If You've Ever Wondered What The Benefits Of Caffeine Are And If It Can Help Build Muscle, You Need To Read This Article
If I told you the benefits of caffeine included helping you lift more weight in the gym, making exercise seem easier, and increasing strength, would you be interested in learning more?
Of course you would.
Sipping on a smooth cup of black coffee, made from freshly ground beans, is one of life's pleasures. A true delight to look forward to each morning.
Or, for you, it might serve as an early morning pick-me-up. A necessity to get you through the day.
But the benefits of caffeine extend far beyond these day-to-day rituals. In fact, this common, every day drug can help you lose weight and build muscle.
In this article, you'll discover everything you need to know about how to supplement with caffeine.
So, if you want to build more muscle by optimising your performance in the gym, read on.
And if you want to listen to the audio version of the article, click here:
The Benefits Of Caffeine Go Beyond Building Muscle
"Used Correctly, Caffeine Could Help You Lose Fat And Build Muscle"
You're going to learn about caffeine in the context of building muscle. But, it's worth noting, the benefits of caffeine extend beyond gym performance.
And it serves a greater purpose than providing a rush of stimulants to get you through a workout.
No doubt, you'll be pleased to hear that caffeine could help you lose weight.
Increasing calories burned and reducing calories consumed might help you maintain your calorie deficit consistently. And a consistent calorie deficit leads to one thing... Fat loss.
This all sounds great.
Caffeine helps you lose weight and build muscle. Break out the party poppers and start the celebrations.
But before you start enquiring about that coffee intravenous drip, a word of caution.
But A Word Of Caution
Caffeine is pretty powerful. And if you choose not to exercise a degree of caution, it might not be so great for you.
It's important to consider how crucial supplementation is in the achievement of your goals. And here's a clue... It's not number 1.
The priorities of nutrition for building muscle and losing fat differ after calories, macros, and sleep have been optimised.
Supplementation (including caffeine) is less important for fat loss than it is for building muscle. This is because most weight loss supplements are a waste of money. However, creatine, caffeine, and a select few other supplements help improve gym performance. And improved gym performance, means more gains.
So it's crucial to respect the order of priority when managing your nutrition.
Valuing caffeine and energy drinks over-and-above calories, protein, and sleep is counter-intuitive to your goal.
Added to that, caffeine dependency is a real risk. A heavy reliance on caffeine to function during the day might seem like a harmless habit. In fact, you might enjoy the 15 Starbucks espressos you have every morning. But this reliance is likely to be masking an underlying issue with your health, lifestyle, and nutrition that needs your attention.
And then there's the tolerance adaptation. Overconsumption could negate the benefits of caffeine and leave you needing more and more, to see any effect.
Don't over-consume caffeine. Increased reliance and tolerance adaptations could negatively impact more critical aspects of health and nutrition, such as sleep.
Caffeine Doesn't Just Mean Coffee And Energy Drinks
"Caffeine Is Contained In More Foods Than You Realise"
Think caffeine. Think coffee, energy drinks, and pre-workout. All designed to turn you into a raging gym animal. Hell-bent on crushing PBs with eye-popping fury.
No thought to the fact you won't be able to sleep for the next 24 hours. It's a small price to pay.
But caffeine supplementation isn't about getting wired. After all, getting wired, might impact your sleep and your ability to build muscle.
Often, over consumption of caffeine results from a lack of awareness about how much common foods contain.
A weak cup of coffee has as much caffeine as a Coca Cola, or a strong cup of tea.
Even 50g of milk chocolate has half the amount of caffeine as a can of Red Bull. So, consuming an excessively high amount of caffeine, isn't that hard. A couple of cups of coffee and some chocolate could be all that's needed to send you over the caffeine edge.
How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?
2-6mg/kg is the effective range to work within. More than that may start to give you some restless nights and impact recovery. You also run the risk of creating reliance and dependancy too.
In context, an 80kg man would aim for 160-480mg per day. With the upper limit representing an occasional amount, rather than the daily norm.
Caffeine comes in many forms, making it very easy to have too much. Be aware of your daily caffeine intake and don't over do it. Sleep and recovery is more important than the marginal benefits you'll get.
The Benefits Of Caffeine For Building Muscle
"Caffeine Can Help You Perform Better In The Gym"
With all of the cautions and caveats understood, what are the benefits of caffeine that have a material impact on building muscle?
Spares Muscle Glycogen. Greer et al (2001)
Muscle glycogen is the storage form of carbohydrates in the muscle. If you have more muscle glycogen, theoretically, you'll have more energy in your muscles, which can be put to good use in the gym. Caffeine come into play here as it has a sparing effect on muscle glycogen.
In basic terms, this should mean you can push harder, for longer during your workouts.
Increased Force And Strength. Placket (2001)
Building muscle is largely about progressive overload. And increasing strength is a fundamental part of the process. One of the benefits of caffeine is that it helps improve force and strength.
Getting this added edge in the gym, could make a small, but significant difference in your ability to build muscle.
And given this process of building muscle is often painfully slow, any marginal gain is still a gain.
Reduced Rate Of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Backhouse et al (2010)
Ever have those days in the gym when you think to yourself, "WOW! This is fucking hard work."
Might even be every workout.
When you feel like this, pushing hard throughout an entire session can be tough. You may stop a few reps short of your target, because the bar felt about 200kg heavier than last week. And it's in these situations that caffeine supplementation could help.
This study, looked at cyclist and the differences in RPE when supplementing with caffeine. It highlighted a significantly lower RPE ratings in the caffeine group. And while you're unlikely to be competing in the Tour De France this year, there's crossover application to gym performance.
Supplementing 1 hour before those important training sessions could give you the extra edge you need.
Are There Any Other Benefits Of Caffeine?
When it comes to building muscle, these are the key benefits of caffeine supplementation. But there are more.
Here's a list of the other key benefits;
- Increases muscle fibres excitability - Olorunshola & Acie,(2011)
- Reduces reaction time - Duvnjak-Zaknick et al. (2001)
- Increases alertness & improves decision making, especially when sleep-deprived - Kamimori et al. (2015)
- Improves muscular endurance - Carr et al. (2001)
- Improves endurance performance - Desbrow et al. (2010)
Caffeine supplementation has multiple benefits for improved performance in the gym. Supplementing with 3-6mg/kg, one hour before a specific training session is ideal. However, be acutely aware of your habitual caffeine consumption as too much could have a greater negative impact on health.
The Bottom Line On The Benefits Of Caffeine For Building Muscle
Caffeine is one supplement proven to assist gym performance. And that extra edge could be what you need to build more muscle. But NEVER neglect the foundations of your nutrition in search of marginal benefits from a supplement.
Should you take a caffeine supplement to build more muscle?
Well, it depends.
Have you got all other aspects of your nutrition nailed? Calories, macros, protein frequency, rest, recovery, and all those other important factors that have a greater impact on results.
If not, supplementing with caffeine probably isn't going to have the big impact you hope.
Then you need to look at your habitual caffeine consumption. If you're already living off Starbucks, Monster Ultra, and your favourite 'Raging Beast' pre-workout, then adding MORE caffeine is likely to be a bad idea. In fact, you might want to consider reducing the amount you have.
However, assuming you're not a caffeine junkie, then controlled and measured amounts of caffeine in the 3-6mg/kg could help you increase strength, reduce RPE, and spare muscle glycogen.
Ultimately, you need to consider your individual circumstances to determine if additional caffeine supplementation is right for you.
Here's How To Calculate How Many Calories You Need To Achieve Your Fitness Goals (And A Free Training Programme)
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But for now, all I’ll say is… Keep living the Lean Life and I’ll see you soon.