We all probably know coffee as the delicious beverage that we start our day with, but coffee is much more serious than that. I certainly have an addiction. There is proof online here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. And that’s just in the last 24 hours of my Instagram.
Addiction is real. Performance enhancement is real. When you have coffee, you have both of those things. So, coffee should be an illegal drug. A banned substance that athletes get penalized for. There are too many benefits an athlete who is smart enough to drink coffee before performance will get. If anything was bottled, marketed and sold that had all of the benefits that coffee would have, and with the addiction, we would all be skeptical.
Coffee is the epitome of a performance enhancing drug and we’re here to find out five reasons why.
1: Muscles Contract Harder With Coffee
Your muscles need to contract to produce force to lift things, that is no surprise. Coffee contains chemicals that allow you to do more of that. Studies confirm that caffeine opens more calcium channels and this increases muscle contraction potential. Your muscles need calcium inside of them to contract fully and caffeine helps those channels open up so your muscles contract harder and longer. What does that mean? Long story short is that your muscles can contract harder and faster, which means that get more work done in less time.
Takeaway: Drink coffee before you work out so you can contract more of your muscles.
2: Weights Feel Easier With Coffee
One of the positive effects of the consumption of coffee is that the caffeine and diterpenes (chemicals in coffee) stimulate the central nervous system. A side effect of this is that the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) is decreased with drinking coffee. What that means is that workouts don’t seem as hard and weights feel easier to lift. This means you can push harder more often.
Takeaway: Drink coffee before you work out so you can increase your intensity.
3: Better Recovery By mTOR Inhibition With Coffee
mTOR, or mammalian target of rapamycin, is necessary for increasing size and strength of muscle as well as the protein synthesis necessary for recovery. You want mTOR as high as possible AFTER a workout to stimulate a positive adaptability in your tissues. During a workout, you want mTOR to be as LOW as possible so that you can have a higher increase. When you work out, you are trying to cause damage to your tissues so they adapt in a positive way. This way we are stronger for the next workout. If you are trying to build tissues while you are working out you will not have the same amount of adaptations. You should be trying to destroy your tissues in a workout. Guess what activates mTOR and thus activates growth and repair of tissues? High intensity exercise. Coffee is a significant inhibitor of mTOR. What does this mean? That coffee can help you recover after workouts.
Takeaway: Drink coffee before a workout and not after for a bigger response to growth and repair to your tissues.
4: Coffee + High-Intensity Exercise = Amazing Fat Burning Combination
Caffeine is a stimulant, and exercising tends to increase fat burning. A recent study has compared drinking coffee, exercising and drinking coffee while exercising. The exercise and coffee combo came out far ahead of either one of the isolated variables. What does this mean? That if you’re trying to use fat for energy, the addition of coffee to a fasted cardio session will especially help with utilizing fat as a fuel. Adding in a state of nutritional ketosis would be a huge win to help burn fat instead of carbs for energy.
Takeaway: Drink coffee in a fasted state or with exogenous ketones before a cardio session for better fat burning.
5: Better Motor Skills and Movement Patterns With Coffee
Remember when we talked about the combination of diterpenes and caffeine having a stimulating effect on the nervous system? One of the added benefits to this would be the increase in motor pattern retention. What the hell does that mean? When you are working out, or moving your muscles and joints with your brain, you are changing your movement patterns. Working out should be practicing your movements so that you are more resilient on a day to day basis. Be very focused on the tissues you are using and practice, practice, practice your movement instead of just going crazy with terrible form for a workout. With an upregulated nervous system, these movement patterns will stick better and you will end up moving better because of it.
Takeaway: Drink coffee then use your workout to practice your movement to increase your motor skills.
If all of these benefits of coffee came in a lab created pill, do you think it would be considered a banned substance? I think it would be pretty debatable. With that being said, you should probably put coffee to use in a performance enhancing framework if you’re an athlete before it’s too late.
What benefits have you found with consumption of coffee when it comes to performance? Post that or proof of your addition in the comments below!