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More and more people are finding out that taking certain supplements before exercising can provide them with better results. While supplements containing ingredients such as arginine, betaine, and beta-alanine are popular, those containing caffeine are not used quite as often. Too much is thought to be harmful; however, when used correctly, it can actually provide a dynamic boost to your workout.
Caffeine is a stimulant that binds to receptors in the brain, increasing nerve activity to reduce signs of physical fatigue. Since it also promotes alertness, it is therefore very effective at reducing signs of mental fatigue. What this means is that consuming caffeine just before a workout will allow you to exercise longer and at a higher intensity level. To enjoy the benefits, you should consume a cup of coffee or take supplements between 30 and 45 minutes before beginning an exercise program.
Japanese researchers have determined that a single cup of black coffee can significantly improve your blood flow. In an independent study, individuals who drank a five-ounce cup of coffee were tested and shown to have a 30% increase in blood flow during the following 75 minutes. This means more oxygen to the muscles and a greater chance of building muscle mass if you consume caffeine right before hitting the gym. Could this be the reason why Sylvester Stallone routinely drank a cup of black coffee just before a workout?
The fact that caffeine binds to receptors in the brain allows it to do more than just promote alertness. It also reduces feelings of pain, something that may ultimately allow you to lift heavier weights or exert yourself just a bit farther during endurance training. According to certain studies, weightlifters who consume caffeine prior to a workout have been shown to increase their performance by up to 9.5 percent, while endurance athletes showed improvement of between 3.3 and 17 percent. The rate of perceived exertion among all athletes dropped by six percent as well.
Even though caffeine can benefit your workout, it does act as a diuretic. As such, too much caffeine could lead to dehydration. An excess amount of caffeine could leave you feeling jittery or off-balance as well. So long as you consume between 3-6mg/kg around 30 minutes before a workout, you should be fine. If you find this amount does not provide you with much of a boost, this could mean that you have developed a tolerance to caffeine. In that case, you may want to reduce the amount of caffeinated beverages you drink throughout the day.
When used in moderation, caffeine can indeed provide numerous benefits to athletes. For best results, you should limit your total daily intake to 200 mg per day or less, particularly if you experience any disruption in your sleeping habits. So long as you do this, you will most likely notice that the benefits fat outweigh any side effects.