Many of us drink caffeine in some form or another, and the strongest common form tends to be coffee. My particular poison is tea, and that’s not a hint as to whether it’s dangerous, or not. But is it harmful to your body, is it damaging to your progress, nutritional or fitness progress? Well, thankfully there’s a bit of science on this, and more emerging all the time.
As with everything, you’d never guess what, but too much caffeine can be bad for you. It tends to get your blood racing, like a shot of adrenaline to your body, but obviously this comes with its downsides, like an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart rate and even anxiety. And then, more obviously, there are the issues it can cause with sleep, and your ability to fall asleep, and fatigue. That “shot of adrenaline” is likely to result in a comedown at some stage, particularly if you have it all at a certain time, the morning for example. It can also become a sort of addiction, whereby you feel you need it, and you can experience withdrawal symptoms when you don’t have it. So, be careful with the amount you consume.
Caffeine has its positives though, many controlled studies have shown improvements in various functions of the brain, such as memory, reaction times, focus. And there are some studies that suggest it may help combat degenerative brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia. And as with practically everything else, depending on what study the media chooses to drag out, it may also lower the risk of certain cancers, stroke, and heart disease. It’s also a great source of antioxidants, and nutrients. So, not all bad.
From a fitness point of view, many meta-studies show that caffeine can actually be of benefit to your training session. It can slightly help your endurance and strength, enabling you to achieve that little bit more. Take it between thirty to sixty minutes before your session for the best results. There’s also a boost to your metabolism, and it helps break down body fat. Now, obviously, the effectiveness of these benefits do vary from person to person, so just hope you’re one of the lucky ones.
Having said all this, as with everything, I’ll also say, do what works for you. I’ve had clients give up coffee, and they’ve found it had a hugely positive effect on their life, from their energy levels to their sleep patterns. And conversely, I’ve had clients give up coffee, and they’ve found they struggle to function to their best ability, or wake up properly in the morning. Everyone’s individual really, we’ll all react in a different way, so give it a go and see how you react. That’s usually the best way to find out. I’ll be back with more next week, seeya then.
Body Fuel Personal Fitness Trainer