Most of us aren’t strangers to caffeine. We count on our coffee to jump start the day or pour a great big cup of green tea when the afternoon slump sets in. But what about using caffeine to rev up a workout or help you lose weight? Is it a good idea? Does it even work?
You might be surprised to learn that caffeine is actually a natural substance, found in the leaves, seeds and even fruits of some plants. We most commonly consume it in coffee, tea, chocolate and chocolate beverages, soda and energy drinks. Caffeine can also be made synthetically and added to drinks or foods or taken as a supplement.
As a stimulant, caffeine can definitely give you that boost of energy you want to power through a workout. It’s also thought to increase metabolism and suppress appetite, which may help with weight-loss efforts. But it’s important to remember that caffeine increases heart rate and acts as a diuretic, so it should be used with caution before or during exercise.
If you’re looking for a little bit of extra “oomph” to lift heavier weights or go an extra mile, you might consider a caffeine supplement or drinking a cup of coffee about an hour or so before you hit the gym.
Green tea is another great option because in addition to caffeine, green tea is rich in polyphenols (especially the active ingredient, EGCG) that offer antioxidant protection. Green tea has also been shown to support healthy metabolism when combined with a healthy-eating and exercise program.*
For those who already consume heavy amounts of caffeine throughout the day, the effects won’t be as noticeable. Experienced or serious athletes might try a more advanced supplement such as Vitacost ® AROâ„¢ Burn, a potent combination caffeine, green tea, cocoa extract, yerba mate and other herbal and fruit extracts. Each serving provides 200 mg of caffeine, about the equivalent to two cups of coffee.
Remember to take your drink your coffee or tea or take your caffeine supplement early in the day so it doesn’t disturb your sleep.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
NPC National Figure competitor Melissa Transou, a fitness expert, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports and nutrition needs of women and female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com. Learn more about Melissa in this recent RXMuscle.com spotlight article, connect with her on Facebook or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.