Coffee and cycling: what are the benefits?
Researchers from the University of Granada recently published a study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition that focused on the effect of caffeine on fat burning during exercise. Coffee is widely used as a legal performance enhancing supplement, and this study adds to the list of evidence proving its benefits.
Coffee or an empty stomach?
It is very commonly recommended to go cycling in the morning on an empty stomach to increase fat burning.
But the lead author of this new study says this: “The recommendation to exercise on an empty stomach in the morning to increase fat oxidation is commonplace. However, this recommendation may be lacking a scientific basis, as it is unknown whether this increase is due to exercising in the morning or due to going without food for a longer period of time.”
That’s why participants in this study ingested caffeine (3 mg per 1 kg of body weight) or placebo at two different times, 8:00 in the morning and 17:00 in the afternoon. They completed an exercise test after the ingestion, and their fat burning rate was compared. Variables such as time from the last meal, other physical exercise, and consumptions of other stimulants were all tightly controlled to avoid distortions.
Conclusions in favour of caffeine
The study concludes that having a coffee before exercise makes you burn more fat than you would have without that coffee.
“The results of our study showed that acute caffeine ingestion 30 minutes before performing an aerobic exercise test increased maximum fat oxidation during exercise regardless of the time of day,” explained Francisco J. Amaro.
You burn more fat in the afternoon
The study revealed one more interesting fact. The participants burned more fat during the afternoon exercise with caffeine than during the morning exercise with caffeine. In fact, the increase in fat oxidation during morning exercise with caffeine was similar to that observed without caffeine intake in the afternoon. So, if you want to optimize your burning, do the following. Take 3 mg of caffeine per 1 kg of your body weight (one strong coffee) 30 minutes before going for a ride in the afternoon.