CAFFEINE - IT'S NOT ALL CREATED EQUAL.
You're a caffeine junky? Yeah, not too many of us aren't these days. Not to feel bad though, caffeine can have some great health and fitness benefits when used correctly.
Along with the typical focus and energy we expect to see from caffeine, there has also been a proven thermogenic response that can result in weight loss when combined with a low calorie and exercise regimen (case 1, click "read more" below). So if you haven't been using caffeine prior to a workout, now might be a good time for you to start. However, before you just go grab one of the cheapest or delicious sounding pre-workouts you can find, let us tell you a little more about the types of caffeine.
If the label says caffeine, who cares where it came from - right? WRONG! If you are interested in improving your health and physical shape then you should go ahead and change that mindset now. Caffeine is derived from different sources, and that makes a difference in how your body responds to it. The types of caffeine most commonly used in the fitness industry are:
- Synthetic Caffeine (Caffeine Anhydrous) - Created in a lab by humans. Not too big of deal until you start looking at the details. This type of caffeine is absorbed by the body at a much more rapid rate than plant based caffeine. Sounds exciting, right? Until you start thinking about the jitters that it can lead to, along with the dreaded crash. How much good are you going to be if you crash midway through the workout? Good luck with that. If your supplement label just has caffeine listed as "Caffeine" it's a pretty good bet that means it is synthetic. Why do companies use synthetic so often? It's cheaper!
- Plant Derived Caffeine (including coffee) - This source of caffeine is absorbed by the body at a slower rate than synthetic. Meaning you can look forward to avoiding nausea, headaches, jitters and crash. The feeling will be a much smoother energy level that is sustained over a longer period of time, eventually wearing off at a slower rate as well. No crashing? Thank god. A lot of companies choose not to use plant derived caffeine because the cost is so much higher. This means higher cost for them with less profit - since most people don't recognize the difference. However, we have chosen to stick with organic green coffee bean extract as our source of caffeine. We don't want to put ingredients in our products that we don't fully believe it, caffeine being no exclusion.
Ok, so what does this really mean for you? It depends. There are a few things to keep in mind when searching for that perfect Pre-Workout, or Energy Booster.
- If your goal is just the cheapest thing possible to get the job done then you may not have any interest in looking for plant derived caffeine. This lies in the whole "get what you pay for" rule.
- Are you caffeine sensitive? If you fit in this category, you definitely need to be watching your labels. Look for caffeine sources listed on the label, be it tea, coffee etc.
- What time of day do you workout? This makes a huge difference when the caffeine is wearing off. If you workout in the mornings then you are much more likely to be dog tired by the time you first even get to work. If you workout late in the evening the crash may not be so bad if you're heading to bed shortly after. So keep your workout time in mind, for your own good.
- How much do you care about what goes into your body? If you're like us, then you care a lot and want to know the ingredient and what it does for your system as a whole. After all, we are just creatures of science. If you care about what goes into your body, then you should avoid the harsh chemicals that can be found in synthetic caffeine.
- Do you just plain want to feel cleaner and better about yourself? No joke, we aren't making this up. You feel much better when drinking plant derived caffeine. Try it, you'll see.
Now, why do we call some of these facts dirty secrets? Companies aren't going to come out and say "hey we offer the crap caffeine to make our profit margin higher"... so most of them act like all caffeine is the same. Don't let them fool you, it's not.
Want to see some further clinical studies on how caffeine can help with your fitness goals? Click below.