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Caffeine and Exercise

By Rachel Carver

Many Americans start the coffee pot as soon as they wake up. Some coffee pots can even be programmed to make your favorite cup of coffee automatically.

Caffeine is considered to be safe for most people. But it might do more than wake you up or get you through long afternoon meetings.

Research suggests caffeine may boost workouts. Caffeine has been shown to benefit performance when consumed before endurance exercise and short-term exercise lasting at least five minutes.

How else might caffeine affect the body during exercise? Read on to find out.

The Research

During a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, University of Granada researchers looked at determining if caffeine increases the burning of fat during exercise. The male subject group participated in morning and afternoon exercises as a means of burning calories. Some participants received 3 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight 30 minutes before the test. Other participants received a placebo.

After four weeks of testing, researchers found that those who were provided  caffeine before their workouts burned more fat than those men who were given the placebo before working out. They found that the best results appeared to be achieved during afternoon exercise sessions, though the results were not based on time of day. The research suggests that combining high amounts of caffeine with aerobic exercise performed at moderate intensity in the afternoon may create the optimal environment to increase the fat burn during exercise.

Applying the Results

To follow the research, consume your favorite caffeinated beverage about 30 minutes before your afternoon workout. According to the study parameters, this would be about 2 cups of coffee for a 150-pound person.

However, other research suggests caffeine may have harmful side effects when consumed before or during exercise. According to a  2019 study, caffeine may increase your risk of developing blood clots when combined with high-intensity exercise. With this in mind, consider skipping the coffee right before your 5K but adding it to the mix for a 20-minute core training session.

The Bottom Line

If you regularly consume caffeinated beverages without issues, you should be able to continue. But people with high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues might want to limit their caffeine intake. And remember the most hydrating beverage before, during, and after a workout is always water. Always consult your doctor about your unique situation.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Denver, Colo.

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