Pre-workout supplements are composed of multiple ingredients combined to accomplish one goal: Give you the athletic boost in performance to reach your workout goals. Pre-workouts are most commonly found in powdered form, which is added to water and consumed before your workout.
Specific ingredients found in pre-workouts are known to improve aspects of performance. These include increased strength and extended endurance. One of these ingredients that is considered one of the best additives is caffeine. Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant found in cacao plants, coffee, and teas. Caffeine stimulates the brain and central nervous system. It causes the body to stave off tiredness and raises alertness. Let’s take a deeper look into the benefits of caffeine in pre-workouts.
The Journal of Sports Science & Medicine showed in a 2010 study that “caffeine is effective for enhancing sports performance in trained athletes when consumed in low-to-moderate dosages.” Caffeine achieves this in a number of ways. It helps sustain stamina so you can undertake longer periods of exercise, in turn providing better endurance on the treadmill or in the weight room. Caffeine also boosts dopamine, a chemical produced by the body. Dopamine signals part of the brain to delay the time of exhaustion. Thus, caffeine helps in the volume of workouts and allows for higher intensity workouts.
In the study, it was found that lack of sleep hindered workouts (for obvious reasons). However, sleep-deprived athletes who took caffeine before workouts performed better. Hence, caffeine taken before a workout reduces poor performance brought by sleep deprivation.
Additionally, caffeine is known to boost mental alertness and improve focus. These two factors speed up reaction time and increase performance. To realize these benefits of caffeine, pre-workouts should be consumed 1 to 2 hours before a workout.
Caffeine acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system. It does this by signaling the fat cells to break down fat. This process increases adrenaline levels in the blood and prepares the body for intense workouts. For these reasons, caffeine is the go-to supplement for most serious athletes.
In fact, a 2014 clinical trial by the National Library of Medicine found that 4.45 mg/kg of caffeine routinely led to an increase of endurance in athletes. Additionally, regular coffee drinkers proved to be faster than those who did not consume caffeine supplements.
Consuming caffeine before a workout allows athletes to go further and gain higher output, as proven in a 2020 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. The study revealed that caffeine led to an increase in maximum strength and power. The study also suggested that caffeine may provide benefits for strength-based exercises focusing on large muscle groups.
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