Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

How Caffeine Affects Your Workout

GettyImages-470296838 (1)Caffeine functions as a stimulant, which means you will experience an increased heart rate, more blood flow to your body, and more oxygen to your muscles when you consume it. Here are five ways caffeine can energize your workout routine:

1. When it comes to caffeine and exercise, a little goes a long way.

It doesn’t matter how you ingest caffeine; its impact depends on how much you consume. Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day is safe for most healthy adults, but when it comes to exercise, small amounts are more than sufficient to energize your workout. (See this NIFS blog for the content in your favorite beverages and food.)

2. Caffeine can increase endurance and make your workouts feel easier.

Whether you prefer running outside or working out on the elliptical, caffeine can increase endurance up to 30 percent as well as improve your speed by 2 to 5%. With caffeine, your body’s muscle consumption of glycogen (stored energy during exercise) decreases, which forces you to use fat reserves as energy. This helps delay muscle fatigue.

3. Caffeine may not burn fat, but it helps burn more calories.

Studies show that caffeine increases fatty acids in the blood, but the body ignores the extra fats and doesn’t oxidize them. Consuming coffee before exercise helps burn up to 15% more calories for three hours afterward.

4. Timing matters—before a long workout is best.

Caffeine takes about 30 minutes to kick in, so the time you consume it matters if you want to improve your performance. Since caffeine increases endurance, it can provide a greater training effect from the workout.

5. Metabolism varies, so listen to your body.

People metabolize caffeine at different rates. Some people do not respond positively to it and can get nervous or distracted after consuming it. Drinking too much caffeine along with working out can lead to dehydration and fatigue for some people, which will decrease the ability to perform. Always listen to your body.


Even though consuming caffeine before a workout can improve your performance, it is important to be mindful and know your body. Don’t always rely on caffeine as an energy booster. Balance is the key.

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Topics: calories muscle endurance metabolism workout caffeine

Corporate Fitness Center: The Other Side

young couple working outGenerally speaking, there are 3 “sections” to each fitness center. On one side, you have the cardio area. On the other side is the resistance area. And somewhere in the corporate fitness center is usually a group exercise room. The latter can be used for just about anything so we’ll leave that alone for the time being. That leaves us with the cardio and resistance areas.

When you walk into the fitness center, who do you see in these areas? Women jogging on the treadmills (cardio) and men lifting weights (resistance), right? But why? It makes no sense! If you get a general consensus of the various goals of each gender, you’ll come up with a list that probably resembles something similar to this:

Female Goals                                               Male Goals

Lose Weight                                                  Get Stronger

Tone Up                                                        Get Ripped

So now you’re thinking, “What’s the problem? That looks about right to me. Why wouldn’t they be in their respective areas if these are their goals?”

This is why.

Women: Chances are you are probably already relatively thin. You may only need to lose another 10 lbs. or so. Well guess what, you’re not going to tone any trouble spots (i.e. that muffin top or bingo arm) by walking on the treadmill for 2 hours. You have to put those things to work! Get over on the resistance side and do some squats and work those triceps with some pushups. (And yes, you can do squats and pushups.) Cardio is, in fact, good for burning fat and you should continue doing it. But at this point you need to get the majority of your cardio through resistance training.

Men: You’ve been doing the bench press and bicep curls for 20+ years now. Let’s give it a rest. The strength is there, it’s just that fat is hiding it. Your fat is selfish. It wants to keep those muscles to itself. Well I say NO! It’s time to unleash your muscles to the world. Jump on the treadmill for a half hour. Go for a bike ride. Get that cardio in b/c yes, we can tell you’re strong, but we can also tell you like a good beer. I’m pretty sure you want people thinking your wife is pregnant, not you. Continue your resistance training, but get your heart rate up already and do some cardio.

So the next time you go to the gym ladies and gentleman, give the other side a try. You’ll be amazed.

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Topics: cardio health and wellness goal setting Fitness Center muscle endurance

Free Workout Friday: Pushups

free workout friday

Why chose to do pushups over a chest press? For most, pushups may seem harder than a chest press which is all the more reason to get on the floor and increase your upper body strength the old fashion way. Performing pushups on a regular basis helps to build strength in the arms, shoulders, forearms, wrist, and chest. That’s a lot of muscles from just one exercise! Performing pushups correctly can also help to build core strength. I teach a couple strength classes a week at a corporate fitness center and I’m always reminding my participants to use their core just as much as their upper bodies when performing variations of pushups.

Speaking of variations, pushups can be fun because you can get creative from the traditional exercise. Typically, women have less upper body strength than men but that’s no excuse anymore! There are modifications so everyone can benefit from them. Performing pushups on the knees is a little less intense than up on the toes. The best part about this simple yet complex exercise is it requires minimal space and equipment. You can get a great upper body workout in your hotel room or living room performing a variety of pushups. Try some of these I’ve listed for you below…..

  • Uneven pushups – One hand up on a step, medicine ball, or stack a couple of books (example – phone book) and the other hand on the floor, arms straight. Lower chest & and hips towards the floor, use the upper body and core to push yourself back to the starting position. Perform 10 reps then switch hands for 10 more. These, just like most, can be done on your knees or toes.
  • Incline pushups – Place hands on the edge of the bathtub, step, couch, or bed (something stable), arms straight. Lower chest & and hips down, use the upper body and core to push yourself back to the starting position. Perform 12-15 reps.
  • Decline pushups– Place feet up on a step, edge of the bathtub, couch, chair, stability or BOSU ball, or bed (something stable), hands on the floor & arms straight. Lower chest & and hips down, use the upper body and core to push yourself back to the starting position. Perform 12-15 reps.
    • This is a more advanced exercise because it may be challenging to do this on the knees. Although, if you use a stability ball place the thighs on the ball for less intensity. Or, roll out so the feet are on the ball to increase intensity.
    • Push up jacks– Perform a regular pushup, hands & feet on the floor. Lower chest & and hips towards the floor, use the upper body and core to push yourself back to the starting position. Then, hop both feet apart and back together similar to a jumping jack but on the toes with hands on the floor. One jack to one pushup equals one rep. Perform 10-12 reps.
      • If you want to do the push up on the knees, pop up on the toes for the jack part, then back to the knees for the push up.

Pushups get the heart rate up for a great upper body strength workout, so don’t be surprised if you are out of breath! Ready, set, go!!

Topics: employee health Free Workout Friday fitness muscle endurance