There’s no shortage of research supporting the use of caffeine when it comes to athletic performance.
In fact, its effects are so well known that caffeine is currently on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s monitoring list to make sure athletes don’t abuse its potential.
However, the average gym-goer is probably less interested in breaking world records than they are at looking good or putting a few extra pounds on their bench press.
No matter your fitness goal, here are some reasons why you may want to drink an extra cup of coffee before your next workout.
- Boost metabolism
- Suppress appetite
- Increase physical endurance and delay tiredness
- Improve focus and concentration
- Decrease muscle pain
- Increase force production
When Should You Take Caffeine?
Caffeine is the most commonly taken supplement in the world.
Between your morning coffee, a block of dark chocolate at lunch, and your afternoon cola, it’s easy to accumulate hundreds of milligrams of caffeine per day.
To understand when you should take caffeine, you first need to know how it’s metabolised in your body.
When you drink caffeine in a liquid form, such as through coffee, an energy drink, or cola, it takes about 45 minutes for 99% of the caffeine to enter your bloodstream.
Once the amount of caffeine circulating in your blood reaches its peak amount, your body breaks the caffeine down over the course of hours and the benefits weaken.
Everybody metabolizes caffeine differently, but one study found that the half-life of caffeine in the body of healthy adults is about 5.7 hours.
If you take caffeine 45-60 minutes before your workout, you should be feeling the peak buzz around the time you start your first set.
You shouldn’t have to worry about the effects wearing off unless your workout is incredibly long or if you have a split session that day.
How Much Caffeine Should You Consume?
Everybody has a different sensitivity to caffeine. Your sensitivity is partially genetic and partially determined by how much caffeine you drink in an average day.
Somewhere between 3-6mg/kg of caffeine for body weight is the range that leads to optimal performance.
For example, if you’re a 75kg person, taking 225mg to 450mg will allow you to perform your best. For reference, 225mg is comparable to a Starbucks Grande Americano.
You may want to start with an even lower caffeine intake than 3mg if you’re not a regular coffee drinker. It’s better to take too less than to give yourself the caffeine jitters.
Add Caffeine to Your Pre-Workout Routine
No matter whether you take a pre-workout, coffee, or a handful of espresso beans, caffeine can help you achieve your gym goals.
If you consume caffeine in liquid form, you should take it about 45 minutes before you start your workout.
However, if you’re taking caffeine pills, they take longer to break down so you may want to take them 60-75 minutes before your workout.