Human Performance Tip: The benefits of drinking coffee

We’re beginning a mini-series on human performance tips. To start we’re going to cover the benefits of that ever so important morning cup of coffee.

Believe it or not, coffee does provide some health benefits. It seems like every year we hear differing opinions of how coffee is good for you, only to hear the following year that it is bad for you. With regards to human performance and longevity, coffee does have benefits. I don’t prescribe to any one person’s views when it comes to health and fitness. I prefer to educate myself from several views and come up with what works for me.

Growing up I still remember the smell of coffee early in the mornings when my mom was getting ready. I always thought it smelled good, but always thought the taste was horrible. Fast forward several years to when I joined the Marine Corps. When you reach a certain level of being cold, you grab whatever you can to warm up your core. In the field, that was the small packet of instant coffee that came in our MREs. From that point forward I was a coffee drinker.

To this day I have a cup or two every morning. Just black. When I frequent my local coffee shop, I prefer the Red Eye. As long as you’re not adding unhealthy amounts of creamer, flavors or sugar, you’ll reap the health benefits of drinking that cup of coffee. So what are these health benefits I’m referring to and how does that tie into human performance?

Drinking that cup of coffee in the mornings has the potential to reduce the risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even Parkinson’s disease. Having seen what Parkinson’s did to my dad before he passed, that in itself is a motivator for me.

Coffee can also improve fitness endurance. Two studies were done in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. One covered the effects of pre-exercise coffee on athletes endurance. The second covers how coffee enhances 1-mile race performance. The authors of these studies concluded that between 3 and 7 milligrams of caffeine (in the form of coffee) per kilogram of body weight increased the athlete’s endurance by an average of 24 percent.

Coffee is also a part of the breakfast regimen for Australia’s pro cycling team during the Tour de France race. Traveling Chef, Hannah Grant is responsible for their nutrition and keeping the team fueled for peak performance. In the documentary Eat Race Win, Grant speaks on the importance of the team drinking coffee prior to the race start each morning. The caffeine gives the athletes an energy boost and cognitive boost, which is critical at the beginning of the race.

Next up in our human performance series is hydration.

Sources:

  1. Becoming Ageless by Strauss Zelnick
  2. Whoop Podcast
  3. Eat Race Win documentary on Amazon Prime
  4. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism

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