A study confirms that drinking strong coffee half an hour before a workout promotes oxygenation and fat burning during exercise. These results are published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
For many years, several studies have looked at this famous psychotropic natural molecule that we call caffeine. Present in high doses in coffee, it is known to stimulate cognitive performance, maintain alertness and increase memorization performance. Drink coffee regularly decrease the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common liver cancer, but would also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Finally, for several years, caffeine has been also renowned for its virtues for athletes. But is this really the case? In a study, researchers at the University of Granada tried to find out this ergogenic substance could actually promote the oxidation or “burning” of lipids during exercise.
A strong coffee 30 minutes before the effort
For this study, the researchers recruited fifteen men (average age: 32) who they asked to carry out four stress tests seven days apart. Tests were carried out in the morning at 8 a.m. and in the afternoon at 5 p.m. Part of the group ingested 3 mg / kg of caffeine before exercise (a strong coffee), while the others took a placebo. Note that each subject completed the tests under all four conditions (8h with or without caffeine and 17 with or without caffeine) in random order.
The prerequisites for each stress test (hours elapsed since the last meal, physical exercise or consumption of stimulating substances) have been standardized. Also, fat oxidation during exercise was calculated accordingly.
Focus on afternoon sessions
The results showed that “ingesting caffeine thirty minutes before doing aerobic exercise increased lipid oxidation, regardless of the time of day“, Concludes Francisco J. Amaro, lead author of the study. He notes, however, that this phenomenon is more important when physical exercise is practiced in the late afternoon.
For the researchers, people should therefore prefer a session in the afternoon while drinking a coffee half an hour before. The results of this study indeed suggest that the combination of caffeine intake and aerobic exercise performed at moderate intensity in the afternoon provides the optimal scenario for people wishing increase fat burning during exercise.
Note, however, that this study was only carried out on a small sample of participants. In addition, all of these participants were men. It is also recalled that coffee has the effect of reducing blood flow to the heart. However, it is precisely when you play sports that the heart needs to be the most efficient. This is why it is important to do not take it just before a session.