The Active Person and Caffeinated Products
You have likely heard it; many exercise professionals recommend that before a workout one should not drink beverages with caffeine. However, the literature is inconclusive as to whether drinking caffeinated products before a workout is good for you or not. Some research suggests that caffeinated products increase urination, triggering the body to void needed fluids and thus causing the body to become dehydrated. On the other side, the literature suggests that no immediate diuretic effect on the body follows the ingestion of caffeine.
Caffeine has been considered an ergogenic aid - an external influence that can enhance performance. While the exact mechanism for how this works is not known, some researchers believe that during exercise, caffeine stimulates the burning of fat. If this is the case, then drinking caffeinated products prior to exercising could help preserve the body's store of glycogen (the fuel of muscles) so that a person could exercise longer before feeling exhausted. Hence, caffeine may improve performance in endurance type events; however, caffeine has not been proven to aid athletes in shorter or more sporadic activities. Caffeine can affect people in different ways. Some people might notice a performance boost; while others might suffer from dizziness, headaches, loss of coordination, abdominal cramps, or nausea. Caffeinated products probably are not the best source of liquid to hydrate your body prior to exercising. Thus said, the stimulant effect of caffeine may help exercisers with alertness, mental clarity, and overall mood - all of which could be helpful during a workout. Sodium is also another important component to hydration that I'll have to cover in another article.
Most exercise professionals recommend that you drink cool water before, during and after exercising vigorously. During intense physical activity, the body's core temperature rises above the normal 37°C (98.6°F). Drinking cool water lowers the body's temperature and helps it settle back to its normal range. Studies have shown that cold water 5°C (41°F) is absorbed more quickly from the stomach than warm water, abating dehydration and allowing you to play harder.
So, stay hydrated during your workout... and have fun!