Get Focused For Your Workout
For anyone looking to take their workouts up a notch, and ensure that they are getting the most out of time spent in the gym, caffeine can offer some real beneficial effects. Taking caffeine (medically referred to as Trimethylxanthine) before your workout is a great way of making sure your mind is focused on training hard, and can also give your energy a little boost, so that you arrive at the gym raring to go.
Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that can be found in many things that we consume on a daily basis, and is a relatively cheap substance to supplement with.
Although caffeine can be found in many every day drinks, such as coffee, tea and cola etc. These drinks are not a suitable way to source your pre-workout caffeine. It is far more effective to purchase a pre-workout supplement (such as Controlled Labs White Flood, or BSNs NO-Xplode for example), which have been designed to ensure that you get the maximum effect from taking it.
What are the Effects of Taking Caffeine?
Shortly after ingesting caffeine, you can expect to feel energised and stimulated as a result of its effect on the sympathetic branch of the Central Nervous System (CNS). The CNS is stimulated by adrenaline, which is released from the Pituitary gland.
This effect causes a release of glucose from the liver, improved blood flow and pressure to the muscles, an increased heart rate and a reduction in blood flow to the skin.
Caffeine is classed as an ergogenic substance. This means that, when ingested, it improves capacity for both mental and physical work. It is also reputed to increase the thermogenic effect of food, which basically means raising the body temperature slightly, and so is very effective as a means to losing body fat.
Caffeine also acts as an appetite suppressant, which is ideal when cutting, but is not so great when bulking.
As an added bonus to the above, Caffeine has also been linked to a number of positive health benefits, such as:
- Reducing the symptoms of Asthma (as it has a very similar chemical makeup to the drug Theophylline, which is given to Asthmatics to widen their airways).
- Reducing the risk of developing Type II Diabetes.
- Reducing or even removing the symptoms of headaches by constricting the blood vessels in the brain.
Will I Become Addicted to Caffeine?
You should be aware that Caffeine is an addictive drug. Largely because of the fact that it operates along the same neurological pathways as some far more serious drugs such as Heroin and Cocaine. Because of the way that caffeine affects the brain, a sudden abstinence in someone who is addicted, can cause a drop in blood pressure and an accompanying headache as a result of the excess blood in the head.
The more Caffeine you take, the less responsive the body will become to it. Resulting in the need to take more and more to feel any effect from it.
Rather than daily supplementation, Caffeine is more effectively used sparingly, when needed.
What Can I Use Caffeine For?
Caffeine’s popularity is on the increase, and for very good reason. There are many benefits to be had from caffeine supplementation. Here are some of them:
Reduce Body Fat
As caffeine is metabolised, several metabolites are produced, one of which is Paraxanthine. Paraxanthine aids the breakdown of fatty acids for use as energy in place of glycogen. Simply put, caffeine supplementation promotes the use of the body’s fat stores for energy.
Improve Your Athletic Performance
There are many reasons why caffeine improves athletic performance. Some of which include a reduction in the perception of physical effort (not feeling as though you’re working as hard as you are), an improvement in the effeciency of the heart rate, an increased nutrient and oxygen flow to the brain and the ability to train hard for longer.
Caffeine allows muscle cells to make use of greater amounts of fat than they normally would. This is due to the glycogen sparing effect of the metabolite Paraxanthine. When the muscles use fat as an energy source, glycogen is more readily available when it is needed – later on in the training session.
Improve Your Mental Performance
One of the ergogenic effects of caffeine is its effect on mental acuity. Studies have found that 75 – 150mg of caffeine will improve cognitive function and increase neural responses in several areas of the brain. This has the effect of assisting with the completion of some basic intellectual tasks, such as, simple mental arithmetic and lower reaction times to auditory stimulation. Many people also report positive effects with more complex mental tasks, such as, reading comprehension and complex arithmetic.
Because caffeine plays a key part in the production of adrenaline in the brain, it is believed that caffeine is able to aid the memory. Adrenaline is produced in ‘fight or flight’ situations and stimulates the memory in order to remember shocking/important events.
There are clear mental and physical benefits to be had from caffeine supplementation, although if used regularly, the body will become reliant on it. Caffeine is best used in moderation, as the more it is taken, the less reponsive to it the body will become.