Let’s get something clear about caffiene in pre-workout, the reason so many people love pre-workout supplements is because of caffeine. It’s the rock-solid foundation upon which 99.9% of all great pre-workouts are built (the other 0.1% is for those rare exceptional stimulant free pre-workouts).
Caffeine can be found far and wide these days. It’s not only found in coffee, tea, and chocolate, but supplement companies and food manufacturers have now put it in candy bars, peanut butter, and whey protein shakes too!
Most of you know that caffeine is a godsend when you’re struggling to shake off the cobwebs and keep your eyes open. But, how does it give that unmistakable boost in energy and focus
First and foremost, caffeine acts as an adenosine receptor antagonist, meaning that caffeine more or less “blocks” the slot on receptors where adenosine could dock.
Why is this important?
Adenosine is purine nucleoside that binds or “docks” to adenosine receptors in the brain. In doing so, adenosine causes a reduction in nerve cell activity, resulting in feelings of fatigue and tiredness.
Since caffeine has the extremely rare ability to easily cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), it can “elbow out” adenosine, leading to greater energy and alertness.
Now, the second reason caffeine is awesome has to do with its effects on dopamine levels. You see, a nice “side effect” of adenosine receptor antagonism is that your dopamine system works more efficiently.
In case you weren’t aware, dopamine is the neurotransmitters that has a massive impact on motivation, decision-making, and mood. It also affects movement and memory too!
Research notes that caffeine causes a significant increase in dopamine production, and with greater dopamine levels, you get the enhanced motivation, determination and focus to crush your workout.
In addition to increased energy and motivation, caffeine also exerts some unique effects on exercise performance too. Research has shown it up-regulates fatty acid oxidation (a.k.a. “fat burning”), which may spare glycogen stores for the more intense work in your training. It also helps reduces neuromuscular fatigue, improves stamina, and at certain doses (400-600mg) boosts strength.[2,3]
When you take all of those benefits into account, it’s no wonder why caffeine is the pre-workout stimulant.
Effective dose: 3-6mg/kg of bodyweight