CAFE2U BLOG

Run Faster With Caffeine

Friday, June 05, 2015

Are you a runner or endurance athlete looking to shave a few seconds - or maybe more – off your personal best time?


Well, aside from consistently chalking up the mileage, we have a novel solution which could help you improve performance… coffee!


Yes, drinking coffee can actually help you run faster, according to the latest research.   


Although it used to (wrongly) be a restricted substance for athletes and thought to cause hydration, the caffeine present in coffee, in addition to improving focus and alertness, has an abundance of hidden athletic benefits.


So much so, that some of the world’s top athletes rely on a cup of coffee prior to competing.


Mo Farrah, for example, hero of the London 2012 Olympics and distance running genius, said in his recently published autobiography, Twin Ambitions, that:


"Twenty minutes before a race I’ll normally drink some coffee. As I walk onto the stadium track, I feel this massive caffeine high.”  


Mo-Farah-celebrates-winni-008.jpg


However, caffeine is not just used by top level athletes as a stimulant.


Research has shown that moderate amounts of caffeine can actually improve long-term endurance during distance events – especially in the mid to latter stages of a race.


Emma Barraclough, the senior sports nutritionist for Science in Sport, commented:


“Caffeine doesn’t provide any additional energy in itself but over a long period of time, such as a half marathon or above, it helps you maintain a work level.


“It allows Mo to keep pushing hard even when he’s starting to fatigue and his lactic levels are increasing.


“Typically, he’ll run at very close to his threshold pace for the majority of his shorter races, although that changes a little for the marathon.”


Barraclough goes on to say that if “you’re likely to be racing for many hours, it’s a good idea to try and drip-feed the caffeine.


“For example, rather than taking it all at once, you could swap one or two of your normal energy gels for caffeine ones for the last two hours.”


If you do choose to use caffeine in a race, the expert advice is to test drive your regime during training to find out what works for you.

That’s because both sensitivity to caffeine and the rate at which it is metabolised vary hugely between individuals.


A typical recommended dosing range is between 3mg and 5mg per kilo of body mass for endurance runners.


Over to you


Do you already drink coffee before undertaking any physical exercise?


Are you thinking of including it in your training regimen?


As always, please get in touch with us here at the Café2U Blog with your comments and questions – we love hearing what our readers have to say.

The Extinction of Arabica Coffee?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Like football, the Beatles and Morgan Freeman, coffee is one of those things that is universally adored the world over.


However, it seems, if researchers are to be believed, that we may be in danger of loving coffee a bit too much.


Extinction


According to recent findings, the world's most popular coffee, Arabica, is under threat.


Over the last 15 years, worldwide coffee consumption has skyrocketed, increasing by 43%.

As current statistics indicate, two billion cups of coffee are drunk around the world every single day and upwards of 25 million families rely on growing coffee for a living.


And now Arabica, a species of coffee which drives the industry and accounts for the majority of coffee grown worldwide, is under threat of extinction.


1.jpg


Arabica is a much more fragile plant than other species of coffee such as Robusta (mainly used for instant coffee) because it only tolerates very specific environmental conditions – for instance, it is especially sensitive to changes in temperature and rainfall.


This latest warning can be traced back to 2012, when a team of researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew, United Kingdom) revealed a bleak picture for wild coffee in Ethiopia, where Arabica originated.


A computer modelling exercise predicted that environmental changes would affect Arabica for the rest of the century, and that a number of locations where wild Arabica coffee grows could decrease by as much as 85% by 2080.


And the worst-case outcome was a 99.7% reduction!


At the time, Dr Aaron Davis, the head of the coffee research team at Kew, concluded:


"If we don't do anything now and over the next 20 years, by end of the century, wild Arabica in Ethiopia could be extinct - that's in the worst-case scenario."


The future


Over the last few years, the team at Kew, in conjunction with its partners, especially those in Ethiopia, have been working tirelessly to safeguard the existing indigenous population of wild Arabica.


The hope is that this concerted effort will provide the tools to ensure coffee's survival.


For example, moving production to higher ground - where it's cooler - might be part of the solution.


And, what’s more, some areas currently unsuitable for coffee growing may become suitable in the future.


"It's jeopardy and threat in some areas, but opportunity in others," says Davis.


You can read more about the work currently being undertaken by visiting:


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32736366


Over to you


What do you think about these recent warnings?


Can you imagine a world without any Arabica coffee?


As always, get in touch with us here at the Cafe2U Blog with your thoughts and opinions, we love hearing from our readers!


The Perfect Time To Drink Coffee

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Every morning, millions of us around the world - especially us here in the Cafe2U UK office - will wake up with one thing on our mind: coffee.


After a titanic struggle to get out of bed, we will begrudgingly make our way, groggy and zombie-like, to the kitchen, in search of a hit from our favourite pick-me-up to get the day started.


However, what if we told you that this was far from the best time of day to drink coffee?


1.jpg


Cortisol


This line of thinking comes from a hormone our body produces called cortisol, which you may have heard being referred to as the “stress hormone”.


(This is because it is secreted in very high levels during the body’s “fight or flight” response mechanism.)


Now – importantly for this article - this cortisol hormone is also related to your body’s alertness levels during the day.


Between 8am and 9am your body’s cortisol levels are at their peak – which is your body’s natural mechanism to wake you up.


And while you may think that drinking coffee during this period will aid this “waking up” process, scientists now believe that drinking coffee during peak cortisol production times diminishes the impact of caffeine and, furthermore, heightens your body’s tolerance to caffeine in the long run.


Meaning that further down the line your body will need even more caffeine to wake up and stay alert!


When should you drink coffee?


If you want to maximise the effect caffeine has on your body’s alertness levels, then, according to scientists, you should restrict coffee intake until after your body’s cortisol surge – so after 9am in this instance.


In addition, scientists have found that there are other times of the day when your body secretes a large amount of cortisol.


These are between 12am and 1pm and between 5:30pm and 6pm.


So, in conclusion, drinking coffee between these cortisol spikes is recommend if you want to make the most of that famous caffeine jolt.   


But…


At this point in the article, you may be asking:


“Well, what if I wake up at 5am or 6am? Am I OK to have a coffee straight away in that case?”


Well, not exactly.


Scientists pinpoint how cortisol levels increase approximately 50% an hour after you wake up, regardless of the time of day.


So, whatever time of day you rise, whether that be in the ungodly hours of the morning or around noon, just wait an hour before indulging in that cup of Joe!