The Surprising Benefits of Caffeine

Balzac’s weapon of choice

The famous 19th-century French playwright and novelist HonorĂ© de Balzac held coffee in the highest esteem and praised its invigorating impact on his mental capabilities. He said that “coffee keeps the blood moving and stimulates the muscles, it accelerates the digestive system, chases sleep away and makes us capable of engaging a little longer in our intellectual exercises”.

The effectiveness of caffeine in the form of improving motivation, alertness, reaction time, overall focus and reasoning, is absolutely crucial for those for which these properties are essential for preserving life itself. We are referring to people in the military who often consume high amounts of caffeine and many other stimulants in order to keep their mental focus and alertness at the highest levels in life-and-death situations.

These same people are known to consume granulated coffee in copious amounts to chase away physical and mental fatigue. Since it is both readily available anywhere in the world and also legal, not to mention its low potential for toxicity and low abuse potential, caffeine is for soldiers and fitness enthusiasts alike, the go-to supplement to increase aggression and improve physical and mental performance.

Caffeine has been shown to be especially effective when doing monotonous or repetitive tasks. Training in the gym, whether it’s endless reps of squats or 20 minutes of HIIT requires an enormous amount of mental focus, physical intensity and attention to proper execution.

That’s why caffeine with its arsenal of potent ergogenic actions is very useful. Besides caffeine’s boosting effect on CNS activity, there is also the combined impact of caffeine’s metabolites theobromine, which improves nutrient and oxygen flow to your brain, theophylline which relaxes the muscles and improves heart rate efficiency and paraxanthine, which improves lipolysis, the process where fats are broken down to be used as an energy source.

Caffeine actually increases the levels of fatty acids in the bloodstream to a degree where carbohydrates deposits are preserved and utilized more efficiently. This, in turn, increases muscle endurance and aids in keeping high energy levels for longer. Mixing carbohydrates and caffeine in your pre-workout meal is a proven strategy for improving physical performance.

But, consuming this combination within four hours after training has been shown to increase athletic performance by increasing the glycogen uptake by approximately 65%. Caffeine prepares us for action and improves productivity, by increasing the neural firing and stimulating the pituitary gland to produce more adrenaline. Put simply, it makes us move and act faster and more efficiently and also makes us stronger at the same time. It’s no wonder it’s a staple ingredient in every pre-workout supplement that’s proven its worth, not to mention it boosts muscle glycogen uptake when taken after training.

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