Coffee and workouts

A member of the Squatbar team recently told that his grandfather enjoyed drinking his coffee cold. Strong and cold. Even when working outdoor during winter in the forest. We were having a break,  sipping to our different variants of  takeout coffee. He continued, and said that once his uncle was fondly commenting him drinking Cappucino. Blending milk and coffee, was to weak for him, he had explained him. It  became quiet for a moment, as all three of us considered us physically stronger than the average, with respectable 1RM`s

There is no doubt that caffeine affects our body, and in scientific papers it is termed ergogenic, meaning that it enhances physical performance. This is probably why so many athletes also uses supplements containing caffeine before workouts or hydrate on energy drinks like Redbull, Rockstar and Monster. The “energy” is in the form of sugar and caffeine, but they also contain other substances.  You`ll get the much of the same effect by drinking a cup of coffee with added sugar, and a glass of water. We choose that option, and without sugar. What is more motivating than the smell and taste of a delicious cup of coffee before working out.

“What is more motivating than the smell and taste of a delicious cup of coffee before working out”

Caffeine is a potent substance in coffee and science explains how it affects us. Down to cellular levels and signaling pathways. Because of the high percentage of the population consuming coffee, it is an important source of antioxidants in our diet. Coffee also contains vitamins and minerals that our body needs.

Several studies have concluded that caffeine is associated with a positive effect on exercise performance. Reviews and meta-analyses argues that it may have improve both aerob and anaerob exercise, but also muscle strength and muscle power.

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In 2019 it made the headlines that a NBA team, The Portland Trail Blazers, were using caffeine and drinking coffee before games. A couple of years previous, a study was also published,  with 20 experienced basketball players ingesting 3 mg of caffeine/kg of body mass v.s. placebo. They concluded that caffeine was associated with increased basketball performance. Michael Jordan used to drink a cup of hot coffee as part of his pre-game routine in the wardrobe.

Caffeine increases the metabolism of fat, and increases the free fatty acids in the blood stream.  This is important, for the effect on endurance exercising. Muscles get their energy from metabolizing glucose, which is sugar, but it is limited how much glucose the body can store. When muscles are deplete of glucose, we feel fatigue, but caffeine assist in metabolism of  lipids. The overall effect is that muscles starts to use fat for energy, which has a more long lasting effect, and balances the metabolism of glucose, so that endurance increase.

“caffeine was associated with increased basketball performance”

Caffeine can also can have several negative effects, especially if you consume too much. You may feel palpitations, headache and nausea. For people with a heart disease it can causes arrhythmias.

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There have been converging evidence, but it is likely that coffee reduces the risk for type 2 diabetes. A meta-analysis published in 2014, included 1 100 000 participants, and found that coffee consumption was inversely associated with type 2 Diabetes. The association was in a dose-dependent manner, and included both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. People with diagnosed diabetes are advised to be cautious with coffee, as it might affect blood levels glucose.

The Squatbar team does not advice anyone to drink coffee to increase performance. A reasonable exercising regime and a healthy diet is a more than a sufficient foundation to perform at your best.

If you already are drinking coffee, we advice to consume recommended amounts, and enjoy your cup of coffee. We are, and if that happens be to just before a workout, we don`t mind.


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