There are numerous studies demonstrating that coffee is a potent ergogenic. It can increase fat burning during training, heighten motivation, and improve work capacity.
However, if you drink it post-workout, you will delay recovery and elevate the stress hormone cortisol just when you need to clear it.
Exercising naturally elevates cortisol. If you are training hard enough to trigger an adaptive response then your are exposing the body to an acute bout of stress. After exercise you want to do everything you can to help the body metabolise that cortisol so that you get rid of all the metabolic byproducts of training. If cortisol remains high, waste won’t be removed, tissue won’t be rebuilt as quickly, recovery will be delayed, and you’ll feel fatigued for longer.
Caffeine has been shown to elevate cortisol, and at the least, its presence in the body will slow the metabolism of cortisol. To avoid this and get the best training results, use the following nutrition and fuelling strategies:
1. Drink coffee pre-workout for better focus and work capacity
One study showed that when sleep-deprived trainees ingested caffeine pre-workout, they worked just as hard as well-rested subjects, whereas sleep-deprived folks who didn’t drink caffeine chose to lift lighter weights and performed less work.
Drinking caffeinated coffee pre-workout will improve fat loss by mobilising fatty acids to be burned for fuel during exercise.
Clear excess caffeine and cortisol post-workout by taking 2 grams of vitamin C (you might require more than this but titrate slowly upwards in dose)—this nutrient is well proven to help metabolise both.
2. After exercise Green Tea is a far better choice
Green tea contains numerous antioxidants that can accelerate recovery and it has not been found to elevate cortisol to the same extent as coffee, this may be due to the l-theanine present in the tea which exerts a calming effect on the body.
UP Marbella Personal Trainer, Shaun Estrago