Caffeine Experiment

In my bio class last week, we learned about metabolism- how cells convert the glucose in our food into usable energy. While we were learning about this, my TA told us how caffeine gives us energy.

This article goes into more depth, but the basic summary my teacher gave was that caffeine tricks your brain into thinking you have energy, when in reality, your cells don’t.

I was talking to my friend after class and I asked if people drink coffee before going to the gym. It would make sense, because caffeine would trick your brain into thinking you have energy and you could work out longer. She said yes, it gives people a lot of energy beforehand.

So, naturally, I decided to give this a try. I decided to use this energy tip for my cardio day to see if I could last longer than usual. Here are the steps I took for this experiment.

Step 1. Go to Starbucks and order coffee.

Step 2. Do homework and wait for my body to digest the caffeine.

Step 3. As soon as I feel jittery (I don’t drink coffee too much, so I get jittery pretty easily), I pack up my stuff and head to the gym.

Step 4. Go on the elliptical and see how long I can last.

Results: I was pretty shocked to find that I lasted about 15 mins longer than my usual time. 15 mins may not seem like a long time, but I had my elliptical set on hills, so I am definitely impressed.

I did experience some pretty bad side effects though. After I left the gym I was exhausted. I’m thinking this is because I just burned a whole bunch of energy that I didn’t really have. I also was feeling pretty nauseous, maybe for similar reasons? I ate dinner maybe two hours later and I felt a little better.

I’m going to have to try this experiment again to see if fatigue and nausea are actual side effects or if some other variables caused them.

I’ll be sure to report my findings. In the meantime, though, please let me know your thoughts/experiences with caffeine and working out!

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