Is Caffeine Really A Useful Supplement For Bodybuilding?
Multiple studies have shown that caffeine is indeed useful as a bodybuilding supplement, but only if taken in the proper form, dosage and at the right time.
Not only does it help athletes workout longer in the gym, but it also increases alertness, sharpens focus, improves mood, boosts pain tolerance and helps burn fat.
And it works.
In in a recent study, weightlifters improved their performance on average by 9.5%; over 75% of elite athletes polled were using it in some form.
How to Take Caffeine
The bad news is your morning cup of joe isn’t the best way to get your caffeine.
Research shows for caffeine to be the most effective, it has to be taken once a day in pill form one hour before a workout.
Caffeine maximizes in your bloodstream from 60 to 90 minutes after taking it.
Because caffeine can interfere with sleep, your workout should be in the morning or far enough in advance so the caffeine is out of your body by the time you go to bed.
However, it is worth noting that half of the caffeine is still present in your system six hours after taking it.
Because your body can build up a tolerance to caffeine, do not take caffeine pills on non-workout days or for a week before participating in a bodybuilding contest or weightlifting event.
Before a workout or event, take your caffeine an hour before to get optimal performance.
As far as dosage, most experts agree between 3 to 6 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight is optimal.
For a 150-pound/68-kilogram person, that comes out between 200 and 400 milligrams respectively.
The other advantage of taking caffeine as a pill is you know the exact dosage you are taking – many of the pills come in 100 milligram units.
The old adage “If some is good more is better” does not apply here. Scientists have found that more than the recommended dosage does not improve performance.
As good as caffeine is, it can cause problems in some people.
Besides interfering with sleep if taken too close to bedtime, it can also have the following effects:
Caffeine can have a slight diuretic effect meaning it can cause you to expel more fluid that you would normally if you were not taking the supplement.
Because of this effect, increase your fluid intake when taking caffeine.
Caffeine can be addictive in the higher dosages over 200 mg per day.
If you have been using caffeine for a considerable amount of time and decide to stop, you may suffer withdrawal effects, like headaches, anxiety, depression and cravings.
Symptoms last from 2 to 9 days, but can be prevented, or at least minimized, by slowly reducing the dosage until at your new lower dosage or off of it altogether.
Caffeine does give you both a mental and physical edge when it comes to bodybuilding.
However, like with all supplements, good judgement and common sense should be used.
How Can Caffeine Boost Your Workouts?
Looking to get that extra kick to get you into gear?
Whether you’re an avid gym goer, new to working out, or a real athlete, caffeine may be one of the tricks worth hiding up your sleeve in order to improve your performance.
Whether it comes in drink or pill form, caffeine has long been used by athletes to give them that extra boost.
But, how does it work?
Multiple studies back up the usage of caffeine for athletes, and everyone else, because it has the ability to increase your alertness and also sharpen your focus.
At the same time, it will improve your pain tolerance, improve your mood, and help you burn fat. It’ll even help you work out for longer when you’re at the gym or practicing for your favorite sport.
If you’re on the fence, take this to heart:
Caffeine is so effective at doing the above that the World Anti-Doping Agency had actually banned it–until 2004 when it was unbanned due to its widespread popularity.
Now, about 75% of the world’s elite athletes regularly excrete caffeine in their urine samples, which proves its routine usage for competition.
In North America, even “regular” people use caffeine to supplement their daily routine in some way or another.
About 80% of us use it each and every day while another 10% drink caffeine occasionally for its many perks. So, if you’re wondering if it can boost your workout, the answer is it most certainly will!
If you want the specifics on how caffeine can help boost your performance, it just takes a little bit of research to reveal all of its incredible benefits that may have you patting yourself on the back for your morning coffee habit.
In addition to delaying fatigue, caffeine also has been found to improve the performance of endurance athletes by as much as 17% (3.3% improvement on average).
Your strength and power sports performance can improve by up to 20%, plus your sprint can improve by 6.5%!
That’s not all either.
Additional studies have seen a 9.5% improvement for weight lifters’ performance and another 6% improvement for the “rate of perceived exertion”, which links straight back to fatigue.
Of course, it is important that you keep side effects in mind.
Caffeine is an addictive compound so it’s important that you take it in moderation.
Taking too much can also counteract its benefits, so don’t go chugging a whole pot of coffee before the gym.