If you’re feeling tired at the gym…
Consider taking: caffeine
Hardcore gym rats love talking about how sicknasty their pre-workout supp is—even though in most cases the most effective ingredient in any pre-workout supplement is regular old caffeine. “The scientific literature shows that caffeine can help reduce the perceived exertion of a given workout—meaning it feels easier compared to the same workout without a caffeine boost,” McCune says. Pro athletes and Olympians swear by it, too—it’s essentially a legal performance-enhancing drug.
When to consume: About an hour before exercising. “It can absolutely lower the rate of perceived exertion when consumed an hour before exercise,” Bogden says.
Don’t take more than: In one sitting, 300mg—about three cups of coffee—is probably the absolute limit for most people, McCune says. Anything more than that might make you jittery, but it won’t help your workout.
You should know: “A lot of people don’t have the gene to metabolize caffeine well, which means a single cup of coffee can affect their sleep at night,” Bogden says. “If it’s affecting your sleep in any way, it might actually harm your recovery.” Also: Because caffeine is a diuretic, you should be sure to offset your intake by upping hydration, McCune says.
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