Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I get up early, 4:00 in the morning on weekdays and 5:00 on weekends, so I can get to the gym as soon as it opens.

It's quiet there in the morning, most of the regulars are "cardio" people, they climb on the same machine, day after day. They look the same, day after day. Not very good. Lots of cardio and no weight lifting makes for a very, very unattractive body.

I digress. I am writing about caffeine. Because I get up so early, I really need a kick start. I have the drive, I have the desire, I have the urge. But I still need some help that early.


As usual, I don't trust all those expensive proprietary blends, you just never know exactly how much of any ingredient is in a serving.

I have read numerous studies on the effects of caffeine and as usual, they come up with a different conclusion.  You always need to consider all of the variables, and not one study will be the same.

I used to take powdered caffeine, just put 400 mg in my meal replacement drink in the morning, cheap and does the trick. Then I stopped and started using left over coffee instead of water to mix my MR, and it tasted great- chocolate and coffee, yum!

Then I read an article by Scott Welch in Natural Muscle Magazine and it made me decide to go back to trying my caffeine again. The article explained why you may wish to purchase one of those "fancy pre-workout drinks" and I won't quote the entire thing, I do want to share this part:

Caffeine is a drug that is on its own, has been proven to enhance endurance, strength, power and speed. Unfortunately, when you get it from coffee this isn't the case. Dr. Terry Graham gave runners either caffeine with water or the same amount of water with coffee and tested their performance. What the researchers found was shocking! Only the water & caffeine group had higher performance, the coffee drinking subjects showed little or no improvements!

Test subjects also had higher levels of an energy hormone called norepinephrine.

Study Reference

According to British researcher, Mark Gilbert, coffee is a complex mixture of chemicals like diterpenes, chlorogenic acid, minerals and oils and all of these can have their own effects on the body and on each other. Scientist theorize that one or more of these chemicals blocks the performance-enhancing effects of the caffeine found in the coffee...

If you want the benefits of caffeine (which also include helping release more fat from fat cells and curbing appetite), you need about 200 milligrams before exercise.

OK, it was a very small test, but sounded solid enough for me to try that powdered caffeine again.

So I have given it a try again, and I have more energy to keep up with grueling, tough workouts, I can train longer and harder.

Could it be a placebo effect? Maybe, doesn't matter to me. If it works on my brain, it works on my body.

Give it a try. Just make sure that you check everything else you are taking first, if you take one of those "fancy pre-workout" drinks, it probably has caffeine in it already.
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