There's no need to forsake that cup of joe before revving up the treadmill. In fact, a little caffeine could do your morning run some good. According to one Harvard professor, consuming about 200 to 400 mg. of caffeine (which is about two to four cups of coffee) may preserve glycogen—the body’s immediate supply of glucose used for energy—especially for extended-endurance events like long-distance running, cycling or swimming.
“When you exercise at an intense pace, glycogen will not run out for one or two hours, but once it does, you can ‘hit the wall,’” said Howard LeWine, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “By preserving glycogen stores longer, you can potentially increase your exercise time by 20 percent, or perhaps finish a race a little faster. Caffeine may also stimulate earlier and greater use of fat-burning for energy.”
Not only could caffeine increase your exercise speed by 20 percent, it may also encourage the body to burn fat. If your workout motivation is in need of a boost, we suggest giving a little caffeine a try—just do so in moderation. Experts warn that over 500 mg of caffeine can actually decrease performance and could even disqualify you from certain athletic competitions.
Do you use some caffeine to amp up your fitness performance? Do you notice a difference when you do?