite a lot of athletes, professional or not, tend to do the sport they love not just for the sake of loving it, but to maintain their physical health as well. As athletes train, they are often forced to maintain a certain level of fat in their bodies, which is what their coaches or trainers perceive to be the best for their performance.
Caffeine is a very common ingredient in weight loss supplements because of its ability to aid the body in burning excess fat. Studies show that having a small dose of caffeine before exercising can help the body release as much as 30% of stored fat.
Coffee is a very good source of caffeine, and compared to most energy drinks, is low in carbohydrate content. Drinking coffee before an exercise can help with releasing stored body fat to achieve your weight goal.
4. Increased Metabolism
To put things in a simple manner, metabolism is a function of the body that uses energy to do certain functions, like thinking or moving. It is what the body does to help an athlete expend their food as fuel for doing their sports.
When food stores in the body run out, there is still energy that can be found in the body. This energy is stored as fat. Exercises burn fat to give the body the energy it needs to move, but fat isn’t always what’s used for energy first.
Drinking coffee before training or competing can help you burn up your body’s food stores faster, which is also why more fat is burned when exercising.
5. Greater Concentration
Exercise requires a great amount of concentration, be it the form the body should take or the activity that needs to be accomplished. Athletes need to focus on their main objectives while their muscles slowly surrender to fatigue, other people move around them, or any other possible distractions.
Regarding more benefits of coffee, caffeinated drinks like it are considered natural stimulants and are known to positively impact areas of the brain responsible for focus. One study specifically found that caffeine produced positive stimulation to the parietal lobe of the brain, an area that is responsible for focus and attention span.
6. Reduced Muscle Pain
Muscle pain is an experience all athletes share. It can appear in between exercises or when all exercises or competitions have been finished. This is a result of using the muscles to achieve a certain goal, and is completely normal. However, this feeling can also be easily reduced.
Having a cup of coffee before training or a game can help reduce the perceived pain during and after the event. However, do note that overloading on caffeine from coffee leads to bad results, so no matter how much you want to reduce the pain you feel, never overdose on coffee.
7. Positive Studies on Effects of Caffeine on Strength Exercises
Muscle strength is very important for all athletes, as it increases tolerance to exercises. It helps them do better and more during training, which essentially helps them when it comes to competitions.
Although studies are not conclusive, present studies do suggest that caffeine from coffee may help with performing strengthening exercises, like bench presses. Increased muscle strength eventually leads to increased endurance, so it basically comes back to benefit number one.
Caffeine is considered a drug in certain medical situations. In fact, it’s known as the most used drug in certain medical books. Be careful when using coffee as a supplement drink, especially when joining competitions, as some organizations prohibit the use of it before games.
Always remember that nothing beats training, so just keep going at it, and eventually, you will get your goal!
This article was written by Sarah Reyes, content manager for Cuppabean.
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