Coffee — the bean with benefits

Cathleen Kronemer

By Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT

In a world where one can find a Starbuck’s on virtually every street corner, it is hard to argue with the fact that coffee has become a ubiquitous component of daily life. In years past, caffeine has received some bad press, mostly due to research on individuals who consume in excess of 6-10 cups a day. If you are a java junkie like myself, however, do not despair – recent findings indicate that even a small amount of caffeine can actually be good for you, at least if you’re headed to the gym!

According to an article in the Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, small amounts of caffeine can enhance endurance during exercise. Furthermore, as little as 6mg of caffeine per kg of body weight has been shown to delay muscle fatigue and slow the breakdown of muscle glycogen, enabling your body to have more fuel to sustain your workout.

The news gets even better! A professor of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has found that caffeine affects a system in the brain and spinal cord involved in pain processing. Studies have demonstrated that small amounts of caffeine consumed prior to a workout can actually ease muscle soreness.

While water still remains the top choice for hydration, both in and out of the gym, it now seems that your morning brew might actually do more than just jump-start your day!