John Grimek, father of bodybuilding, used to write for decades for the fitness and bodybuilding industry. The following piece of training advice was taken from John Grimek’s column “Your Training Problems”. Fans would send letters with questions to Grimek and he answered. And when Grimek speaks we have to listen! – Mr. Berg
Question: “I have a friend who drinks several cups of coffee a day, especially before a workout. I tried to tell him that coffee drinking is a bad habit and is habit forming. He scoffs at me by saying that he doesn’t care. Recently he coaxed me into drinking a cup of it before training. I must admit I did feel better and noticed I didn’t require a long warming up period which I normally have to do. Which brings me to the question; is coffee that harmful? Can’t I work it out during training? I would like to know because if coffee won’t harm me I would like to drink a cup before training.
John Grimek:” Caffeine is the stimulant contained in coffee that gives most of the people who drink it a “lift”.
This, however, is only temporary and usually after the stimulating effects wear off a depression sets in. Of course not all people react to this drug in the same way. Some people have a higher toleration point and can absorb several cups of coffee at one meal without becoming overstimulated. Much of this depends on the sensitivity of the person involved. Perhaps your friend is not affected as strongly as you, and perhaps he requires much stronger and larger does than you do. Usually if the body is not used to it one cup can be very stimulating, but as the body becomes accustomed to the caffein, more and more will be needed to get that stimulating effect.
It’s not a question of working it out of your system, but what reaction does it have upon the body. I’M sure that in your case the same stimulation can be obtained from a cup of hot water, or any kind of hot drink, such as hot milk, bullion, soup, a hot protein or carob drink, etc. Any hot drinks is stimulating, and without the habit-forming drug, caffeine. Many people have the habit of drinking several cups of coffee every day without any apparent harm. And I know several people who must have their coffee before going to bed. They claim they sleep better. Coffee in most cases keeps the individual awake, but this only proves how differently it works in some people. Therefore, why acquire the coffee-habit if you can avoid it? It may not be as good for you as it is for your friend, and it may incite nervousness in your case.
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