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We all know that a morning coffee is an essential part of starting the day off right. Some athletes have discovered that caffeine can improve exercise as much as it improves your morning. The right mix of caffeine and carbs can enhance your physical performance help you to push harder and go farther. We spoke to Hive sports dietitian Kelly Jones to understand the science behind the benefits of caffeine and exercise. Here's what we learned.
Put simply, caffeine wakes up your body and mind exactly like a cup of coffee in the morning. Not only does that jolt of energy give you a boost like hearing your favorite song mid-workout, it has serious mental and physical benefits. Jones explains,"With the most widely recognized benefit being improved physical performance for endurance activity, caffeine research also shows an association with reduced pain and improvements in fatigue and improved coordination and cognitive performance during high intensity exercise."
Studies show that caffeine significantly improves speed and performance in short workouts. When you need to push harder, well-timed caffeine and simple carbs give you an edge. Studies have shown significantly increased speed during burst activities like sprints, cycling time trials, weight lifting, and sports like soccer and tennis. Jones continues,"One study that simulated soccer performance found that caffeine added to a carbohydrate and electrolyte solution improved sprint times, leg power, and even positive emotions."
Caffeine and carbohydrates have proven to increase muscular and aerobic endurance in long-lasting activities. Jones says,"Caffeine can enhance aerobic performance for activities lasting anywhere from 20 to 250 minutes," which means you'll feel the buzz during long workouts, too.
It's no secret that we all feel a little slower and more forgetful before our morning coffee. During exercise, your mind fatigues along with your muscles. Caffeine consumption helps improve cognitive performance during sports, which keeps you sharp whether you're looking for steady footing or eyeing down a fastball. Not only does caffeine help keep you focused, it can lift your spirits when you're in the pain cave. Jones explains,"Caffeine improved anaerobic performance in both elite and recreational athletes and also improved several mood dimensions."
Caffeine has the power to make you feel better before, during, and after exercise. Not only does jump starting your brain and body with a healthy dose of caffeine help get you in the mindset for a hard effort, Jones says,"Caffeine has the ability to reduce perception of effort during endurance and resistance exercise, and it is hypothesized that pain reduction may be why. And the pain reduction benefits can occur after exercise, too."
As part of a balanced training plan, caffeine offers many performance benefits. From quick bursts to all day adventures, the performance boost is noticeable. With 75mg of caffeine and 160mg of electrolytes, Plus+ Performance Chews contain the right amount of caffeine, calories, and electrolytes to fuel your body during epic efforts. Just like it's possible to drink too much coffee, Jones reminds us to be mindful of the side effects of having too much caffeine,"It's important to understand risks of over consumption, which can include gastrointestinal upset, over stimulation and shaking, as well as disrupted circadian rhythm." Adding caffeine to your hard workouts and races can help you push harder and go farther. Jones concludes,"Honey Stinger PLUS+ Performance Chews are an effective delivery of both carbohydrate and caffeine immediately before any training session, or during endurance exercise."
Want to learn lots more about the science of caffeine and exercise? Read Kelly Jones' full article HERE.