If you don't like to exercise or want more energy when you do – or simply want to get in a better workout – then try a cup of coffee. Sure, you've heard it before: Caffeine helps improve athletic performance. But the new evidence in favor of the wonder drug is so overwhelming that if you're not swigging some form of caffeine before your workout, you're doing your body a disservice. Don't believe us? Here are six reasons why you should consider coffee, tea, or Red Bull before, during, and even after your next trip to the gym.
You don't need as much caffeine as you think to get optimal effects.
The biggest revelation in recent caffeine research, says Burke, is that you don't need to slug six cups of coffee before your workouts to have a body-blowing effect. "We used to think that caffeine needed to be taken in a fairly high dose, about an hour before a workout. But these days, we know that caffeine is far more versatile – it can work just as well in a whole range of protocols." What this means in the real work, she says, is that you'll still get as a big of a boost if you have one cup before the gym. You can also improve your performance by taking caffeine almost any time before your exercise – and even during your workout. So which type of caffeine is best? She says that doesn't matter: "Caffeine is caffeine whether it comes from a sports gel, a coffee, an energy drink, or a caffeine pill." So choose the source you like, and experiment with timing to find out what works best for you. If you have blood pressure or heart rate problems, speak with your doctor before using caffeine as a performance enhancer.
Want more information? Look for the updated version of Louise Burke's best-selling book, 'Caffeine for Sports Performance,' due out this summer.
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