A green light for the hot, smooth, dark, freshly roasted coffee you’ve been craving all morning? Fancy a cuppa? Go ahead, the nerd is sanctioning caffeine.
During the month of January there’s a lot of nutrition noise around cutting foods out, making changes to your diet. Well how about just focussing on what you’re doing already and feeling good about it.
I love tea. I love coffee. I love caffeine. Four years of post-kids cumulative sleep deficit combined with an increasingly hectic work schedule, not to mention moving with my family 6 times through 3 continents in the past 5 years has pretty much sealed this relationship. I love caffeine and caffeine loves me. It dusts out the cobwebs, it lets me see brighter and it makes me run faster.
So what’s the science, nerd? Caffeine has long been embraced by athletes to enhance sporting performance. Caffeine spares glycogen stores. Once a banned substance it was removed from the prohibited list for professional athletes in 2004. Robust scientific studies involving meta-analysis have shown improvements in endurance activity and capacity as well as reduced perceived effort when exercising after taking caffeine at the dose of 3mg/kg body weight 1hr pre-exercise. For an average 70kg person this equates to 200mg which is not a huge amount. You can get this via:
- One mug of home brewed coffee
- Two shots of espresso (and therefore one latte/ flat white)
- Two mugs of tea
- Four mugs of green tea (or 800ml)
There are side-effects if too much caffeine is consumed: headaches, anxiety, heart palpitations and insomnia are warning signs you’re overdoing it. The Mayo Clinic recommends capping caffeine intake at 100mg/d for adolescents, 200mg/d for pregnant women, and 500mg/d for the general population. So for most of us 5 cups of tea or coffee is the limit.
Remember some people are ‘responders’ to caffeine, and others ‘non-responders’. This explains my husbands ability to knock back a double espresso after eating out and then fall straight asleep. You don’t know if you don’t try, so have a go at dosing yourself up with some green tea and dark chocolate before your next work-out, and see how you feel.
I use green tea for the extra anti-oxidants. For an optimal caffeine hit I drink 250ml of my green tea as a hot drink, then add ice and lemon to the remaining 250ml and sip from my drinks bottle pre-workout. All to be enjoyed with a few squares of good quality dark choccie to provide 200mg caffeine – remember the higher the cocoa content the greater the caffeine content. Enjoy!
- 500ml boiled water
- 1 green tea bag
- 1 slice lemon
- handful of ice cubes
- 3 cubes 80% cocoa dark chocolate
- Brew the green tea bag with 500ml water in a jug
- Pour half into a mug
- Pour half into a drinks bottle and add a handfull of icecubes and a slice of lemon for your iced tea
- Enjoy with chocolate
- Now go and WORK OUT!