Can coffee make you a better athlete?
Ah Coffee. With its rich aroma, bold flavour, and ability to take you from half asleep to Monday ready in under 5 minutes, it’s no surprise it’s a staple in the daily routine of most. Beyond its sensory delights, coffee also associates itself with improved physical performance for many people. Whether it’s in the gym, the walk to work, or just keeping up with the kids (or dog) let’s dive into how coffee can help you get the best out of your active days!
One of the most sought after attributes of coffee is its caffeine content. Caffeine is a natural stimulant, and is well-known to provide a temporary boost in alertness and energy. If you’re looking for an extra edge in your daily performance, a strong cuppa is a popular choice to consume before workouts or ahead of a busy day. While caffeine can indeed increase focus and temporarily reduce perceived effort, make sure you know your personal caffeine tolerance, and how caffeine impacts your sleep. Aka, don’t overdo it!
Coffee's reputation as having diuretic properties has sparked concerns about its impact on hydration, a crucial aspect of exercise. However, recent research suggests that moderate coffee consumption doesn’t actually have a significant dehydrating effect. If your goal is achieving peak performance, you should already be hydrating adequately, so your daily cuppa isn’t going to have too much of an impact.
While coffee can provide a quick energy boost, the foundation of athletic performance lies in a combination of proper nutrition, consistent training, adequate rest, and personalised coaching or advice. So how can you double down on using coffee to get you into a performance mindset? Routine! The same way brushing your teeth at night can help you fall into a sleep mindset, sitting down and drinking your cuppa before you exercise can become a multipurpose habit. Use the few minutes you take to drink your favourite brew as a chance to plan out what you hope to achieve, and to reflect on your goals. By the time you get to the end of the cup, you’ll be focused and ready to race out the door!
When it comes to weight training, the relationship between coffee and performance improvement is quite complex. Some studies suggest that caffeine consumption before resistance exercise might enhance muscle endurance, reduce perceived effort, and even lead to increased power output. It is believed that this potential benefit could be attributed to caffeine's ability to stimulate the central nervous system and enhance the release of neurotransmitters involved in muscle contraction!
Endurance athletes often seek ways to enhance their stamina and performance, and people are increasingly looking to coffee to help them achieve this. The caffeine content in coffee has been linked to improvements in aerobic endurance, potentially due to its ability to increase the mobilization of fatty acids for energy utilization. Some studies suggest that consuming coffee before endurance activities like running, cycling, or swimming may lead to improved time trial performance and increased exercise tolerance.
As you explore the potential connection between coffee and physical activity, consulting with sports professionals, nutritionists, or coaches who can provide tailored insights into how coffee might fit into your specific training regimen will be beneficial. Always do your own research, and remember to caffeinate responsibly! ☕