In the latest instalment of the Coffee Break interview series, we caught up with George Lockhart, former US Marine and health, training and nutrition expert who has provided guidance to many of the world’s top athletes and combat sport stars.
Lockhart explains the role that coffee and caffeine can play in a health and wellbeing plan, including insight into the effect on the body and benefits whilst training.
Coffee is great at getting rid of pre radicals. When you work out extensively and consistently, you create a lot of pre- radicals, which can damage cells, causing illness and ageing.
When you workout, your body creates a lot of negative material, you’re stressing the body out, the pre-radicals is what our body releases when you work out, so when you ingest an antioxidant it actually gets rid of those pre-radicals. You can have an amazing car, put amazing fuel in it but if it’s got no exhaust system it’s going to break down. Antioxidants are basically what helps you stay younger, it helps with inflammation and helps you look younger. So for example, coffee is a good antioxidant.
A lot of the time caffeine gets a negative connotation, but the National Strength & Conditioning Association did a study that said you can have 250mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight, so for someone with a large bodyweight, they can ingest a lot of coffee in a day and it isn’t going to have negative repercussions.
It’s also going to have a positive effect in terms of mental states; there are studies which show it’s going to give a better, positive attitude, though it’s important not to ingest caffeine eight hours before going to bed.
Caffeine increases your metabolism, increases focus and can also increase your stamina and get you fired up. You can go longer and faster because your actual pain perception changes when you ingest caffeine.
I’d prefer athletes to ingest caffeine through coffee rather than an energy drink or something like that because of water weight, something that has a lot of artificial sweeteners like an energy drink will create water weight. Coffee’s a great diuretic.
A lot of people don’t actually know this but taking caffeine post-workout actually increases the amount of carbohydrates that’s converted to glycogen. A good workout shake would be some coffee and some protein.”