I have a confession. I am a coffee addict. Since I try to eat clean and I exercise daily, I’ve even cut sugar out of my diet. So, coffee is one of my only ‘vices.’ In fact, I myself have struggled with whether it would be better to leave coffee behind too. Could it be affecting my body in ways I’m not aware of??
What I do know is that I’m not a natural morning person…waking up has always been tough for me. I’ve long envied those folks who supposedly pop out of bed in the morning all bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to start the day! It’s hard for me to believe those people exist, but they do. I am NOT one of them. But coffee gives me that little spring in my step that I need to get going in the morning – a wake up for both my body and my mind.
But still, in the back of my mind I worry there’s some chance this little secret addiction could be doing me more harm than good. However, new studies show that coffee can actually be beneficial to your health. And though many of us have experienced the ‘pep’ that a cup of Joe can give you prior to a workout, there’s some scientific evidence that coffee, or at least caffeine, can have positive effects on your workouts too!
HEALTH BENEFITS OF COFFEE
Research has shown that drinking coffee on a regular basis can help reduce risk for Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease and colon cancer. An 18-year Harvard study showed that drinking coffee daily could decrease Type 2 diabetes risk – but the greatest benefits came with drinking an insane 6 cups of coffee per day. There are also at least six studies that indicate that drinking coffee regularly makes you 80% less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. Again, the more you drink, the less your risk. Other research shows that drinking at least 2 cups per day can reduce your risk of colon cancer by 25% and liver cirrhosis by 80%. There is also evidence that coffee drinkers may have a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s, depression and dementia.
What is it about coffee that makes it beneficial? Some of the benefits come from the high levels of caffeine in coffee while others are likely related to its antioxidant properties. The caffeine is shown to be the main reason for the reduction in Parkinson’s risk, and has also been found to be helpful in treating headaches and asthma.
The caffeine in coffee can also give a powerful boost to athletic performance. In fact, up until recently coffee was deemed a “controlled substance” by the Olympic Games Committee! Caffeine can help our workouts by helping us to ignore fatigue and push through a difficult routine. It may also affect muscles by helping them to produce a stronger contraction. For those who partake in strenuous exercise, the caffeine in coffee helps muscles use fatty acids for energy and decreases the affect of adenosine, which helps extend the time before muscles fatigue. While professional athletes may be most likely to see true performance benefits from drinking coffee, those of us working out to lose weight or increase fitness might notice differences in our energy levels during workouts and a possible decrease in post-exercise soreness and recovery time.
The bottom line? If you’re a coffee drinker, even a self-proclaimed coffee addict like myself, there’s probably no harm in feeding your habit. You may experience health benefits over the long term, and possibly even see benefits to your workouts. Of course we need to be mindful of not over-indulging in sugary or high-calorie Starbucks drinks which could mess with our weight-loss goals!
A caveat is that coffee may not be good for everyone. It can cause nervousness, increase heart rate and may elevate cholesterol levels in some people. Pregnant women, people with heart problems and people at risk for osteoporosis may be advised to avoid coffee.
By the way, for those of us coffee addicts, we’re certainly not alone. A search for the words ‘coffee workout’ on Google Images yields dozens of images of Mila Kunis grabbing her post-workout latte. Miley Cyrus and Katie Holmes appear to be two other frequent post-workout indulgers.
Need a new workout routine to take your fitness or weight loss to a new level? Grab your cup of coffee and workout with us at Athlean-XX for Women. Have a couple of sips and then jump into our quick, effective 30 minute routines. You’ve got the flexibility to do our guided DVD home workouts or take our Girl on the Go Cards to the gym with you to do your workout there. We won’t give you much time to nurse your cup of Joe DURING the workouts though! They’re fast paced strength circuits designed to build your strength and get your heart pumping cardio going at the same time. In fact that’s exactly why you only need 30 minutes to get a good workout with Athlean-XX for Women…you’re doing double-duty! Join us on Team Athlean to start seeing the results you want now!