Each day, nine out of 10 Americans ingest some form of caffeine. Two-thirds comes from the morning coffee slam, and the rest is spread across sodas, tea, energy drinks, supplements and chocolate. We may be hyped about caffeine, but caffeine doesn’t deserve its hype as an addictive, dehydrating and dangerous drug. Far from it.
Used the right way, caffeine can provide a healthy stimulating effect.
Wait, you say. Caffeine is good for me?
Mounting evidence shows that pre-workout caffeine can increase endurance, which means more reps, more sets and longer sessions, which translates into bigger muscles.
Not counting creatine monohydrate, caffeine is probably the most effective performance-enhancer, Caffeine doesn’t directly affect muscles; instead, it influences the central nervous system [CNS] to increase your pain threshold, so it’s easier to push through those final reps of squats/deadlifts and prowler pushes.
Research also confirms that caffeine can immediately increase muscle strength. Scientists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln reported that weight-trained men who took a caffeine supplement one hour pre-workout increased the number of reps they could complete on the bench press using 80% of their one-rep maxes.
Use, Don’t Abuse
More isn’t always better. Gulping cans of Red Bull won’t automatically produce a bull-like physique (especially if it isn’t sugar free, those calories add up).
You have to consume the right amount based on your weight, and at the right time, for caffeine to work. Everyone reacts to caffeine differently, but most studies suggest the ideal zone is from 100-200 mg with some studies suggesting 450mg.
Less than that doesn’t appear to help and any more doesn’t provide additional benefits. A good formula to follow is 3-6 mg per kilogram or 1.4-2.7 mg per pound of bodyweight; a 180-pound guy needs about 250-490 mg. (In comparison, the average person’s daily intake is about 300 mg.)