Coffee is one of the most popular drinks that are there. We appreciate its flavour, aroma and above all the ability to reduce fatigue. I think everyone has experienced the pleasant feeling of arousal after a cup of coffee. Recently there have been rumors saying that coffee's unique qualities make it a really good ergogenic supplement. Will then coffee serve well as a pre-workout drink?
What is there in coffee?
Coffee contains real wealth of bioactive substances, a number of which have the ability to influence your body in a positive way. As we all know, coffee is quite an abundant source of fast-acting caffeine. Even if only for this reason its use as a part of effort supporting strategy seems justified. Caffeine is an organic chemical compound from the group of purine alkaloids which in the nature acts as a natural pesticide toxic to insects. As for the impact on the human body, caffeine is a substance of stimulating and thermogenic properties (it intensifies heat production). The stimulatory properties are associated with blocking of adenosine receptors in the brain, which reduces fatigue and stimulates to work. This effect is also associated with increased catecholamine release from neurons bodies. In addition, this alkaloid affects oxygen consumption by your body, accelerates heart rate and moreover improves the ability to exercise: improves aerobic and anaerobic endurance.
An individual issue is the thermogenic properties of caffeine. Based on the available literature it should be remembered that this is one of the few safe and widely available substances that support weight loss by increasing the process of thermogenesis and boosting spontaneous physical activity. This effect is associated with the already mentioned high level of catecholamines such as norepinephrine and epinephrine. In addition, there is also some evidence that this alkaloid promotes recovery and reduces post-exercise muscle soreness, although there is still a lot of controversy in this matter because caffeine reduces the activity of anabolic enzymes.
Coffee itself also provides a large dose of polyphenols which reduce negative effects of oxidative stress and additionally make cell more sensitive to anabolic hormones such as insulin. This aspect also plays its role when it comes to the possibility of coffee supplementation in sport.
Coffee and physical effort
You should know that the legitimacy of using caffeine as a form of aid in exercise capacity has been supported by scientific research. Quite a lot of experimentation was conducted with the use of caffeine both in recreationally exercising amateurs and professional athletes. Usually, achieved results were decidedly optimistic. Here are some examples:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21799214 - introduction of caffeine in the dose of 6 mg per kg of body weight resulted in improvement in rowing by 2%,
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16540848 - introduction of caffeine in the dose of 6 mg per kg of body weight in well-trained athletes of team sports resulted in an improvement by 6.6 - 8.5%
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21178933 - this study showed the positive effects of caffeine (6 mg per kg of body weight) on physical capacity of average trained athletes.
There are, of course, more of similar research. In most cases positive effects of the supplementation are observed. Noteworthy, in the cited experiments caffeine supplement were tested, and not... coffee itself. So the question arises: whether the results of these experiments can be extrapolated in such a way as to consider that the same effect also occurs in the case of coffee?