I’ve been working out for the past two months. Every day I’m learning so many new things as I work out and research about each workout. However, there’s one question that have been disturbing me. Does drinking caffeine have any positive or negative effect on my workouts? 

Sonam Wangchuk, Thimphu. 

Hi Sonam,

Life itself is a constant learning process, the deeper you delve into it, the more you realise there is to learn.

Caffeine is one of the most common ingredients in the fat burning supplements found in the market. For good reason, it increases the thermogenesis (burning energy for heat) ability in the body, resulting in more calories being burnt at rest and during exercise. Also, it is a stimulant which improves focus when you are tired or on a calorie deficit diet.

Having said that anything consumed in excess comes with a price. So, too much caffeine can force the body to release a stress hormone called cortisol. It is a hormone you want as little as possible of in your body as it is responsible for breaking down muscle as fuel and blunting muscle re-synthesis and hypertrophy.

Also, caffeine can be very addictive to a point of getting severe lethargy, headache and depression when not getting a steady dose of it daily.

So, in order to enjoy only the benefits of caffeine, I would recommend no more than 300mg caffeine per day, or two to three cups of coffee depending on the content of caffeine it has.

Best time to consume would be once in the morning if you need a jolt to start your day. The other time would be 30 minutes prior to your weight training sessions for heightened focus and performance.

For fat burning purposes, I would recommend caffeine or coffee on an empty stomach 30 minutes before fat burning cardio.

Tshering Dorji (three times Mr Bhutan winner), is a certified fitness trainer and specialist in performance nutrition


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