How Stimulants (caffeine, pre-workout, energy drink, etc) Can Take Your Training To The Next Level

Posted: Thursday, 10 May 2012 by Strength&Nutrition24/7 in Labels: , , ,

After looking at the health risks of using stimulants let us consider how to use them appropriately. I believe it always preferable to understand the risks in order to avoid going overboard when you hear the possible benefits. In case you missed the last post here is the link 

Do not abuse?
As Kelly Baggett wisely said “Low grade stimulants like caffeine can give you an extra boost if used intermittently and judiciously.” When selecting the stimulant to use, there are a few considerations:

  • Select one that does not make you feel jittery 
  • Avoid ones that contain significant amounts of sugar
  • Consider additional benefits associated with the stimulant
  • Side effects of the stimulant 

What they do
Stimulants have the capability of increasing your stimulatory neurochemicals such as non-adrenaline, which can produce greater muscle recruitment and rate coding. I cannot emphasize this enough. All these stimulants will not be effective if you use it all the time (as most people do with their pre-workout supplements). For the stimulants to be truly effective, one needs to “cleanse” their system for several days. The general recommendation is to avoid any and all sources of stimulants for 3 to 4 days- this includes all disguised and common forms:

  • Guarana 
  • No explode
  • Red bull
  • Energy drinks
  • Coffee 
  • Tea
  • Pop

Why should I cleanse my body of caffeine?
With all stimulants, the more you use them the greater your tolerance.

Arousal level

With every sport and activity there is an optimal level of arousal.
Low arousal sports:

  • Golf
  • Curling

Medium arousal:

  • Quarter back for football
  • Soccer
  • Goalie for hockey 

High arousal:

  • Boxing
  • Weight training 
  • Running back 
  • Forward in rugby 

Understanding the arousal level of your sport and position is key. Taking stimulants and over exciting your self can have a detrimental effect on your performance. With the sport itself, it generally creates this level of arousal using stimulants commonly put an athlete over the top. Further, many people will become psychologically dependent upon them, if this occurs you run into the issue of having a big game and being unable to use them and your performance suffers greatly.

What is the deal with pre-workout supplements?
One of the most popular items in the supplement industry next to protein is the pre- workout supplements. As always, constant use equals adaption, dependence, and tolerance. When considering athletes, many of the pre-workout supplements contain banned substances in them (for list of approved supplements). These supplements are generally over priced! Since, they are generally just a combination of protein, carbs, and caffeine.

Stimulants and their ability to aid in fat burning:
Yes, stimulants have the ability to assist in fat burning. In fact, long distant runners often have caffeine prior to competition due to its ability to increase fat mobilisation which they need as an energy source. The stimulants will aid in recruiting a greater amount of fat for energy. This being said, proper nutrition and training should be put as priority before incorporating fat burners and other stimulants. If in need of help, I recommend (precision nutrition) or feel free to ask as many questions VIA the comment section below.

How much and when?
Please do not skip to this section, there is a lot of important information in the previous sections. In case you have skipped to here I will layout the key items:

  • Do not use stimulants regularly 
  • Avoid any form of stimulant for 3-4 days in order to get full benefits
  • Optimal arousal level is important 
  • Take stimulants 

Kelly Baggett recommends the following 200 mg of caffeine about 45 minutes to an hour before you really want to set a PR type performance. You can either take a caffeine pill (no-doz or generic caffeine), drink a big cup of strong coffee, take in a big mountain dew, or use one of the common "energy" drinks on the market like Red Bull or NO Explode. You'll definitely feel it. You can also add in natural stimulants like l-tyrosine (3000 mg is the common dosage) or acetyl-l-carnitine, (1500 mg) but honestly, with a good dose of caffeine on dormant receptors those things aren't gonna add much in the way of noticeable effects.

Personally I would recommend using green tea for added benefit beyond just the stimulation.

Note: Stimulants can cause dehydration... just a 2% reduction in hydration can have a dramatic effect on your performance.

If you are interested in Kelly Baggett please refer to the site here


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