The Key To A More Focused Practice: Caffeine

Editor’s Note: This article is not intended as medical advice, rather it is a summary of research. Please consult with your physician before beginning any new diet, physical regimen, or other health routine to make sure that it is safe for you.

Many swimmers struggle with staying focused and staying concentrated during swim practice. This is one of the reasons why coaches get frustrated with their athletes, but who can blame the swimmers? So many things are going on that it can be hard for them to stay focused. Not to worry, there is a simple solution: caffeine!

Caffeine has had a bad reputation for sometime now. But what people overlook is the positive effects it can have, how it can help you get through practice, and how help your overall performance in the water. The health benefits of caffeine are wide and it’s role in fitness is just starting to get notice.

Caffeine is actually called 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine. It provides Vitamin B to help produce energy, Vitamin B5 to help the body use fats and proteins, and Manganese which helps control blood sugar. It also contains Magnesium which help keep blood pressure even, Potassium which is essential to your heart and kidneys, and Niacin that can help cholesterol levels.

Coffee provides a boost to the brain by temporarily increasing focus and concentration. This can lead to increased learning. It can also help with fitness for those who work out. There are many risks associated with taking pre workout and fat burners, but those who are looking for a more natural way to have a burst of energy can drink a shot of espresso or just have a coffee for a natural boost. Caffeine can increase stamina during practice and can increase adrenaline which can lead to a better practice.

As well as increasing energy, studies have shown how caffeine can increase the fat burning in the body. Along with increased fat burning, it can break down fat as well. Plus, the effects of caffeine can last up to 6 hours after ingestion which means these fat burning benefits last a while. After a hard swim practice, caffeine has been shown to decrease post work out pain by up to 48% in athletes.

Sometimes though, powdered caffeine, which comes from the coffee bean, can be added to many other products, including fat burners and pre-work out drinks. While thats okay, most of these products contain many other ingredients that are unhealthy. That’s why turning to coffee can be the more safe and natural way to get the benefits the athletes want.

The daily recommended limit of coffee is about 4.7 cups of drip coffee which equals about 400mg of caffeine. Anything over that limit could interfere with sleep patterns or give the drinker a jittery feeling. So be carful about the consumption of coffee because too much will only make you frantic, not focused. So next time you drink your cup of joe just remember all the good things it’s doing for your body and what it will do for your practice. When thinking about energy for work outs always look for a more natural solution like straight black coffee to get you through. And, when you can, buy organic or drink organic coffee. Delicious and beneficial, this drink makes it to the top of our fitness drink list.

References:

  1. Morelli, Michael, Jr. “The Truth About Caffeine.” N.p., 28 Sept. 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.
  2. Gunnars, Kris. “13 Proven Health Benefits of Coffee (No. 1 Is My Favorite).” RSS 20. N.p., 25 Nov. 2013. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.
  3. Smith, A. P., P. Brockman, R. Flynn, A. Maben, and M. Thomas. “Investigation of the Effects of Coffee on Alertness and Performance during the Day and Night.” Health Psychology Research Unit, School of Psychology, University of Wales College of Cardiff, UK, 1993. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.
  4. Acheson, Kevin J., Gérard Gremaud, Isabelle Meirim, Franck Montigon, Yves Krebs, Laurent B. Fay, Louis-Jean Gay, Philippe Schneiter, Charles Schindler, and Luc Tappy. “Metabolic Effects of Caffeine in Humans: Lipid Oxidation or Futile Cycling?” Metabolic Effects of Caffeine in Humans: Lipid Oxidation or Futile Cycling? N.p., Sept. 2015. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.
  5. Doherty, M., and P. M. Smith. “Effects of Caffeine Ingestion on Rating of Perceived Exertion during and after Exercise: A Meta-analysis.” – Doherty. N.p., Apr. 2005. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.

14
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of
14 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mikeh
5 years ago

I fear the last thing young athletes need is more caffeine.

Jim
5 years ago

Thank you for this article. Most people will bash you for it but supplementation can be a great thing when done responsibly. There is just such a negative stigma about it that as soon as you mention something people assume you are doing something wrong. I think this article is great!

Phil Jackson
5 years ago

Just horrible. There is always pros and cons to everything but for serious athletes the risks of caffeine before workouts far outweigh the slight benefits. Its ok for average ppl to take before their workouts to burn more fat and stay energized. But for athletes who are constantly challenging their heart rate max it is a very risky thing too do. And coffee does not give you more stamina, it hides fatigue which can lead to overtraining and injury.

Jim
Reply to  Phil Jackson
5 years ago

Curios if you actually researched that on your own or just said it? It hinders physical performance in VERY high dosages do to constriction of blood vessels. The author recommend 1 cup of coffee this is not going to skyrocket an average athletes heart rate. A small amount of caffeine can be great for things like morning practice, 1 cup will not turn somebody into superman and lead themselves to “over training.” It is not the stimulant you are hyping it up to be with a single cup dose or even a few in all honesty.

coacherik
5 years ago

You might want to put a HUGE DISCLAIMER in your article stating that caffeine should not be recommended for any youth or adolescent athletes. All supplementation information I have read, including a back and worth with G. John Mullen directs caffeine use to post pubescent athletes. The KIDS many of us coach should not be supplementing with caffeine. Period.

Admin
Reply to  coacherik
5 years ago

erik – we agree. Young children shouldn’t be using supplements in our opinion, both for the physical effects, and the emotional effects of convincing a young child that their performance at that age is important enough to take a supplement. However, a huge portion of our audience is in the age range where supplements can be safe. As we mentioned at the top, nobody should do anything without consulting with their physician, in our opinion. My swimmers don’t take any supplements without a note from their doctor or licensed nutritionist (or both) – it’s my policy, and a good one for all coaches to follow, I think.

coacherik
5 years ago

*G. John Mullen of swimmingscience.net

Phil Jackson
5 years ago

Nope just speaking out of my ass. I never taught health. Never in the process of finsihing a masters degree in exercise science. Never tested a nationally ranked cross country team in a science lab on the adverse effects of different supplements on aerobic athletes. Dam thank god I didnt waste all that time and money.

Jim
Reply to  Phil Jackson
5 years ago

Then you should retest your research because there is an overflow of other studies that disagree with you.

Phil Jackson
Reply to  Jim
5 years ago

There are even more studies and textbooks warning against the risks. As I said in my original comment, there are benefits and risks. As a coach all it takes is for one of those risks to become real and your career is over. Most heart conditions in athletes are not found until they have a serious episode in practice and caffeine does adds to that risk. There has also been a link between cardiac arrest during or shortly after exercise and stimulants (including caffeine) found in their system. I drink a cup of coffee in the morning before I work out. But as a coach who has been around competitive athletes my entire life I would never tell my team… Read more »

Pete
5 years ago

I’ve been taking a 200 mg caffeine pill before swim practice intermittently for over a year. I’m a masters swimmer, 41, and not a doctor. It provides me with noticeable benefit. I train via USRPT and write down in a daily log book my performance. For my RP swims, I would say that it improves the total reps I can handle at RP by 10-25%.

BaldingEagle
5 years ago

I hope that someone advises coaches to allow more potty breaks if their swimmers are taking caffeine in the form of supplements or drinks.

About Emilee White

Emilee White

My name is Emilee White and I grew up in Canyon Lake, California. I began swimming at the age of 13 in age group, but with my background of dance, swimming came naturally to me and I excelled in the sport. I swam all four years on my high school …

Read More »