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No Coffee Before Training
QUESTION: When I can’t be bothered to use my pre-workout supplement or when I run out, I just use plain old coffee before training. Are pre-workout products really that much better than coffee?
ANSWER: First of all, many people use coffee as a pre-workout booster. The only problem is, sorry Starbucks, coffee doesn’t seem to increase performance! Now it is true that caffeine has been proven to enhance endurance, strength, power and speed. Unfortunately, when you get it from coffee this isn’t the case. When Dr Terry Graham (who’s done almost 70 separate studies on caffeine) and colleagues gave runners either caffeine with water or the same amount of water with coffee, only the water/caffeine group had higher performance. They also had higher levels of an energy hormone called norepinephrine. Several other studies have concluded the same. So obviously there is more here than meets the uniformed eye. You see, coffee is a complex brew of chemicals like diterpenes, chlorogenic acid, minerals and oils and all of these can have their own effects on the body and on each other. The best guess is that one or more of these chemicals blocks the performance-enhancing effects of caffeine, so unfortunately, when it comes to a performance boost, you might as well be drinking yak piss! Therefore my best advice on this one is that if you want the benefits of caffeine (which also include helping release more fat from fat cells by the way), you need about 200 milligrams (some people are more sensitive than others though and you should use more or less according to your weight) at least 20 minutes before exercise. So your options are: you can drink several cups of tea (which contains about 50 mg of caffeine per cup), have a caffeine pill or a caffeine-containing “pre-workout” supplement. Of course, the supplements often include other stimulants for even better focus, and several ingredients that improve blood flow, muscle pumps and recovery.
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