Are you turning to caffeinated beverages to keep you going throughout your day? Us too! Running between work, other errands and then squeezing in a workout can seem daunting without that steaming cup of coffee by your side. With all of the new health and wellness fads popping up on our Facebook and Instagram accounts it is hard not to wonder how much caffeine is too much caffeine and which sources are the best for our bodies? Have no fear, we’re here with the dos and don’ts of caffeine to help clear up these rumors so that you can sip away confidently!
Do: Drink Natural Caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant which occurs naturally from over 60 plant sources. Some of the most common plant sources are: coffee beans, tea leaves, cacao seeds and cola nuts. These natural sources can aid your body and mind in a variety of ways other than just giving you that pre-workout energy boost. Caffeine ingestion can reduce post-workout muscle pains, increase stamina during workouts, improve reaction time, help those with asthma and even prevent weight gain.
Don’t: Choose Synthetic
Unfortunately many energy drinks and other manufactured bottled beverages like sodas contain synthetic caffeine. Synthetic caffeine is not a naturally occurring source, it is manufactured in laboratories and factories which leads to the synthetic being exposed to harsh chemicals. Synthetic caffeine is also more potent than what is naturally found in plants, which can easily lead to consumers drinking more than the recommended daily allotment of caffeine. One easy way to find out if a product contains natural or synthetic caffeine is to check the ingredient list. If the list spells out the word caffeine it is likely synthetic. If the caffeine occurs naturally you will see the name of the plant which it was derived from, for example: guarana, green tea, tea leaves or cacao.
Do: Use Caffeine Purposefully
Consuming caffeine before a workout can be beneficial if it is not done excessively and if it is done so through natural origins. A cup of coffee or tea can be a safe way to boost your metabolism, build your endurance, and decrease the feeling of pain during your workout. However, it is important to supplement caffeine consumption with the consumption of water to stay hydrated during your workout.
Don’t: Over Do It!
The recommended amount of caffeine that an adult should not surpass in consumption in one day is 400 mg. This is roughly equivalent to four cups of coffee. Exceeding 400 mg could result in adverse effects like insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, stomach upset, fastened heart rate and muscle tremors. If you are not someone who ingests caffeine regularly you may experience these adverse effects more quickly. Many people turn to energy drinks for a pre-workout boost, however these drinks are often loaded with sweeteners, artificial flavors and sugar as well as synthetic caffeine. Just two of these drinks exceed the recommended amount of daily caffeine.
Another frequent energy supplement that people reach for before workouts are pre-workout powders. These drinks should be carefully selected and researched before use. Find a pre-workout beverage that contains natural caffeine and that has been tested from a trusted source so that you know that you are putting safe ingredients into your body before giving yourself the favor of a tough workout! Look for ingredients that mimic your body’s natural processes so that you can maximize your workout the right way.
Choose natural whenever you can! The ingredient lists on these products hold all of the information you need! Short lists with few ingredients are likely to contain mostly natural ingredients. Don’t let words you don’t know fool you - choose plants over chemicals. Most importantly, do your research and ask around the vast workout, health and wellness communities so that you can find the best answers for your body.