If you must get to the jobsite extra early, you may have relied on a good ol’ cuppa joe to get you through the morning awake. But you may not have realized that caffeine does more than just help you wake up and be alert. Caffeine can help you focus and physically perform better, as well as helping you manage drowsiness and headaches. Be aware, however, that it is still technically an addictive drug, and has some drawbacks if you don’t consume it wisely. Here are some of the effects and ways to best enjoy your cup of coffee – or tea, energy drinks, chocolate, etc. – whenever you need that boost of energy:
Drink to Enhance Endurance
Research data shows that caffeine will temporarily improve your alertness and physical endurance. This is partly because caffeine reduces your perception of effort during an aerobic movement, allowing you to perform longer without tiring. It also blocks a receptor in the brain that controls the feeling of sleepiness and fatigue!
Drink to Boost Strength
There is some minimal evidence that it will also enhance strength or power – so it may also help you lift heavier materials when on the job. Some experts believe that’s because caffeine makes your muscle fibers contract more strongly when they get a signal from the nervous system. Stronger contractions mean that you can lift more weight or run faster. It also elevates testosterone levels temporarily, which can also increase your strength and other anaerobic activities.
Drink an Hour in Advance
Caffeine reaches its peak level in your blood about an hour after you consume it, so plan accordingly for it to hit when you really need it. The good news is that it stays in your system, and about half of it will still be there even 6 hours after you consume it.
Drink the Right Dose
A cup of coffee has about 140mg of caffeine, while a can of Red Bull has about 80mg. The research shows that you need 200-600mg in order to get that improvement in performance, which is at least 2-3 cups of most forms. But you don’t want to go too crazy, it can be extremely harsh on your stomach and gastrointestinal system, which you don’t need in the middle of the workday.
Drink with Food and Water
Caffeine can also be dehydrating and make you jittery as well – especially when consumed without food and water. A great rule of thumb is to enjoy a cup of water with every cup of coffee. You should also avoid it if you’re having difficulty sleeping, have high blood pressure, or have ulcers.
Don’t Drink Daily
Because it’s addictive, headaches and irritability are common withdrawal symptoms if you stop consuming it suddenly. Plus, your body is going to build up a tolerance to it, so you’d need to keep increasing the amount to feel the effects. This is why some experts suggest that you schedule a cycle where you periodically cut back and then abstain all together to ‘detox’ your system. In his book Caffeinated, Murray Carpenter talks about athletes who primarily only consume caffeine before a big competition or game – that way they know they’ll get the best benefits from the stimulant at just the right time.
Overall, you should experiment to see how much you need to get results, and the effects on if you have too much. Do whatever works for your body and lifestyle – it’s not going to be the same for everyone! And if you’re looking for a new job that fits your body and lifestyle too, check out the latest job openings today at IamMadden.com! We help craftsmen like you find a position that matches your talents, skills, and career goals.