For many people, caffeine is a part of their daily lives. Ninety percent of the U.S. population uses caffeine at some point in their day. It might be coffee, soda, or in supplement form, but 9 out of 10 Americans enjoy its benefits each day. Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant which adds alertness and energy to the day of its users.
Endurance athletes of all sports and backgrounds are well aware of the benefits of caffeine when training or engaging in sporting events. Caffeine has been proven in studies to improve the lung capacity and exercise endurance in long-distance athletes. Bodybuilders are well aware of the powers of caffeine. In the off-season, many trainers will take caffeine, or a supplement containing caffeine, to deliver some much-needed intensity in the gym and improve the quality of their workout. Caffeine allows bodybuilders to train harder and longer, and have that extra energy in the tank they would not normally have otherwise. In the pre-contest phase, they will combine caffeine with ephedrine and aspirin for an ECA stack, which delivers thermogenic effects and leads to higher energy, suppressed energy, and lower body fat. 200 mg of caffeine, 250 mg aspirin, and 25 mg ephedrine is a highly popular, highly effective stack for shedding body fat.
Caffeine does exhibit a slight constriction effect in new users who attempt to take too much, too soon. Reduced blood flow to the heart and organs can lead to chest pains. These are usually a bit painful and alarming, but not a serious cause for concern. Start slow with caffeine, perhaps even utilizing half-doses in the beginning to become accustomed to its use.
When beginning a caffeine regimen, treat it like any other supplement. Don’t just pound down four cans of Mountain Dew and hit the gym. Instead, take a 200 mg yellow caffeine pill and hit the gym. Use caffeine four days per week, for example, 15 minutes before the start of your workout. This will allow it to ‘kick in’ as the tough part of the workout arrives, 15 to 30 minutes in.
Work hard not to become addicted to caffeine. Take it only 5 days per week, always giving the body time to adjust to it being absent each week. People who become addicted to caffeine quickly learn that once the body is used to it, they need caffeine just to function minimally. This is not a good spot to be in. Rather, use caffeine sparingly when a boost is needed in off-season training or pre-contest dieting.