Coffee pretty much runs the world, but can it actually help you run better? Let’s get into the details of instant coffee, its benefits, and how it all relates to running.
As all avid coffee drinkers know, coffee grants us the gift of warmth, taste, and that much-needed pick-me-up. But what other benefits can coffee provide? Before diving into coffee and running specifically, let's explore the health benefits that are associate to drinking coffee in general. We’ve done some homework and found out the best health benefits associated to coffee:
Breaks down fat
Clearly, from the jitters we get, coffee is a stimulant. According to this study, caffeine increases the amount of epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, within the bloodstream. This hormone then travels down the bloodstream into the fat cells, which are then encouraged to break off and release back into the bloodstream. When those fat cells are in the bloodstream, exercising will be more effective and the result is a reduction in fat.
Contains essential nutrientsAccording to Healthline, one cup of coffee contains Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium, and Niacin. Though the amount per cup could be small, we know most of you probably drink more than one cup a day. All those morning and mid-afternoon coffee breaks add up!
May increase memory
According to a study by John Hopkins University on the memory-enhancing properties of coffee, it was found that those who consume coffee tend to have greater short-term memory recall.
May lower your risk for type 2 Diabetes
In a study done by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, it was found that coffee drinkers who consume more than one cup a day were found to have an 11% less chance to get Type 2 Diabetes.
Is low in calories (black coffee drinkers only)
Where are our fellow black coffee drinkers at? Well, in addition to enjoying coffee the right way, there’s another benefit to not drinking your coffee with those costly added ingredients: low calorie! Remember coffee’s fat-burning properties? Well, extra ingredients such as sugar, cream, and syrup would eliminate this. For us, black coffee drinkers, it's a win-win!
What coffee does to our body
So we already know that coffee can give us that well-needed kick to get our day going, but how exactly does that work? Well, don’t worry, we have that covered, too.
When we drink coffee, the caffeine enters our bloodstream, which can happen in as little as 10 minutes. The caffeine then binds to the adenosine receptors in the brain. As a side note: adenosine is a depressant that naturally lets us know when we're tired. So, with caffeine now replacing the adenosine, we feel less tired and more stimulated. This extra stimulation then causes the release of adrenaline, which gives us that energy boost we all know and love. Lastly, caffeine prevents dopamine, the “feel-good” chemical, from being reabsorbed in the brain, which raises our mood.
How instant coffee will make your running life easier
1. Fast prep time
As opposed to spending time to fill a coffee carafe and a filter with the right amount of coffee grounds, all you need to do is grab your instant coffee pack and mix with hot water. Instant coffee will also be of a help when you wake up early and don't want to wake up the family. No need in any complicated equipment or machines - water is all you need.
2. Take it on the go
Need a mid-run boost? Head to the nearest cafe and ask for a hot cup of water. Then just fill your cup with instant coffee and you’re ready to go! In addition, if you are into traveling for a run, there is nothing worst than the the old school coffee at some hotel rooms. Make sure to bring quality instant coffee with you and start your day better wherever you are.
3. It is coffee
Instant coffee, made from... you guessed it -- coffee, so all the health benefits we previously discussed about are still intact in instant coffee as well.
But wait, what is instant coffee?
As the name implies, instant coffee is coffee that can be ready instantly! In order for coffee to become instant coffee, it is roasted and brewed into a concentrated form. After that, the brew is either freeze dried or spray dried. While spray drying coffee is a process that can burn the flavor from the beans, freeze drying coffee actually locks in the flavor, preventing that burnt aftertaste. Here at Waka Coffee, we proudly choose to freeze dry our coffee! You can find out more here.
Coffee and running:
To make it easier for you to understand how coffee can help you improve your running lifestyle, we have prepared the following Q&A.
Will coffee improve my running performance?
In a study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports, it was concluded that caffeine ingestion is likely to produce small, but yet significant gains in 5-km running performance for both well-trained and recreational runners.
Office workers and Olympians alike drink coffee before their daily routines. In fact, this study found out that, 2/3rds of Olympians use coffee as a pre-workout to increase their performance.
Is it better to drink coffee before, during or after a run?
It is believed that moderate to high caffeine doses (5–13 mg/kg bm) ingested about 1 h before and during exercise increase endurance exercise performance. "Caffeine is quickly absorbed from the stomach within 15 to 45 minutes of consumption, but it hits its peak stimulatory effects between 30 and 75 minutes," says Heidi Skolnik, M.S., a sports nutritionist and owner of Nutrition Conditioning, Inc. with an interview with CNN.
According to this study, consuming lower caffeine doses (≤3 mg/kg bm, ~200 mg) has also demonstrated an ergogenic effect when taken late in prolonged exercise. It suggests that athletes need to determine whether the ingestion of ~200 mg of caffeine before and/or during training and competitions is ergogenic on an individual basis. If you want to consume caffeine while running (without stopping for a coffee break), you can also ingest caffeinated energy gel or chews. Make sure to read the ingredient lists to check if these are the right products for you. We have found a few on Amazon for you to consider:
Drinking coffee can also have some affects on your run, even when drank after your exercise. It might seem a little bit weird to drink coffee after your run, but trust us. Better yet, trust science. In this study, it was shown that when consumed with carbohydrates, drinking coffee after a run or exercise increased muscle recovery. Not to mention, if you have a job, meeting, or class to attend after your run, you might just need that extra energy boost anyway.
What is the best time of the day to drink your coffee?
Our bodies run on a natural clock, called the circadian rhythm. Throughout the day, cortisol, our natural energy booster, is distributed into our bodies. In the morning, cortisol naturally enters our system between 8 am-9 am. In the afternoon, it naturally enters between 12 pm-1 pm. Therefore, if you want to make the most out of your coffee, then you should drink it during the times when cortisol is not being distributed throughout your body. These times are:
Are there any negative side effect for drinking coffee and running?
Caffeine is a type of stimulant drug, which speeds up the messages traveling between the brain and body. Caffeine affects the nervous system, heart, and muscles. Like with any other stimulant there are some drawbacks.
In particular, Caffeine is a diuretic and it will affect your urine frequency and the urgency to find a bathroom. For runners, it could cause some problems if you run in areas where there are no bathrooms you can easily use, or if you can't stop during the run. In addition, Caffeine has also a laxative potential, so some people may experience diarrhea after consuming it. Make sure you know your body well enough before you start drinking coffee and leaving for a long run.
The running trend
There are many reasons for one to start running: fitness, health benefits, the opportunity to meet new people, charity, the ‘runner's-high,’ pushing your limits, and fun. Whatever the reason, millions of Americans have taken on the activity. According to Race Trend, over 6 million racers were registered for events in 2018. From 2017, that’s a 23.1% increase in registrations. Runners are running more and, with the help of caffeine and the convenience of instant coffee, we can only expect those numbers to run higher and higher (pun completely intended).