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Brewed Awakening (How Caffeine Can Affect Your Workout)

Are you always craving a cup of joe before your morning workout? Most of us need an extra jolt before we hit the gym, especially after a long day or an early morning. There are those that love to rise and grind, and fill up on high octane coffee, but is that the best option for people who are about to hit the gym?

The pros and cons of caffeine before exercise has long been a heated debate. But the question remains: should you espresso yourself before you sweat? There is encouraging research that points to there being perks to percolating some brew. A Japanese study found that a single cup of coffee can make your blood vessels work more efficiently. Study participants who imbibed in the brew had a 30% increase in blood flow after just 75 minutes. Not only can this help you with stamina, but researchers at the University of Illinois found this oxygenation can help to decrease muscle pain.

Many consume caffeine in order to speed up their metabolism and burn more calories. Sitting at a café and sipping a macchiato sounds like a lovely way to pass the day, but it won’t necessarily help you burn fat. However, it may help kick start weight loss or keep you from gaining weight if that grande is combined with diet and exercise. The Mayo Clinic reports that caffeine can cause thermogenesis, which burns calories. Plus, it may suppress your appetite and keep you from reaching for that cruller.

If you like partaking in a drip before dips to get a better workout, you may be onto something. A study published in Sports Medicine claimed that coffee helps you train longer with greater productivity due to it being a “powerful ergogenic”.

Does this buzz last long enough to sustain you through an entire fitness regimen? Heidi Skolnik, a sports nutritionist interviewed for The Daily Burn, says that caffeine is absorbed within 15-45 minutes of consumption, but its peak effectiveness is at about 30 and 75 minutes after sipping Drinking a cup an hour before go time is best for a power workout.

However, it’s not all cool beans. According to Time magazine, the downside of dark roast could be headaches, a spike in blood pressure, and stomach ulcers. An overdose can also cause heart palpitations, nausea, and dizziness, according to Men’s Health. Plus, coffee can act as a laxative and dehydrate the body. Countering every cup with 12 oz. of water is the smartest way to handle the hot stuff.

So how do you know if you are consuming too much coffee before you hit the field or the gym? Caffeine affects everyone differently, so it is important to realize your individual tolerance before you begin trying to drink it as a workout booster. Shape Magazine suggests new caffeine users start at 100mg before a workout and slowly work their way up to higher doses. Skolnik claims that 250 mg a day is more than enough for seasoned coffee drinkers to see a difference in their performance. Here are some general caffeine doses for reference: One shot of espresso contains 75mg. A 12 oz. cup of coffee contains 200mg. An 8 oz. cup of tea contains 50 mg. An energy drink can contain anywhere from 50-100 mg. A can of soda can contain 29 mg.

If drinking a straight shot before a workout is not your cup of tea and it’s energy you are looking for, there are alternatives. Combining SFH’s PURE with your java is a simple way to add a healthy protein and create a fancy latte taste without the sugar you’d find in Starbucks drinks. Get creative and spike your mug with delicious vanilla, chocolate, churro, or candy cane flavor.

Another way to enhance your morning coffee is to add a shot of SFH FUEL. Blend a scoop of FUEL into your cold brew and you are adding protein, fat and fiber. With a sweet coconut flavor, you can even ditch your favorite creamer. It’s half the price of a café and it will keep you going throughout the day.

Just remember - if you work out at night, caffeine is like the energizer bunny. It keeps on running in your system for four to six hours after you have imbibed. So you may want to slow your roll on the espresso at night if you intend to get your much-needed rest and recovery.