I heard drinking coffee before cardio helps burn more body fat. Is that true?
It would be nice if there was a shortcut to ramping up your body’s fat-burning powers. Unfortunately, there isn’t. And caffeine, no matter when you drink it, will not stoke your metabolism. In fact, if you drink a caffeinated beverage too close to a workout you could be putting yourself in danger.
Caffeine increases the rate at which nerves fire in your brain, helping you feel more awake. It also stimulates your body’s “fight or flight” system, which helps you cope with stressful situations by pumping adrenaline to your muscles.
If you’re constantly drinking caffeine, your body is always in this super-adrenaline rushed state, which increases your heart rate and blood pressure. If either level is running too high — because of your caffeine intake — you could end up pushing yourself too hard during a workout, which could lead to a heart attack.
Caffeine is also a diuretic — meaning it dilutes your muscles of vital nutrients that are needed for them to perform properly. Dehydrated muscles are more injury prone.
While, yes, caffeine can temporarily open your airways — increasing your oxygen uptake, blood flow and energy levels — it’s definitely not the way to set your body up for exercise or fat loss.
Here’s what you should be doing instead.
Strong muscles help your body burn more calories — research suggests one pound of muscle will burn six to 10 more calories than a pound of fat. So lift weights two to three times per week.
A strong heart helps your body perform all of the tasks it needs to do on a daily basis and stokes your metabolic fire. It also helps burn fat. Aim to do two to three cardiovascular workouts a week for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
Mind and Body
Stretching and meditation help to align your body and to balance your hormones. This helps you feel less stressed, more awake (without having to use caffeine) and more confident about your day. Try yoga (or some other relaxing activity) once a week.
Whenever you eat or drink, you have the opportunity to change and improve your health. Fresh whole foods and water are the ingredients to internal and organ bliss. When your body receives the nutrients it needs, it will be less apt to store excess fat and will, instead, start ridding itself of waste more efficiently.
Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule. A rested body will be able to meet your daily demands and will be far more efficient at burning calories and torching fat than it would be in a stressful situation.
Sarah Brown is a very healthy woman. She’s a fitness instructor at GoodLife — where she teaches Body Pump, Body Flow, Cycling, Bootcamp and yoga — and a registered holistic nutritionist.