Everyone knows that caffeine is a "wonder-drug" - taken pre-workout, it jacks up your energy levels and dramatically improves your in-gym performance. But did you know that caffeine also has a down side? It's true: recent research shows that caffeine may make you insulin-insensitive. That's bad news for bodybuilders.
Following a tough workout, your body has higher-than-normal levels of oxidants that can damage your muscles and organs. Also, immediately following a workout, your cortisol levels skyrocket as a response to exercise-induced inflammation. At this time stimulating insulin through the ingestion of a carbohydrate and protein drink mixture is the best recipe for keeping cortisol in check.
Unfortunately, caffeine can interfere with this process by making you insulin-insensitive - meaning: when taken with protein in a mixture, as part of a "low GI meal" pre-workout or post-workout meal, caffeine impairs your ability to manage your blood sugar levels. This is bad news because it can derail your recovery and your transition into the 5th phase of anabolism post-workout: the growth phase. By derailing your glucose metabolism, caffeine may also make you fat.
So here's your FUSION FACTOID: If you're going to use caffeine pre-workout to boost your in-gym performance, be sure to consume it on it's own at least one hour post your last meal. If you're going to consume it post-workout to reduce pain and speed recovery, consume it AFTER your glucose and protein drink mixture. In this way you can reap the benefits of this "wonder drug" without sabotaging your recovery.
- THE EDUCATED BODYBUILDER
Source: Am J Clin Nutr 2008;87:1254 – 61.