Is Drinking Coffee the Secret to Boosting Your Workout Performance?

is drinking coffee the secret to boosting workouts?

It’s the most popular beverage for a reason. Coffee is a stimulant that most of us rely on to jumpstart our mornings and keep us going throughout the day: Americans consume about 27.3 ounces of coffee per day, about 1,000 milligrams per person. Now, new research suggests that drinking coffee may also enhance endurance, making your workouts more effective.

The research, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, looked at existing data on coffee and its relationship to sports performance.

Simon Higgins, lead author out of the University of Georgia looked at more than 600 existing studies to better understand caffeine and coffee in particular in relation to exercise.

While opinions on caffeine’s impact on fitness have changed over the years, the current research says caffeinated coffee can enhance endurance performance. (In the 1980s scientists believed it did not enhance performance, a flip from findings in the ‘70s. In the ‘90s, the opinion flipped again, supporting caffeine’s impact on endurance.)

The current findings also point to benefits in isolated caffeine, such as what’s found in a dietary supplement over the consumption of coffee. But coffee drinkers will still see results. In fact, there may be other benefits to coffee’s components that increase overall endurance abilities.

"This is helpful for athletes because coffee is a naturally occurring compound,” Higgins explained. “There's the potential that getting your caffeine by drinking coffee has similar endurance benefits as taking caffeine pills."

According to the research, those athletes who consumed 3 to 7 milligrams of caffeine (through coffee consumption) increased their endurance performance by a whopping 24 percent.

But the researchers note to not overdo it. Too much caffeine can have a deleterious effect on the body. The National Collegiate Athletic Association also considers caffeine as a prohibited substance if urinary levels exceed 15 μg/ml. But you’d have to drink a lot of coffee to hit those levels; about 17 cups.

Image: victor camilo

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