Caffeine is a popular natural stimulant. The average person consumes around 200mg a day of caffeine through coffee and tea. Research has revealed that there are several benefits of taking caffeine before cardiovascular training, but only in certain types. Moderate caffeine consumption can improve athletic performance.
Caffeine can combat fatigue in cardiovascular events and training. Glycogen is the principle fuel for muscles, but fat can be used as a secondary fuel when caffeine is taken. Caffeine can only mobilize fatty acids for fuel if there is sufficient glycogen left in the body. By taking caffeine before starting training, this delays the depletion of muscle glycogen, allowing for prolongation of an exercise. Caffeine has been shown to decrease glycogen usage by as much as 50% when taken before fatigue kicks in.
Caffeine absorbs adenosine, a chemical in the brain that slows down nerve cells and causes tiredness. By removing adenosine, the body can keep the nerve cells firing faster for longer, delaying fatigue. Caffeine also causes blood vessels to shrink, which blocks adenosine’s ability to open them up.
Caffeine has a strong effect on the body’s capability to breathe. Caffeine increases respiratory functions in endurance athletes and improves nervous system feedback in non-athletes. Caffeine is also a very effective treatment for asthma sufferers who wish to train. Caffeine should only be taken in moderate amounts when used before cardiovascular training. Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) training is recommended (such as jogging) when consuming caffeine pre-workout.
Caffeine boosts the body’s metabolism. Lipolysis, the act of the body releasing stored fatty acid into your bloodstream for fuel, is increased when taking caffeine. Caffeine can help especially when taking on long-term endurance events such as running marathons because of its ability to use fat for energy.
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