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Can caffeine boost early morning strength training?

Every week there seems to be a new article published promising the next best nutrition strategy to boost performance or a quick-fix solution to losing weight. Deciphering exactly which pieces of research you should invest your time in following can be a total mind-field, even for the most educated or experienced amongst us. One recent study that used well-controlled subjects and showed some unique and promising results was by Mora-Rodriquez and colleagues at the University of Castilla in Spain.

Mora-Rodriquez and colleagues demonstrated that caffeine ingestion could reverse the morning decline in neuromuscular performance in comparison to afternoon performance. So what does this mean for you and me?

Neuromuscular performance varies throughout the day due to the circadian rhythm pattern. The circadian rhythm is the natural variation of physiological processes over a 24-hour period. If you hit the gym for some weight training before work in the morning, your performance may not be as good as if you went in the evening due to your natural physiological ability to produce force. However, just 3 mg per kg body mass of caffeine may be sufficient to boost performance and reverse the early morning effects of neuromuscular performance. For a 90 kg individual this equates to around 3 shots of expresso or a Grande coffee from Starbucks!

If you are reliant on training first thing in the morning, you may want to try drinking a couple of cups of strong coffee around 45 minutes before your session to help boost your training performance.