“No coffee, no prana,” Guruji used to say.
Tim Miller tells great stories about being just wiped out after practicing in the early days in Mysore, lying down for 10 or 15 or 20 minutes in Savasana until Guruji’s wife, Amma, would stick her head into the room and quietly ask, “Tim? OK? Coffee, Tim?”
There might be something to it.
A trio of recent studies are suggesting that Guruji was right about coffee — or more specifically, the caffeine contained therein. It does help boost physical performance, up to and including ones governed by acute mental focus. (I’m waiting anxiously for studies to prove that sugar makes you flexible.)
One study was done at the Coventry University in England. It had 13 “fit” young men repeat a wight-lifting sequence. Before one workout, they’d have a sugar-free energy drink with caffeine. Before another, the same drink sans caffeine. They performed more reps, reported less exhaustion and — this apparently catches researchers’ attention — said they were anxious to do it all again when they’d had caffeine.
Another, from the Journal of Applied Physiology, put subjects through a series of grueling physical tests meant to simulate a soccer or basketball game. Performance was 16% better if the person had had a caffeine pill 70 minutes beforehand. Build-up of potassium also was less, and researchers think that contributes to fatigue.
Finally, a third study — this one from the British Journal of Sports Medicine — suggests that caffeine has a positive effect on mood and motor coordination. Test subjects, soccer players this time, did better dribbling and heading soccer balls if they’d had caffeine.
But a few cautions. Researchers note they have zero idea what the optimal “dose” of caffeine is. (Can I suggest the more, the merrier?) And they aren’t sure how a steady stream of the stuff — i.e. swilling coffee or tea all day — affects performance.
That seems like small qualifications to me, though. Fire up the espresso machine!
For more, including links to the studies noted above, check out this link.
Posted by Steve