Tag Archives: caffeine

Caffeine Reduces Post-Exercise Muscle Soreness

10 Apr

There is considerable documentation touting the beneficial effects of caffeine on aerobic activity and resistance training performance.  Less, however, is known about caffeine’s effect on post-exercise muscle soreness.

A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined the effects of caffeine on delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).  In the study, individuals who ingested caffeine one hour before resistance training reported that this strategy “resulted in significantly lower levels of soreness on day 2 and day 3,” compared with individuals who did not ingest caffeine prior to working out.  (Hurley, et.al.)

The study corroborated previous findings that caffeine ingestion immediately before resistance training enhances performance.  “A further beneficial effect of sustained caffeine ingestion in the days after the exercise bout is an attenuation of DOMS.  This decreased perception of soreness in the days after a strenuous resistance training workout may allow individuals to increase the number of training sessions in a given time period.”

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Is 5-Hour Energy Worth It?

1 Mar

5-hour-energy[1]There’s a lot of marketing noise surrounding energy drinks. But should you partake if and when you want a little pick-me-up?

Yes and no, according to research. It appears that caffeine is responsible for virtually all the benefits of these energy drinks, including increased alertness and energy level. When caffeine is removed, the drinks’ other ingredients have little impact, say researchers.

Caffeine’s benefits are well-documented, and include:

  • Increased alertness and energy level
  • Improved cognitive function
  • A mild, mood-boosting effect
  • Improved exercise capacity

Ultimately, caffeine may help you think faster, exercise harder, and live longer. The next time you want a little caffeine-inspired jolt, stick with coffee. You’ll also benefit from its high levels of healthy antioxidants. If it’s got to be an energy drink, at least stay away from those that are loaded with sugar.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Coffee, Caffeine, and Exercise

16 Nov

cup-of-coffee1

Coffee sometimes gets a bad rap.  It’s full of antioxidants and essential nutrients, and has been linked with potential health benefits including: protecting against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, liver cancer, and promoting a healthy heart.

Additionally, coffee (caffeine) can improve energy levels, cognition, and physical performance.

Caffeine is one of two (legal) supplements documented to improve athletic and exercise performance (creatine being the other).

Athletes and active individuals routinely ingest caffeine to facilitate improvement during athletic activity, and resistance and endurance exercise.

Although the research regarding the relationship between caffeine and aerobic exercise performance is mixed, the majority of studies corroborate an improvement in resistance exercise performance after caffeine ingestion.

According to a recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, “Coffee (0.15 g/kg) and decaffeinated coffee plus caffeine (5 mg/kg) have the ability to improve performance during a resistance exercise protocol.” (Richardson, D, et.al.)  This effect was especially significant in the short term.

The findings of this study include:

  • Caffeine increased contractility and force production of skeletal muscle
  • Caffeine enhanced neuromuscular transmission and maximal muscle activation
  • Increased calcium release and sodium-potassium pump activity
  • Inhibited negative effects of pain perception
  • Improved reaction time, cognition, and mood

Please see related articles:

Caffeine Reduces Post-Exercise Muscle Soreness

How Does Caffeine Affect Athletic Performance?

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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5 Tips to Boost Your Metabolism

28 Mar

5-Tips-To-Boost-Your-Metabolism_1024x1024[1]Here’s a nice article from our friends and colleagues at ASD Performance.

  1. ALWAYS EAT BREAKFAST

Eat a good breakfast. Every. Single. Day. If you don’t, your body goes into starvation mode which in turn causes your metabolism to slow in order to conserve energy. And the heartier your first meal is, the better. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that volunteers who reported regularly skipping breakfast had 4.5 times the risk of obesity as those who took the time to eat.

      2. DRINK COFFEE:

A study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior found that the average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee increased 16 percent over that of those who drank decaf.

  1. RELAX:

Research is now showing that high levels of stress in in fact contributing to to weight gain. When you are stressed, your body will increase your stress hormone cortisol, which stimulates fat cells to increase in size and encourage fat storage. Stress hormones can also spike your appetite, making you likely to overeat or stress eat.

     4. PICK UP THE PROTEIN:

Cramming protein into every meal helps to build and maintain lean muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat does, even at rest. Aim for about 30 grams of protein — the equivalent of about one cup of low-fat cottage cheese or a four-ounce boneless chicken breast — at each meal.

  1. CHOOSE ORGANIC PRODUCE:

Researchers in Canada found that dieters with the most organochlorides (chemicals found in pesticides) stored in their fat cells were the most susceptible to disruptions in mitochondrial activity and thyroid function. Translation: Their metabolism stalled.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Improve the Quality and Quantity of Your Sleep to Feel and Perform Better

11 Mar

child-sleeping-with-stuffed-animal[1]At Athletic Performance Training Center, we believe there are 3 foundational “pillars” that support sports performance:

  • Sport-specific skill development
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Nutrition

And, since a well-rested athlete will generally outperform one who is not, you can add sleep to the list, as well.

Sleep is a vital component of good physical and mental health.  Research shows that 7-8 hours of quality sleep, per night, improves cognitive function and physical performance.  Fortunately, most of us have the ability to improve the quality of our sleep by making a few modifications to our diet and activity level.  Here are some tips:

Exercise

Daytime exercise can help you sleep more deeply and restfully at night. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic found that getting regular physical activity can actually help you fall asleep more quickly and improve the quality of your sleep. If possible, exercise in the morning or during the day, since exercising at night can increase your energy levels and alertness, making it more difficult for you to fall asleep.

Adhere to a Sleep Schedule

Consistency is the key.  According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals who get up in the morning and go to bed at night around the same time every day find it easier to fall asleep at night.  Try to stick to a regular sleeping schedule as much as possible, even on the weekends.  When your sleep schedule changes, you throw off your body’s internal clock, making it harder to fall asleep at night, and/or harder to stay awake during the day.  Consider an alarm that reminds you to go to bed at night, just like an alarm to wake you in the morning.

Avoid Caffeine

Stimulants, such as drinks that contain caffeine — coffee, tea, and sodas — can keep you up at night.  Some experts believe you should not drink any beverage containing caffeine after noon.  Nicotine and alcohol should also be avoided when it gets closer to bedtime.  Avoiding stimulants, especially later in the day, will help you stay asleep longer without waking up at night so that you have a better quality of sleep.

Set Up Your Bedroom

You want your bedroom to be as relaxing as possible so that it’s easy for you to fall asleep without any distractions.  The bedroom should generally be cool, quiet, and dark.  Eye pillows, extra blankets, and ear plugs may help you sleep more deeply.  Although reading and watching television in bed are distracting for some people, The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke actually recommends reading a book or watching the television in bed if your mind is racing when trying to fall asleep. Different things work for different people so it’s a good idea to try a little of everything to see what works best for you.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Caffeine Reduces Post-Exercise Muscle Soreness

9 Dec

Offduty: Caffine DrinksThere is considerable documentation touting the beneficial effects of caffeine on aerobic activity and resistance training performance.  Less, however, is known about caffeine’s effect on post-exercise muscle soreness.

A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined the effects of caffeine on delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).  In the study, individuals who ingested caffeine one hour before resistance training reported that this strategy “resulted in significantly lower levels of soreness on day 2 and day 3,” compared with individuals who did not ingest caffeine prior to working out.  (Hurley, et.al.)

The study corroborated previous findings that caffeine ingestion immediately before resistance training enhances performance.  “A further beneficial effect of sustained caffeine ingestion in the days after the exercise bout is an attenuation of DOMS.  This decreased perception of soreness in the days after a strenuous resistance training workout may allow individuals to increase the number of training sessions in a given time period.”

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Is 5-Hour Energy Worth It?

8 Nov

5-hour-energy[1]There’s a lot of marketing noise surrounding energy drinks. But should you partake if and when you want a little pick-me-up?

Yes and no, according to research. It appears that caffeine is responsible for virtually all the benefits of these energy drinks, including increased alertness and energy level. When caffeine is removed, the drinks’ other ingredients have little impact, say researchers.

Caffeine’s benefits are well-documented, and include:

  • Increased alertness and energy level
  • Improved cognitive function
  • A mild, mood-boosting effect
  • Improved exercise capacity

Ultimately, caffeine may help you think faster, exercise harder, and live longer. The next time you want a little caffeine-inspired jolt, stick with coffee. You’ll also benefit from its high levels of healthy antioxidants. If it’s got to be an energy drink, at least stay away from those that are loaded with sugar.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Improve the Quality and Quantity of Your Sleep to Feel and Perform Better

1 Mar

child-sleeping-with-stuffed-animal[1]At Athletic Performance Training Center, we believe there are 3 foundational “pillars” that support sports performance:

  • Sport-specific skill development
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Nutrition

And, since a well-rested athlete will generally outperform one who is not, you can add sleep to the list, as well.

Sleep is a vital component of good physical and mental health.  Research shows that 7-8 hours of quality sleep, per night, improves cognitive function and physical performance.  Fortunately, most of us have the ability to improve the quality of our sleep by making a few modifications to our diet and activity level.  Here are some tips:

Exercise

Daytime exercise can help you sleep more deeply and restfully at night. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic found that getting regular physical activity can actually help you fall asleep more quickly and improve the quality of your sleep. If possible, exercise in the morning or during the day, since exercising at night can increase your energy levels and alertness, making it more difficult for you to fall asleep.

Adhere to a Sleep Schedule

Consistency is the key.  According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals who get up in the morning and go to bed at night around the same time every day find it easier to fall asleep at night.  Try to stick to a regular sleeping schedule as much as possible, even on the weekends.  When your sleep schedule changes, you throw off your body’s internal clock, making it harder to fall asleep at night, and/or harder to stay awake during the day.  Consider an alarm that reminds you to go to bed at night, just like an alarm to wake you in the morning.

Avoid Caffeine

Stimulants, such as drinks that contain caffeine — coffee, tea, and sodas — can keep you up at night.  Some experts believe you should not drink any beverage containing caffeine after noon.  Nicotine and alcohol should also be avoided when it gets closer to bedtime.  Avoiding stimulants, especially later in the day, will help you stay asleep longer without waking up at night so that you have a better quality of sleep.

Set Up Your Bedroom

You want your bedroom to be as relaxing as possible so that it’s easy for you to fall asleep without any distractions.  The bedroom should generally be cool, quiet, and dark.  Eye pillows, extra blankets, and ear plugs may help you sleep more deeply.  Although reading and watching television in bed are distracting for some people, The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke actually recommends reading a book or watching the television in bed if your mind is racing when trying to fall asleep. Different things work for different people so it’s a good idea to try a little of everything to see what works best for you.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

How Does Caffeine Affect Athletic Performance?

12 Nov

Caffeine mainly acts as a central nervous system stimulant.  The vast majority of competitive athletes consume it, with more than half consuming it for the purpose of enhancing performance.  The benefits of caffeine include increased work output, speed, arousal and focus, combined with reduced perceived exertion and fatigue.

Caffeine is found in foods like chocolate, soft drinks, coffee, and tea.  A typical cup of coffee contains about 120 mg of caffeine.

Caffeine’s Effect on Athletic Performance

  • Improves reaction time, alertness, and focus
  • Decreases the body’s reliance on muscle glycogen (stored energy)
  • Increases the body’s absorption and use of consumed carbohydrates
  • Prolongs endurance performance
  • May increase the threshold for pain and discomfort

Caffeine specifically benefits prolonged endurance performance.  Sports lasting longer than an hour with sustained effort will benefit more from players consuming caffeine than sports with short bursts and duration.  Endurance sports such as running, cycling, and cross-country skiing; high-intensity sports such as swimming and rowing; and team sports such as soccer and basketball all benefit from caffeine supplementation by allowing players to increase work production, speed, and accuracy.  Caffeine does not necessarily offer a performance-enhancing benefit for strength and power activities, such as resistance training.

Caffeine supplementation of 3 to 6 mg per kilogram of body weight one hour before exercise is most effective.  The main drawback to caffeine is a potential diuretic effect, which could lead to dehydration, but caffeine does not increase fluid loss when consumed during exercise.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Performance-Enhancing Substances

26 Sep

Performance-enhancing, or ergogenic, substances (PES) include a broad range of products – from anabolic steroids and growth hormone to caffeine and creatine.  The two main types of PES are hormones (and hormone mimetic drugs) and dietary supplements.  There are known and suspected risks of steroid use, and the benefits are not well-defined.  Reliance on ergogenic substances may distract athletes from appropriate training techniques and produce side effects that impede athletic performance.  Anabolic steroids are prohibited by most athletic organizations, with the risk of sanctions against the athlete and possibly against the athlete’s team or school.  It is illegal to possess steroids for uses other than medicinal.

Anabolic steroids increase lean body mass and weight.  They can be administered orally or by injection, depending on the preparation.  There are many different anabolic steroids used by athletes, and primary among them is testosteroneDespite the benefit of increased lean muscle mass, there is no definitive evidence that anabolic steroids enhance athletic performance.  Health and performance risks have been associated with anabolic steroids, including increased aggressiveness (which can emerge as recklessness and loss of judgment), adverse effects on lipid levels, liver tumors, and temporary infertility.

Growth hormone is secreted from the pituitary gland, and stimulates physical growth of the body.  Although growth hormone is effectively used as replacement therapy for individuals with growth hormone deficiency, there is no evidence that supplemental growth hormone enhances athletic performance in normal men and women.

There is a long history of clinical use of hormones for treatment of medical conditions, providing substantial data on effects and health risks.  The data on benefits to athletic performance are fewer and inconclusive.  There is virtually no information regarding the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements such as “steroid replacers” and “growth hormone replacers.”

Dietary supplements may be useful to athletes who have specific nutritional deficiencies or nutritional “gaps” in their normal diets.  Unfortunately, dietary supplements (and their claims) are poorly legislated, and there are few safeguards to ensure that these products are safe and effective.

Data suggest that vitamins are important in disease prevention, especially at higher-than-normal levels of intake.  There is no basis for the use of vitamins as performance enhancers in athletes who are not vitamin deficient.  Excess vitamin use can even cause health problems, especially overuse of vitamins B6, A, and D (although dosage levels would have to exceed 10 times the RDA).  Vitamins C and E are antioxidants, which reduce tissue damage caused by oxidative stress.

Caffeine and creatine are two of the few dietary supplements that are known to be effective in enhancing specific types of athletic performance for some individuals.  The ergogenic potential of caffeine has been demonstrated in several studies, benefitting strength, power, and endurance athletes.

Accurate information from Strength and Conditioning professionals and coaches can have a significant impact on athletes’ perception of performing-enhancing substances.  This information should include the risks and benefits of these products, and ethical issues regarding their use.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER (and do it naturally, safely, and ethically!)

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