Carl here and I hope everyone has started the week off on a healthy foot!
With all of the hustle and bustle that comes with the fast paced lifestyle of the East Coast, tourists shouldn't be surprised why there is a Starbucks within every mile in New York City. Caffeine is what gets the people goin'!
Caffeine has also been shown to significantly improve performance during tough workouts. In recent studies, simply downing a cup of coffee before you lace up your kicks can help you get more out of your workouts by boosting your metabolism, fire you up into the right mindset, pump blood faster into working muscles, deliver messages faster to muscles from the brain, and delay time to onset fatigue according to a recent Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness study.
What is Caffeine?
Did you know that caffeine is actually classified as a psychoactive drug?! The FDA classifies caffeine as "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS). Caffeine is the world's most widely consumed psychoactive drug but unlike many other psychoactive substances, it is legal and unregulated in nearly all parts of the world.
Benefits of Caffeine
The first thing most Americans think of when they rise in the morning is having that first cup of coffee to start your day. I don't blame you! Indeed, the most commonly cited benefit of caffeine is its ability to make you more alert, improve your concentration, boost your energy, and improve your physical performance.
Caffeine is used to treat conditions, such as headaches and migraines, to temporarily relieve fatigue and drowsiness. In a review of the literature on the health effects of caffeine in the “IFIC Review,” the International Food Information Council Foundation reported that caffeine might help reduce risk of several chronic diseases, such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver disease and colorectal cancer. In addition, as an antioxidant, caffeine also might improve your immune function.
Side Effects of Caffeine
Even though there are many benefits that come from caffeine, there are some side effects when consumed in excess.
Excessive caffeine consumption can make you jittery, restless, anxious and irritable. Too much caffeine can also cause insomnia and poor sleeping when consumed late in the day. In some cases, too much caffeine can induce headaches and abnormal heart rhythms. Since caffeine is also a diuretic, you may make more trips to the bathroom than usual, and because of this, it can leave you chronically dehydrated.
Caffeine Addiction and Withdrawal
Another side effect of caffeine intake is your ability to get hooked on the substance, which in turn causes severe symptoms when you stop taking it. Caffeine, “in the context of adrenaline and dopamine production,” provides senses of “lift and pleasure,” according to a paper published by Harvard Law School.
As caffeine metabolizes, adrenaline and dopamine diminish, causing fatigue, depression, and a craving for another dose. The cycle of repeated caffeine intake is called caffeinism, and can lead to adrenal fatigue. When you try to stop, you might endure withdrawal. As your caffeine levels drop, your blood vessels dilate, causing headaches as excess blood flows into your brain. You also might experience severe drowsiness and mood disturbances as you come off of caffeine.
Here's a breakdown of caffeine levels of average servings and amounts of caffeine in coffee and tea.
Brewed8 oz. (237 mL)95-200 mg
Brewed, decaffeinated8 oz. (237 mL)2-12 mg
Brewed, single-serve varieties8 oz. (237 mL)75-150 mg
Brewed, single-serve varieties, decaffeniated8 oz. (237 mL)2-4 mg
Espresso, restaurant-style1 oz. (30 mL)47-75 mg
Espresso, restaurant-style, decaffeinated1 oz. (30 mL)0-15 mg
Instant8 oz. (237 mL)27-173 mg
Instant, decaffeinated8 oz. (237 mL)2-12 mg
Specialty drink (latte or mocha)8 oz. (237 mL)63-175 mg
Black tea8 oz. (237 mL)14-70 mg
Black tea, decaffeinated8 oz. (237 mL)0-12 mg
Green tea8 oz. (237 mL)24-45 mg
Instant, prepared with water8 oz. (237 mL)11-47 mg
Ready-to-drink, bottled8 oz. (237 mL)5-40 mg
How to Get the Most Out of Caffeine
Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That's almost having four cups of coffee everyday. Try to consume all caffeinated beverages before 5pm to reduce chances of delaying sleep unless you're working out at night and you need a little "pick me up" before stepping into the gym.
Try to switch caffeinated beverages every now and then. Green tea has shown to have a small amount of caffeine in it. If you're looking for that night time caffeine fix, go for a cup of less potent hot green tea instead.
If you're consuming caffeine before a workout, have it at least 30 minutes before. This will give ample time for the benefits of caffeine to rev up (and time to go to the bathroom) just in time for your first set.
Replace the same amount of your caffeinated beverage with water right after to prevent chronic dehydration. This is a helpful tip to replace the water the caffeine will dispose from your body.
If you're a coffee drinker, drink your coffee through a straw to prevent staining your teeth. Coffee is very acidic and it will start to kill the help enamel that keep your pearly whites, pearly white. The straw will also cool the coffee as it reaches your mouth resulting in NO MORE BURNT TONGUES!
Caffeine the Savior!
Caffeine is a stimulant. It will make you more alert, give you the perception of high amounts of energy, increase your blood flow and focus, delay fatigue, improve your mood, and the list goes on.
Too much of anything is bad for you but when you consume caffeine in safe amounts it can benefit your health, support fat loss, and elevate the performance of your workouts.
See the difference in the outcome of your workout with some caffeine pumping in your system. Big difference!