Well, more specifically, caffeine. From all my years of experience as an athlete, trainer and gym rat, there are two things I have learned for certain:
- There is no such thing as a shortcut in the weight room, your cardio routine or your training schedule, that will give you the desired physique and health benefits you want.
- There are certain things you can do or add to your regimen to help you achieve your goals more effectively.
Coffee is one such thing you can add to any regimen to see benefits. For all of the bad rep it has gotten in the past, coffee, specifically the caffeine in it, has several benefits such as heightened alertness and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Click here for more info.
Those are great benefits Joe, but what will caffeine do for me in the training session? I’m glad you asked!!! Caffeine when taken 30-60 minutes before exercise has been shown to:
- Boost muscle strength (source: 2007 ACSM Annual Meeting Report)
- Boost Endurance (source: University of Guelph Study)
- Increase lypolysis, fat burning to use as energy (Body Recomposition Article)
- Reduce Muscle Pain and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness, also in 2007 ACSM Report)
So what does all this information mean in the real world? That java-lovers might have known something the rest of us haven’t? Maybe, maybe not, but what it does mean is adding caffeine to your pre-workout regimen might just be the thing to get your body to bust through a weight-loss plateau, get a new PR on a lift or get that extra boost you have been looking for right before your Tuesday night PACK session.
Within 30 minutes of waking drink a serving of coffee (6-8 oz. contains 100-200mg of caffeine) and a scoop of protein powder mixed with water then head out the door for your cardio; 30 minutes should about do it. Cardio first thing in the morning means your body’s glycogen stores are depleted. With low to no glycogen the body will turn to fat and muscle to fuel itself. The protein will make sure your body does not break down your hard earned muscle for fuel. Record your weight the Friday before you try this, do this three to four times in the coming week, eat clean and then jump on the scale on the last day after your cardio. Record it and let me know what you find out! You might be surprised.
Note: If you cannot get to the cardio in the morning do it when you can, cardio regardless of time of day is better than no cardio. Also, notice I did not incorporate the newest Starbucks espresso beverage. I love them too, however, they add loads of calories, sugars and fat, which we do not need with very little caffeine. So do yourself and your fitness goals a favor, skip the daily designer coffee beverages.