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Caffeine: Friend or Foe?

Caffeine has many health benefits that offer us good reason to continue with our coffee intake.  It can help ward off diabetes, control asthma, treat those who have persistent headaches, decrease the risk of Parkinson’s disease, and even help with weight loss.


Drink coffee and get bigger, faster - the benefits:



When taken in an effective dose, caffeine can be a extremely good stimulant - one of the most popular out there, given it's pretty cheap, natural and easily obtainable. 


Caffeine increases alertness, and wards off drowsiness, as well as delaying the onset of muscle fatigue, no doubt offering some obvious training benefits.





When training, the body will tap into glycogen supplies to fuel the energy required for each session.  Drinking coffee prior to a work-out could jump-start a process called lipolysis; where free fatty acids are released into the bloodstream.


If using your fat supplies for training, you’ll be sparing the glycogen available, and therefore will be able to work out for longer as we have the opportunity to be using fat supplies for fuel.



Drinking caffeine prior to training is beneficial as it increases the force and rate of the heart, which improves blood flow.  Increasing blood flow will ensure that muscles get fed those nutrients faster, which will help them work for longer.  Waste products will also be removed at a quicker rate if circulation is increased.





Caffeine is known to increase pain-reducing endorphins.  These, coupled with the added benefit that less lactic acid builds up, should help you get out a few more reps before feeling your muscles burn and fatiguing.  





Whilst caffeine consumption can be pretty beneficial in its natural form, keep in mind that if you're going to be enjoying your favourite coffee with any extras, your'e going to have to ensure you're accounting for what you're consuming.


For a small black coffee you’re looking at roughly 1g carb, minimal protein and approx 6 calories total.  Add some skim milk to turn it into a skim cappuccino & you're looking at roughly almost 8g carb, 5g protein, almost 3g fat and approx 78 calories (for a small).  If you’re pushing the envelope then a caramel macchiato might fetch 16g carb, 6g protein, 4g fat and 122 calories or more in a small cup.


            In conclusion, don’t work so hard in the gym and then nullify the effects due to bad eating or due to not tracking what you eat. Eat in a way that’s conducive to your goals and can be sustained in the long term.

            Caffeine is definitely your friend in your fitness journey.


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