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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Cardio ‘Cat: Effects of caffeine and alcohol on a workout

Risa Johnson
Risa Johnson

Hopefully all college students know that alcohol and caffeine don’t mix, because caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. But I wanted to know how they affect exercise.

Here is what I found out about caffeine:

A cup o’ joe before a workout is actually good for you. The effects of coffee are generally felt within a half hour, so start your workout by then.

A little bit of caffeine is especially good for endurance running and cycling, because the body burns the fatty acids from the coffee before it burns through carbohydrates, according to an article in the New York Times. This gives you more energy for a longer period of time.

Caffeine can also improve anaerobic performance, like playing soccer or basketball, according to a study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Consuming caffeine improved players’ accuracy, motor ability and hand-eye coordination.

As with everything, it’s best in moderation. Also, always make sure to stay hydrated.

So here is the deal about alcohol: 

It’s not much of a surprise that alcohol is not the best addition to your diet.

But we’re all college students, and most of us drink in varying degrees.

One to two drinks really isn’t going to harm your diet. But here’s what’s happening if you drink heavily:

Alcohol hurts your digestive system. It makes your body weaker in addition to sapping its ability to grow and maintain muscle.

Binge drinking destroys muscles, according to a Time magazine article. You should never drink alcohol shortly before or after going to the gym.

Drinking in moderation can actually be good for cardiovascular health, but only for people older than 45, according to the Time magazine article.

The message here is that alcohol doesn’t have any benefits besides being fun, so drink wisely and be safe. On the bright side, consuming caffeine has been proven to boost workout performance, and it might even motivate you to get to the gym.


Risa Johnson can be reached at [email protected].

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