Coffee and sports – legal doping?

Sunday, 7:30 in the morning. The ringing Marimba jolts you awake. Eyes squinting, you nervously tap your screen. Next to you, it growls (justifiably), and you know if you don’t stop hitting snooze, in exactly nine minutes, you’ll risk getting a high-kick blow to your side, along with a whiff of bad breath. Above all, you have to extract yourself from your bed without letting any cold air under the comforter (Really?!?! How is that even possible?!?!?), or it will end up waking the bear (male or female, it doesn’t matter) who shares your life, but is really just trying to recover from a long and difficult work week.

All good? You’ve managed to leave your couple’s sanctuary? And now you’ve just realized you did all that to go work out? You swallow this bitter little pill. Maybe it’s not so cold outside. Well okay, the sidewalks are a bit like Holiday On Ice, but rest assured, you’re not going to put on a leotard (a bit far-fetched to even write this word) and Philippe Candeloro isn’t going to be checking you…oh, uhh sorry…commenting on your entrechattes and the triple alex lutzes you happened to have stuck.   

So you pull yourself together, set your goals, and carry on through moments like these. Sunday morning, the cold-weather challenge…the one that allows you to do the grand finale that will have you collapsing at the finish, crying tears of joy thinking of THIS moment, this bit of suffering. After all, what are you preparing for? The Aywaille Iron(wo)man (in Belgium, the flat country of Wallonia, next door to Claudy Focan)? Or the classic, legendary Parla-Montcuq bike route ( Or maybe the Foam Marathon – 42 kilometers with a macumba foam party and refueling courtesy of Get 27? The best have tried, only the greatest have survived.

But, whatever. Each athlete has their own competition in trying to beat themselves. This is your goal, but you’re feeling a little tired. So you say to yourself, “If only I had a 07h53 from Chronic to give me a little boost. A few coffee beans from these guys…that’ll give me a little shot in the arm!”

And there I must stop you. Despite the exquisite aroma of coffee, with its notes of vanilla and gingerbread that are sure to strengthen your resolve, it’s just not a good idea. First because it’s not yet 07h53. But mostly because it will not do you any good. And I must quote my family doctor, Dr. Ferrari, in saying, “My dear, it’s a big mistake! Not even Armstrong does that!”

So yes, even though coffee has sometimes been viewed as beneficial when consumed just before physical exertion, especially with respect to burning fat quickly while preserving your glycogen levels (how that is, you can’t say, what’s glycogen anyway? Good job having skipped Mrs. Lamby’s biology class, and then to bash school, the overall level, crumbling surroundings, gloomy sterility, the recrue d’essence…yep, bravo!), coffee JUST BEFORE working out, according to a recent study, is not GOOD because it significantly reduces blood flow to the heart (allegedly by 22%). And your weak little muscles won’t like that! (Yes, look closely, they are puny like mine, we won’t lie.) So even though we are coffee bean producers, we don’t want to become carpet baggers or peddlers of bad advice. We want you in good health, ready to savor our products for years to come.

So this time, you set off without your coffee. You’ll go all out, work your muscles, lift dumbbells or jump hurdles, and then you’ll come back inside to make a delicious brunch with your sweet teddy bear, who will be up by now (it’s crazy, how animals transform on Sundays!) and BAM, you can enjoy a 13h08. Because coffee after working out is your reward. According to scientific studies by the London School of Café au Lait, it helps rebuild your muscles more quickly than any other energy drink (even the chocolate milk from your childhood) and allows you to run faster to the bathroom. So go for it, champ! We’ll see you when you get here!

The moral of our little story on coffee and exercise:

In a nutshell, there are some contradictions between the benefits of coffee and exercise. Some studies show that a low dose of caffeine (a single expresso, for example) consumed at least one hour before working out can provide benefits, especially with respect to burning fat. On the other hand, there are studies that point to a risk of reduced blood flow to the heart and an increased heart rate that isn’t really compatible with exercise. After a workout, coffee seems to aid in the recovery process. However the following quote made us laugh: “Six cups of coffee in order to obtain these recovery benefits has led to sleep issues among those tested.” Ya think??

Our conclusion? Scientists aren’t very clear on it, so often in moments like these, we must trust the words of Mamie Lucette. “Enjoy, but in moderation!” A 07h53 expresso one hour before or a 13h08 lungo one hour after is okay, if you feel like it. However, it’s probably best to avoid polishing off an entire 250g bag of Chronic Coffee before diving into cold water at the beginning of your triathlon, or attacking the slopes of Mont Ventoux.

Kisses, Chronic lovers!

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