We’ve all been there before: you’re exhausted, but you know you need to get off the couch and get a workout in. You want a little pick-me-up before hitting the gym, so you stop by the corner store and grab an energy drink to get you going.
Which energy drink should you grab? What ingredients should you be keeping an eye out for? Should you even be drinking an energy drink before a workout?
In this article we’ll explore the good and bad of using energy drinks before exercise.
Does Caffeine Boost Sports Performance?
The answer to this question is a tricky one.
Consuming a caffeinated beverage, such as an energy drink, will stimulate your central nervous system, which will provide you with a temporary jolt of energy.
With the right dose, your mental performance will also receive a boost.
Studies have shown that cognitive functioning can improve as a result of consuming energy beverages. This will allow you to get more done in a short amount of time. They have also shown that the right amount of Caffeine before physical activity may improve endurance and muscular strength.
While Caffeine can help, it needs to be taken in moderation because too much may cause ill effects during and after exercising, such as:
Rapid or abnormal heart rate
Increased blood pressure
However, one lesser-known fact about this popular stimulant is that there are many sources of Caffeine - and they are not all created equal. Some of the sources are natural plant-based ones, while others are synthetically produced.
Let’s look at artificial Caffeine for a moment:
Synthetically produced Caffeine from pharmaceutical facilities (usually based in China) is the most popular source of Caffeine in the popular energy and soft drinks that you see on shelves today. Artificial Caffeine is quickly absorbed into the body, providing you with a quick jolt of energy, much faster than that of naturally-sourced Caffeine. However, artificial Caffeine will also lead to a much quicker, and often much harsher, crash.
So are ALL energy drinks bad for exercise? The answer is no.
Caffeine from green tea is a naturally-sourced Caffeine that your body metabolizes differently than artificial Caffeine. This means that it will affect you differently.
How, might you ask? Well, the Caffeine found in green tea is absorbed by the body at a much slower rate. As a result, you won't experience the immediate Caffeine rush (or headache) you would experience with synthetic Caffeine. Instead, your dose of Caffeine will be released slowly over time, providing you with a more sustained energy.
Artificial Caffeine is also notorious for giving people the jitters. On the other hand, when organic Caffeine from green tea is paired with the right ingredients, such as the naturally-occuring amino acid, L-Theanine, this unwanted side-effect is significantly reduced. This powerful ingredient promotes a sense of calm and works synergistically with organic Caffeine for smooth, clean energy without the shakes!
So, now that we understand the difference between natural and synthetic Caffeine sources, what are the benefits of drinking a caffeinated energy drink before a workout?
Benefits of Caffeine for Exercise
Improved Motor Skills
Caffeine stimulates the motor cortex, the part of the brain associated with muscle activation. For best use, take in clean caffeine from an energy shot like Proper Wild at least 15 minutes before working out. The effects are relatively immediate, and the feeling of renewed energy can last up to six hours. Reflexes are also greatly benefitted from caffeine. Motor skills across the board, from hand-eye coordination to precision, have been observed to improve with caffeine use as well.
Many studies have been conducted on athletes to test the effects of different sources of energy. In runners, Caffeine increased endurance and reduced 800m time by about four seconds. Cyclists were able to complete more miles in the same amount of time as placebo groups that were given water and carbohydrates.
Caffeine has a tendency to reduce the perception of effort and dramatically improve mood. This is why coffee is such a mainstay in offices across America. After drinking Caffeine, a difficult workout may not seem as hard. Milestones are important in maintaining positive habits. As certain exercises get easier, you might be more inclined to continue with them—and with a chipper attitude!
Completing a workout the right way involves pushing every muscle to its limit and finishing reps with proper technique. A distracted workout can result in poor performance, or worse, an injury from the incorrect form. Caffeine on its own is great for improving energy, but amino acid L-Theanine and Caffeine together can significantly help to improve one’s focus in the gym. Better form, controlled reps, focused breathing, and a heightened awareness of the body can be achieved with the properties of green tea’s incredible amino acid.
Supported Weight Loss
Last on the list, but certainly not least, one of the best benefits of Caffeine use is that it just might help to support you on your weight loss journey when paired with a healthy diet and exercise!
It’s true—the Caffeine in your morning cup of coffee stimulates the breakdown of adipose tissue via a process called lipolysis. And once the fatty acids are freed from their storage form, they can be used for energy. In other words, Caffeine helps to stimulate the process of fat being broken down and used as an energy source.
But how does Caffeine actually stimulate lipolysis?
When you consume Caffeine, it increases levels of energetic hormones like norepinephrine and epinephrine in your blood. These hormones, in turn, cause fatty acids to be released.
The fatty acids then must be burned for energy. And the process of burning fat for energy is known as your metabolism. Depending on your diet, genes, and lifestyle, your metabolism can burn energy at a lower or higher rate.
What’s one compound that stimulates metabolism to burn more energy? Caffeine!
This process of metabolic burn is called thermogenesis. Caffeine increases this process so in other words - it tells your body to burn more calories, which helps you to lose more weight.
So, do energy drinks work for exercise?
Absolutely! But, you should stay away from synthetic Caffeine for the best results.
Try our Proper Wild Energy Shots that are made with organic Caffeine from green tea to provide clean, long-lasting energy during your workout. Our 100% plant-based shots are made with no artificial ingredients or added sugars, so you can experience Caffeine exactly how it should be: organic and free of junk and preservatives.
Try Proper Wild today - you’ll be happy you did!