Caffeine and Weight Training

By Tina Hudgins

Gourmet coffee as a beverage is drank by a surprisingly large number of people around the planet. From young to elderly, it is a favorite addition to good conversation and perhaps breakfast. Coffee is known to contain the chemical compound caffeine, which is a type of stimulant and is known to boost both mood and overall wakefulness. Coffee and caffeine's characteristics, however, are not restricted to only mental state and alertness, but also extend into other health domains as well.

In fact, caffeine in gourmet coffee has been proven to enhance a weightlifters endurance on movements like the sitting row, and can also enhance aerobic endurance. This fitness output enhancement effect probably has a little to do with the manipulation of the body's chemistry through means such as insulin and glucose. Wouldn't it be exciting to see a rapid jump in your lifts with little to no effort? This effect most likely exists only in the individuals who aren't yet addicted to coffee.

Coffee has also been observed to reduce the overall risk of stroke in females, which is great news for Hispanic women who unfortunately have the very highest stroke rates relative to any other ethnic group. Other research studies have demonstrated that caffeine probably even helps reduce the loss of dopamine producing neurons which is known to cause the devastating disease known as Parkinson's disease. This hasn't yet been totally proven in humans, however.

Coffee has a number of antioxidants which are created via the Maillard reaction, which is the chemical process that happens via roasting. Antioxidants in general are healthy for you, and are very high in white tea as well. The fact that coffee has antioxidants is also important to gym-goers, because weightlifting induces damage through oxidation. This oxidative damage results from a release of reactive oxygen species known as ROS.

One word of caution about coffee as a fitness enhancer, however. While caffeine may enhance relative athletic performance, and may possess other positive benefits it is also, unfortunately, correlated with the appearance of a certain heart arrhythmia known as atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation causes shortness of breath when experiencing periods of physical exertion, which is the exact opposite of what any weightlifter desires.

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