Coffee and Caffeine
Coffee and Caffeine
Since the recent article published on Flexonline.com regarding coffee and caffeine is getting a lot of attention I figured I would write an article going over the topic in order to clear some things up.
Should you avoid drinking coffee if your goal is muscle building?
If you have not read the article here is the link http://www.flexonline.com/nutrition/say-no-coffee . Basically what the article is saying is caffeine has a lot of great benefits but coffee should be avoided. The reasoning is based on a study published out of Greece that showed a greater increase in cortisol when subjects drank coffee as opposed to water in the morning. Since caffeine is noted to increase cortisol it is a no brainer subjects drinking coffee as opposed to water would have higher cortisol levels. The idea of taking a caffeine supplement being alright but consuming coffee that has numerous antioxidants is confusing to me but that’s beside the point. The real question is does elevated cortisol from caffeine make a difference?
Cortisol is a stress hormone that can have negative catabolic effects on muscle. However, in order for cortisol to really cause issues on muscle mass/growth a few things need to happen. One, cortisol needs to be elevated for an extended period of time. Short term elevations in cortisol do not have negative effects on muscle building. In fact, hard training sessions that are needed to grow muscle also cause raises in cortisol. Secondly, cortisol raises need to be high enough over a prolonged period of time to make a difference. In my opinion any elevation in cortisol due to coffee intake will not be significant enough to limit muscle building efforts. So should you stop drinking coffee if you are interested in muscle building? In my opinion no, you can still drink your coffee!
Caffeine is a stimulant that has numerous performance and physique enhancing properties.
- Caffeine enhances alertness which is why it makes a great pre workout supplement. It takes about 45-60 minutes to reach peak levels so timing needs to be considered. It also lasts in the body around 4 hours. Caffeine can be classified as an adenosine receptor antagonist. What that means is caffeine binds to adenosine receptors which “blocks” adenosine from being able to bind to them. That is what creates the enhanced alertness.
- Caffeine is also a great fat burner. Fat cannot be burned where it’s at; it needs to be transported into the muscle cell. Caffeine increases free fatty acid entry into the muscle thus increasing fat utilization.
- Caffeine also has an effect on decreasing appetite, although not significantly.
- The biggest benefit may be its performance enhancing properties during endurance training. This goes back to the point about free fatty acid release into the muscle cell. Since fat is the main fuel source during endurance activity, being able to burn fat more efficiently for fuel is a great benefit.
- Too much caffeine can cause GI distress. It is important to take proper dosages. A general guideline for performance benefits would include getting in 3-6 mg/kg of body weight. For a 175lb person a general recommended does would be between 240-480mg depending on the individual.
- You generally hear about people who say they do not feel the same effects from caffeine as they used to. This is because the body becomes more efficient at metabolizing caffeine with prolonged use. Generally over time it will take increasing dosages to get the same results.
There are a lot of good qualities in coffee and caffeine. I know I am not going to let a study talking about cortisol levels keep me away from my morning cup of java!
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