My first day in the gym was when I was 15 years old, and it has been quite a journey ever since. Working out has not just completely transformed my confidence, but also the way I look at progression in all other areas of my life.
The main thing that I have come to realize is that our past thoughts, habits, and behaviors are responsible for where we are right now.
Similarly, the way our body looks today is just a by-product of how we have treated all of our past workouts.
While some can consider this common sense, it is a profound realization. The more we prioritize the quality of each workout, the faster we will ultimately reach our fitness goals.
With these thoughts constantly wrangling around in my head, I know that whenever I set foot in the gym I will make my workout count.
We all have limited time on this earth.
If you are going to take time out of your life to go to the gym, you have no business half-assing anything. You need to be giving it your all or you shouldn’t even be there.
Throughout my quest to maximize my workouts, I began experimenting with different supplements to see what worked the best for me.
In the end, I found caffeine to have the biggest positive changes in my motivation, mood, strength, and recovery.
Whether from a pre-workout supplement or even just a cup of coffee/espresso, caffeine-fueled workouts helped me to gain 20 pounds of lean muscle mass during my first year of lifting weights.
1. More Energy
There’s a reason why most people need their morning coffee. Not only does it taste good, but it’s an instant way to feel awake and alert for the day.
The majority of people looking to make progress in their fitness journey do not have all day to get in their workouts. They either need to find time in the morning before work or in the evening after work. Very few people will feel the desire or motivation to work out during these hours of the day.
If you are looking for a cheat code to increase your energy levels and have better workouts during inconvenient hours, keep coffee or pre-workout supplements with you or in your car at all times to take advantage of when you need a little boost.
Why does caffeine give us energy in the first place?
Caffeine works by blocking certain neuroreceptors in the brain ultimately leading to increased levels of epinephrine, adrenaline, and dopamine.
This can result in increased energy, drive, and even a slight feeling of euphoria (which can be incredibly helpful towards treating your workout with more of a purpose).
2. Increased Strength
Many people don’t realize, but caffeine has been linked to increased performance and strength in the gym.
Research on caffeine has shown that a single dose of 300 mg, equivalent to about three cups of coffee, is shown to have a direct correlation with our strength in the gym.
When caffeine activates our nervous system, the nerves that activate our muscle fibers will now activate these muscle fibers with more force and power.
This in turn leads to you lifting more weight, or getting in more repetitions than you are used to.
If you are attempting a new personal record at the gym, do not forget your caffeine on the way out the door.
3. Better Concentration
If you are anything like me, you are prone to losing focus at times during your workout, especially if you are in the gym for an extended period of time.
I can’t count the number of times I have stalled starting my next set because I wanted to find the perfect song or the perfect bass drop on my Spotify playlist.
Studies have shown that caffeine can increase mental focus and concentration.
If you are looking to fully dial in on your workout, waste less time, and get out of the gym faster, I would recommend experimenting with caffeine at least twenty minutes before you set foot in the gym.
It’s always a better idea to get in, work hard, and get out fast than spend hours lingering around.
4. Increased recovery
Those who are new to the gym are typically not akin to the post-workout soreness they will feel in their muscles the day after an intense workout.
A University of Georgia team conducted a study in 2007 that showed a moderate dose of caffeine (about two cups of coffee) before a workout can ease soreness and pain by up to 50 percent the following day.
If the expected soreness is stopping you from embarking on your fitness journey or getting in extra workout days, make sure to supplement caffeine before your workouts to minimize any pain or discomfort the following day.
Even if you are a little sore after your first couple of workouts, your body will adjust over time. After eight years of consistent training, I rarely get sore anymore.
5. Enjoy Your Workout
There is a reason there are about 2 billion overweight adults in the world today.
Working out is not fun. Going to the gym is hard work.
It requires discipline and consistency.
To most people, working out is more of a chore than anything else, and they would rather be on the couch watching TV.
If you want to enjoy your workouts and actually begin to like being at the gym, supplement caffeine before your workouts.
Caffeine leads to increased dopamine, meaning we will be in an overall better mood.
If you really like to consume caffeine, you can trick your brain to enjoy working out by only allowing yourself to drink coffee or pre-workout before the gym.
Over time, you will start to associate the gym with the good feelings you get from caffeine. In no time, the gym will transform from a chore to a hobby.
Lastly, even without caffeine, you can learn to start loving your workouts. What if instead of viewing the gym as a chore, you viewed it as an opportunity to get healthier, work on your discipline, and get more confident.
That’s the real opportunity the gym provides all of us, isn’t it?
Try shifting your psychology this way. It’s hard to view something as a “chore” when it has the potential to add so many positives to one’s life.
Caffeine has helped me to significantly raise the quality of my workouts over the past eight years.
I always try to remember that our past habits and actions make us who we are today. When I wanted to get bigger and radically change my physique, I knew the same concept applied.
You are only as good as your past workouts.
If you are looking for an edge, experiment with caffeine before the gym and see how your body reacts.
An important thing to remember is that everyone is different. I know some people who get jitters when they have caffeine and need to stay away from it.
I know some people who cannot get up in the morning without it. Experiment and see what works best for you.
Lastly, do not overdo it. Caffeine can be a great supplement to boost your workouts but never take more than you need. Too much caffeine can lead to dizziness, headaches, anxiety, and insomnia. Just be smart.
About The Author:
Maxwell is an expert in all areas of fitness, personal finance, and personal development. He was able to gain 20 pounds of lean muscle mass during his first year of working out and has already acquired two investment properties at the age of 23.