Although you might think otherwise, coffee is a beverage that provides a number of benefits in sport. However, it is advisable to be careful about the daily amounts you consume. In general, it is recommended not to exceed 5 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. For example, a person weighing 60 kilograms would require 3 cups of coffee per day, each of which would provide approximately 100 grams of caffeine.
Caffeine is the basic compound in coffee, a natural alkaloid found in the seeds and leaves of the plant. Although it is considered a drug, the Australian Institute of Sport classifies caffeine as a supplement suitable for high-performance athletes, placing it within Group A. This substance exerts various triggers that stimulate the central nervous system. Here are some of the benefits of coffee for the body.
1. Increased energy
Coffee accelerates the production of endorphins in the human body and is therefore an ally for people who practise sport on a daily basis. Coffee therefore increases energy and helps to reduce exhaustion.
2. Improves blood flow
It has been observed that over a 75-minute period, caffeine can increase blood flow by 30%. As a result, athletes’ muscle power can increase because blood circulates faster and oxygenation is increased. This is why athletes and sportsmen in general are advised to consume a certain amount of coffee before exercising. This benefit also applies to ordinary gym-goers.
3. Helps muscle recovery
According to a study by the American Physiological Society, when a person drinks coffee after training, there is a high chance that their muscle recovery will be accelerated, especially if they accompany the coffee with some carbohydrate. On the other hand, caffeine increases adrenaline and catecholamines, so that the pain threshold is lowered and longer workouts are possible. Interestingly, the International Olympic Committee keeps coffee on the list of doping substances, as long as the person has consumed more than 8 cups of coffee.
4. Improves concentration
Another benefit of coffee is its ability to keep people alert or awake. Drivers, scientists and people in various professions use caffeine to stave off sleepiness or tiredness. For athletes, coffee increases concentration and endurance. According to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, people who drink coffee before going for a run are more focused when exercising, even those who do not sleep well the night before.
5. Works as a diuretic
Another benefit of coffee in sport is that the alkaloid promotes the absorption of sugar in the intestine. In this way, the carbohydrates consumed pass directly to the muscles in just 4 hours. Coffee releases noradrenaline and dopamine, substances that enable a diuretic function, helping to eliminate salts, fluid retention and eliminating excess water from the body. This is also achieved by increasing lipolysis, whereby coffee helps to release free fatty acids that the body uses as energy and reduces the need to use glycogen.
6. Helps to eliminate fat
Taking into account the previous benefit, the acceleration of metabolism allows athletes who consume coffee before exercising to burn fat faster than those who do not consume it. One study claims that caffeine induces the release of catecholamines by stimulating the nervous system, so drinking coffee before and during exercise can increase lipid metabolism by 60%.
7. Increases euphoria
Psychologically, caffeine allows the athlete to feel more excited and euphoric when training. This happens thanks to the influence of the substance on the central nervous system, causing the athlete to increase his or her tolerance to effort. However, this tolerance will be lower if the person is a regular user.
As you can see, coffee has multiple benefits in sport. Most of these allow athletes to focus and perform much better in their activities. However, you should consider consuming the drink 45 minutes before training, as the effects of caffeine start 30 minutes after it enters the body.