Workout: Complete as many rounds as possible in 30 minutes of:
25 Dumbbell Thrusters (35, 20)
400m Farmers carry (35, 20)
Coffee & Kilos — The Athletic Benefits Of Caffeine
As many of you may already know, we keep a Nespresso machine in our den area at the gym. We keep an assortment of flavors on hand that are as varied and intense as our programming. So for all you caffeine connoisseurs out there, keep an eye out for a new flavor we’ll be receiving soon – a limited edition three-year old (2014) 100% Arabica bean, sourced from the Columbian Highlands. And why pray-tell would we be sharing this with you? Well because Seattle is essentially the coffee capital of the world… and the coffee in question is really that damn good! It’s also worth noting that caffeine has been shown to improve upon athletic performance, while also helping speed recovery. And while this may in fact be somewhat common knowledge, a lesser known fact is ‘how’ exactly caffeine works in the first place.
Throughout the day, neurons are firing in your body, which leads to the build-up of a neuro-chemical called adenosine (a neuro-modulator that plays a role in promoting sleep and suppressing arousal). As such, your nervous system uses special receptors to monitor your body’s adenosine levels. As the day wears on, more and more adenosine passes through those receptors — and it makes you sleepy. It’s one of the reasons you get tired at night. Caffeine is believed to work by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain. This reduces the ability of adenosine to bind to the receptors, thus helping to keep you from getting tired.
But that’s not where coffee’s kick comes from. Adenosine has a calming effect because it slows the activity of nerve cells, whereas caffeine speeds up the activity of cells. Nerve cells that are stimulated by caffeine release the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline), which increases heart rate, blood pressure, and blood flow to muscles, decreases blood flow to the skin and organs, and causes the liver to release glucose.
Glucose (a type of sugar in the body) is the principal fuel for muscles, and exhaustion occurs when it is in short supply. A secondary fuel however, which is much more abundantly found in the body, is stored fat. As long as there is still glucose available, working muscles can utilize fat as energy instead. This delays the depletion of glucose and allows for a prolongation of exercise. Blood glucose is therefore held in reserve, and is made available for use as energy during the later stages of exercise, thus increasing endurance levels and delaying the onset of fatigue. In addition, because caffeine promotes the use of stored fat for energy rather than glucose, you’ll also benefit from increased fat burning (Win! Win!).
Caffeine has also been shown to reduce muscle soreness. Remember how caffeine blocks adenosine receptors, which helps us to feel more energized? Well, as it turns out, adenosine is also released by the body in response to inflammation, such as the type that occurs in our muscles after a grueling workout (which is to say the likely reason why you feel so tired on days when you are most sore). So if caffeine is acting to block adenosine, then not only are we going to feel more alert, we’re going to feel less sore on rest days, too!