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Caffeine for Pre-workout- Good or Bad?

Debatably, Caffeine is one of the world’s most studied and well proven ergogenic aids whether it is for someone who wants to improve performance or someone who is just looking to manage weight. The affectability of caffeine depends on two major things, namely, dosage and timing.  Through this article, you can take a look at whether or not caffeine is something that you should probably go for or not.

What is caffeine?

Caffeine is a psychomotor stimulant that is found in several beverages and used in pre-workout supplements. In its natural state, it is present in the plant to protect itself from certain pests and dates back to 14-15th centuries when it was used as a popular substance in Arab culture to stay awake for late evening prayers.  Over the years, research and studies on this particular substance have concluded that it acts as a brain stimulant and offers memory enhancement benefits.

Caffeine is an alkaloid compound from Xanthine group of antioxidants that helps stimulate the central nervous system, thus causing alertness to set in for certain period of time. However, in the fitness world, there have also been a number of benefits attributed to Caffeine such as for its role in weight loss, its use in energy drinks and certain medications.

Dosage:

Suggested Read: How Caffeine Helps You fight Fatigue

Caffeine added to food is subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use. However, the tolerance level for caffeine varies from person to person which is also known as caffeine sensitivity.

For new users, it is ideal to start with a dose of 100-150 mg/day. Then you can go on to gradually increase the dose, depending on how well it suits you.

Though there is no RDA for caffeine, as such, the dose limit for caffeine is not more than 400 mg/ day.

The Benefits:

Caffeine works to promote alertness and nervous excitability by muscle fiber recruitment in the brain.

It reduces our perception of pain and exhaustion thereby enabling us to improve our exercise pace and time and ultimately, the quality of results. Here is a list of benefits that having caffeine as one of the contents in supplements has:

  • It improves alertness with the release of dopamine, a chemical stimulator released in the brain’s gray matter, furthermore improving problem solving abilities.
  • Reduces muscular pain by alleviating the post-workout pain and muscle soreness thereby, enabling you to work out better without a drop in your performance.
  • Maintains glycogen stores in the body, when consumed in combination with carbohydrates.
  • Improves speed and endurance. Taking caffeine before workouts or performance can improve both, endurance as well as speed of the activity while decreasing the feeling of early exhaustion.

 

Suggested Read: 4 Truths about Caffeine and Running That You Should Know

Possible side effects:

  • Insomnia: As a result of caffeine being alertness inducing compound, it stimulates the brain and the degree of effect can vary from person to person. However, the solution to this is avoiding taking caffeine closer to your bed-time. Instead, taking it earlier in the day or as a pre-workout may be a better idea to utilize caffeine’s benefits and avoid insomnia.
  • Dehydration: It is no secret that caffeine leads to dehydration as it tends to have a slightly diuretic effect. To beat this, ensure you are drinking enough water throughout to avoid feeling fatigued or nauseaus.
  • Addiction: Although there is nothing to be alarmed about, one can get addicted to caffeine and might observe withdrawal symptoms like headaches, cravings or anxiety for about a week’s time. Although it will fade away eventually, you can try weaning off the dosage (200 gm or more) lowering the intake.

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