Caffeine, caffeine, caffeine . . . I can’t do without my morning cup of coffee before I head out for a run. It not only makes me more alert but also improves my running performance. Why wouldn’t it? Caffeine is a psychoactive substance, which stimulates the nervous system splendidly. Coffee has been consumed for centuries and has grown even more popular over time which is obvious from the countless coffee shops on every street corner. People simply can’t do without their daily dose of caffeine.
Contrary to the negativity surrounding coffee, daily consumption has many advantages, that is when used in moderation. Like any drug used excessively, there will be nasty side effects. Abuse of caffeine has been shown to cause insomnia, headaches, anxiety, dizziness, heart palpitations, irritability, nausea, and caffeine addiction. So drink in moderation. Wouldn’t want you to go through nasty caffeine withdrawal which is another story for another day. For now, let’s celebrate the good news.
Coffee is a great source of antioxidants (quinines) and studies have shown that it provides a slew of benefits and protection against diseases such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Liver disease
- Alzheimer’s disease – Polyphenols found in coffee has been shown to improve dementia, fend off Alzheimer’s disease, and improve overall brain health
- Cirrhosis of the liver, and
- Parkinson’s diseases
And there are even more reasons runners or athletes should make coffee a pre-workout practice. Caffeine can increase workout performance and help post-workout recovery. Caffeine improves performance by stimulating the nervous system and enabling muscles to contract faster and more efficiently. On longer runs, caffeine delays fatigue by reducing perceived exertion (workout feels easier), and produces a sense of well-being (those good old endorphins). The time to fatigue is longer because of increased levels of free fatty acids in the bloodstream, which spares the use of glycogen (the muscle’s source of fuel).
Studies have shown that consuming caffeine an hour before a workout can boost performance. But don’t overdo it. Higher doses of caffeine won’t increase performance. Depending on your body weight, all that is required is three to six milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight (for a 150 lb runner that would amount to about 16-17 ounces of coffee). Adding caffeine to a diet rich in carbohydrates will also improve post-workout recovery by rebuilding glycogen stores 66 percent more.
Like Your Coffee Cold? Try Iced Coffee.
1/2 cup of freshly brewed coffee
1/2 cup coconut cream
Honey or agave nectar (sweeten as desired)
A glass full of ice cubes
A pinch of cinnamon
*You can also add vanilla extract or vanilla syrup
Place all ingredients, except the ice into the blender. Blend well then pour the mixture into the glass of ice. If desired, you can add a pinch of cinnamon on top.