Hey Coach! What do you take as a pre-workout?
Probably the second most popular question that I am asked... And the answer is coffee. That's it.. That's all. Aside from great nutrition and hydration, coffee helps increase my performance on a daily basis.
In general, Coffee, and more directly caffeine is the most studied nutrition supplement in history. If you would stick your nose into any academic resource you will most likely find a section about caffeine and human physiology. So today I wanted to simplify the discussion, keep the science to a minimum (many of you appreciate) and make a claim for why coffee is a real benefit for your training and the ONLY pre-workout you will ever need.
1) Increases Metabolism.
Coffee, as I mentioned before, contains about 75-200mg of caffeine per cup. Caffeine even without exercise creates thermogenesis in your body. Thermogenesis is when your insides heat up and to do so, energy needs to get used. Since coffee does not boost your insulin levels like sugar does, Fat tends to get burned at a higher rate. Combined with exercise, coffee helps keep your metabolism at peak levels throughout the day. This maintains a healthy bit of fat burning even hours after you leave the gym!
2) Short Term Cognitive Function.
I have done a lot of research into whether coffee can boost lasting brain function. There is no doubt that when you have consumed coffee or tea that you feel 'fired up' a bit more than when you don't... This state of awareness helps increase your problem solving skills and overall ability to think clearly. For training, your ability to 'keep your head in the game' is a real benefit. CrossFit requires thinking and awareness in lifting as well as conditioning. Coffee has the ability to make your training sessions more focused. Although there is no definitive studies on it, there may be longer lasting cognitive benefits to coffee as well but the jury is still out!
3) Boosts oxygen to the muscles.
Coffee is what is called a 'Vaso-dialator'. This means that when you injest it, you blood vessels get bigger, allowing more blood to flow through them. Coffee is a stimulant. This stimulant has a bit more nutritional value than the rest but the pathology still works the same. When your blood vessels open up that means there is more blood that can be delivered to muscles; this means that more oxygen can be delivered to muscles. More blood and oxygen in the muscles means that you can push harder in strength training and run longer in conditioning. The 'burn' that makes you stop working is delayed and performance is increased!
4) Improves Gut health and inflammation.
You knew it was coming.... gut health.. My favorite.... Coffee is chalked full of anti-oxidants and flavonoids. While these may be less on your mind than other benefits that coffee can bring, your insides place it on the top of their list! Anti-oxidants in your blood system help keep you healthy from a cellular level. Keeping your cells from getting sick has a benefit throughout the body. Flavonoids are natural anti-inflammatories found in a ton of healthy whole food products. Coffee can keep inflammation at bay, thereby increasing your ability to recover both from a GUT level and muscular level!
As I said before, coffee and Tea are packed with 75-200mg of caffeine per cup so I would suggest that when you first try this supplement before training, you start small and not go fill tilt until you see how your body reacts. So... one cup to start.... not one whole pot of coffee!
To really feel the effects on your training, timing out when to take it is also important. I see so many people show up at the gym and then start to pound the pre-workout garbage. They are totally missing the mark. Coffee should be consumed 1 hour prior to training to allow it to be absorbed in the body. Also, Coffee (as well as other pre-workouts) increases the acidity of the body and so does exercise. Too much acidity can spell disaster on performance. Giving your body time to take in the caffeine and then normalize before strenuous exercise is very important.
So good luck... Grab a cup and lets see you fired up in the gym tomorrow!
20X Elbow To instep Stretch
5 X Wall Climb
7 x romanian deadlift
7 x snatch high pull
7 x muscle snatch
7 x tempo overhead squat
7 x snatch balance
7 x power snatch to OHS
7 x snatch pull under
7 x hang (squat) snatch
In 18 mins, Find your new Max Power Snatch>
*Focus on form and position. I am looking for high quality work here, not a big mess. Proper pull, proper landing. Rest as necessary between reps.
Power Snatch 75/55
Toes To bar