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Healthy Living
How Caffeine Affects Your Workout

No matter what you’re getting your caffeine from before you workout, it’s important to be aware of how much you are consuming and what effect it has on your body. Caffeine is one of the most commonly used foods and supplements in the world. About 85% of adults consume caffeine regularly. Caffeine is naturally found in coffee beans and cacao beans and, now it recently started being produced chemically to add to foods and drinks. It is mostly consumed as coffee and is also found in a number of pre-workouts, tea, energy drinks, gels, and some foods.

Caffeine is consumed because of its ability to boost energy. It works to stimulate your central nervous system, so that you are able to perform more efficiently. Caffeine has an ergogenic effect, which means that it enhances physical performance, stamina, and recovery. In terms of physical performance, it works to change the perception of how much effort an individual is exerting while exercising. Imagine two people are told to bike as hard as they can. One consumed caffeine prior, and the other did not. The individual who consumed caffeine is going to bike at a greater intensity. However, both will think that they performed at equal intensities. The effect of caffeine on the brain makes people feel like they are doing less work than they truly are. For this reason, caffeine is shown to be effective at enhancing performance both in endurance activities and resistance training. However, there is a limit to how much caffeine you should consume.

It is recommended that a healthy adult can safely consume about 300-400mg of caffeine in a day. This is about 3-4 cups of coffee. Below is a visual representation of how much caffeine is in a number of popular products. You can also check out the Center for Science in the Public Interest to find your favorite.

While consuming caffeine before a workout can be beneficial in enhancing performance, consuming too much caffeine can lead to some negative side-effects. Some of these side-effects include restlessness, insomnia, rapid or abnormal heart rhythm, anxiety, upset stomach or heartburn, and increased blood pressure. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, so it is important to be mindful and listen to your body.

To learn more about caffeine, sign up for our free spring workshop on Thursday, April 19th. Additional topics include hydration and seasonal produce, and you may even get some free food! You can also sign up for a free 30-minute session with one of our Smart Eats staff to talk one-on-one about your personal nutrition goals. You can also email us at What are you waiting for? Sign up today!