Coffee has never tasted so good! It just keeps getting better and better the more I read about it.
I have ALWAYS drunk coffee. There is not a time when I can remember not liking it. As a kid, I enjoyed stealing sips from my parents. In college, I literally had more coffee in my system than blood (or alcohol), and in graduate school, I paid more to coffee shops than I did for my tuition. Today, there is not a day that I do not wake up and look forward to enjoying a good cup of coffee!
I knew from my all-nighters in college, that coffee offered some serious mental/cognitive benefits, but I was not fully aware of its performance benefits until I read John Keifer’s Carb Back-loading. When I read that caffeine is highly suggested to enhance physical performance and body composition, euphoria shot through my veins like a jolt of coffee :).
Coffee Taps into Your Fat Stores!
Now why does Kiefer recommend it on his carbohydrate back-loading program? It just so happens that not only is coffee tasty, but it also stimulates catecholamine efficiency. Catecholamines, according to WebMD, are hormones made by the adrenal glands released into the bloodstream under physical or emotional stress. The main catecholamines are dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine (think adrenaline). Catecholamines increase heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, muscle strength, and mental alertness, all aiding in better performance and better gains for you!
Be careful though, as discussed in prior posts, eating carbs before your workouts, will put this catecholamine efficiency to a screeching halt, for your body will burn those carbs (interfering with catecholamine release) before burning anything else (including FAT).
Coffee Suppresses Appetite and Releases Growth Hormone
Drinking coffee also fights your hunger pains (ghrelin — your hunger hormone). When you fight off ghrelin, research shows that it leads to decreased body fat, partly because it releases human growth hormone GH (a powerful fat-burning, muscle promoting hormone that is responsible for cell growth and regeneration). Increasing muscle mass and bone density are impossible without GH, but it also plays a major role in maintaining the health of all human tissue, including that of the brain and other vital organs. GH has been shown to slow the progression of age-related degenerative diseases, as well as increase sex drive, help maintain mental acuity, and engender a general sense of well-being.
Coffee Also Relieves Muscle Soreness!
Not only can it aid in performance and fat loss, Caffeine can also help with delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) by blocking pain receptors.
Studies reveal that taking caffeine before an intense, hard workout showed a decrease in soreness and a faster ability to completely recover compared to a placebo group, suggesting caffeine accelerated the recovery process. The participants were also able to combat fatigue and let go of pain, doing more reps and working harder than the placebo group but still experiencing less muscle soreness.
How Much Coffee Should I Consume?
A 5 mg/kg appears ideal for reducing DOMS and enhancing training performance (for 150 lb persons think 24 oz of coffee). If you’re one of the few out there who do not enjoy drinking coffee, don’t worry, you can get the same (if not better) benefits by taking capsules. However, if you are like the rest of us, go ahead and enjoy your massive cup of coffee, guilt-free!