Caffeine works! It gives you a potent kick of energy, endurance, and focus. And aside from the very desirable energizing effect, you get, drinking a cup of coffee before exercise could help increase the amount of fat utilized during the activity, say researchers in Australia.
The research team at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra also found that athletes who consumed a small dose of caffeine before exercise (approximately 200 milligrams) could continue to exercise at a high-capacity for up to 30% longer than those who had not taken the stimulant.
The caffeine supplement enabled the athletes to perform up to 3.5% beyond their normal capacity in a series of performance tests. The researchers suggested that substances in caffeine triggered the muscles to use fat to fuel exercise instead of the usual carbohydrate stores, thus enabling better endurance performance.
In other tests, the researchers found that drinking a cola drink or coffee helped cyclists keep going longer than those who were given caffeine-free beverages. The athletes in this study were low caffeine consumers – 1 or 2 cups of coffee a day.
Other studies have shown caffeine can delay the onset of fatigue by up to 60%, and it is the most widely used performance-enhancing drug in the world.
Another interesting fact, coffee is also the largest provider of antioxidants in the American diet. Add this to the potent fat burning effects caffeine provides, and you can see why it’s so widely used among athletes everywhere.