Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

Caffeine and Performance – Part 2

In my last post (Caffeine and Performance – Part 1), I looked at the benefits that Caffeine provides in fat loss and burning calories as well as the best form of Caffeine for the greatest results (pill form is better than coffee).  In Part 2 of this 2 part series, I am going to look at how Caffeine impacts Cognitive Performance (Brain Function) and Endurance & Strength.  There are numerous studies which look at the combination of Caffeine & Creatine and Caffeine & Carbohydrates as it relates to Endurance and Strength, but I am focusing on Caffeine specifically so, for our purposes, these pieces of research are excluded from my analysis.

3) Cognitive Performance
Several studies have shown that Caffeine improves both cognitive performance and mood in the general population (1,2).  A study by McLellan et al. (3) showed that soldiers given Caffeine were able to complete a vigilance task with less errors and an obstacle course faster than their non-Caffeinated counterparts.  These tasks were performed in a sleep deprived state (4 hours of sleep) where Caffeine was supplemented 3 times at 200 mg per dose (600 mg total) with about 2.5 hours between doses.  The last dose was given 30 minutes before the testing.  The Caffeine was administered via a caffeinated gum.  The Vigilance task involved observing a building for 2 hours and recording any observations.  Within each 20 minute block, an activity lasting 5s was presented.   The Caffeine group had fewer errors than the placebo group.  There were 3 Obstacle Courses and the Caffeine group completed them faster and with fewer errors than that placebo group.  The study concluded that Caffeine “maintained both vigilance and physical performance during sustained operations that require periods of overnight wakefulness and restricted opportunities for daytime sleep.” (3)

Another study by Lieberman et al. (4) looked at cognitive performance of U.S. Navy Seals in a sleep deprived state when supplementing with Caffeine.   Participants were randomly assigned doses of either 100, 200 or 300 mg of Caffeine in capsule form.  One hour after consumption, participants performed a battery of tests related to vigilance, reaction time, working memory, motor learning and memory.  Caffeine had the most significant effects on tasks related to alertness.  Results were also significant for assessments related to vigilance & choice reaction time for those who received the Caffeine treatment.  What was really interesting was that there was no statistical advantage of taking 300 versus 200 mg (i.e. the 300 mg group did not perform better than the 200 mg group) though there was a significant improvement in performance of the 200 mg group versus the 100 mg group.  In fact, 100 mg was no more advantageous than a placebo! (4)

"Caffeine makes me more alert and helps me function better!" - Brain

These studies (3,4) demonstrate the effects of Caffeine on cognitive performance Read the rest of this entry »


Caffeine and Performance – Part 1

Go to any gym on the Planet early in the morning what do you see?  Alright wiseguy, fat people walking on treadmills was not the answer I was looking for!  Coffee, and lots of it, as far as the eye can see.  The majority of these folks are drinking it to make sure they don’t fall asleep and knock their front teeth out while walking on the treadmill.  Little do they know that caffeine can aid them in performance and their goal of fat loss, though drip coffee is not the most efficient nor effective method. 

In this 2 Part Series, I am going to look at:
1) The Best Form of Caffeine to consume (i.e. drip coffee vs. powder (caffeine anhydrous))
2) The effectiveness of supplementing Caffeine for Fat Loss (lipolysis)
3) The impact of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance (i.e. Brain Function)
4) The Ergogenic (performance-enhancing) effects of caffeine on Endurance and Strength

Here is a brief overview of caffeine:
- Caffeine is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive substance(1)
- In North America, 90% of adults consume caffeine daily(1)
- It is the most commonly utilized substance in “energy” drinks
- It stimulates the Central Nervous System (CNS), making us feel alert

1) BEST Form of Caffeine
When consuming caffeine for performance, the best form is to consume is caffeine anhydrous (caffeine powder in a capsule).  The reason for this is that it is a) cheaper and b) more effective than consuming coffee in liquid form (i.e. drip coffee).

WARNING: This is NOT the best way to get your caffeine!

a) Cheaper
I use NSI Caffeine Anhydrous which I purchase from  There are 240 capsules and each contains 200 mg of caffeine.  The whole bottle costs $7.  So, let’s do the math… Read the rest of this entry »


10 Ways to Succeed in Strength Training and Life

1) Define your goals

At one point in the children’s story Alice in Wonderland, Alice comes to a fork in the road.  She is confronted by the Cheshire cat and she asks which path she should follow.  The cat answers, “That depends where you want to go. If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter what path you take.”  It is very simple, before you can figure out what path to go down, you have to figure out where you are going!

“If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter what path you take.”

Strength Training:  Do you want to build muscle?  Do you want to Burn Fat?  Add 50 LBS to your Deadlift?  Become a Powerlifter?  Become a Bodybuilder?  Without defining your goal, you cannot determine what program and protocol is optimal.  Figure out your goal and work backwards from there.  Once you implement a plan, you can determine your progress.  You can track whether or not you are getting better, stagnating or falling behind.  If you are getting better, keep going!  If you are stagnating or failing, assess the situation and determine why.  One thing is for sure; you can’t progress if you don’t have a goal to strive towards.

Life:  The most frustrating feeling in life is to feel that you have stagnated or that you do not have a purpose.  Every time the lottery gets big, people go out and buy the tickets and decide what they will do if they win.  Once they lose, that excitement goes away, but why?  Most of us feel that we have no control in our lives and if you do not have a goal or a list of goals that you want to accomplish then, you are wandering aimlessly through life.  As the story goes, many years ago in the early 1900’s, a consultant named Ivy Lee approached Charles Schwab and asked him what it would be worth to him to discover the greatest productivity enhancer known to man.  Schwab was skeptical and asked what it was.  Lee said to him that every day he should write a list of the most important things he needed to accomplish for that particular day and cross them off as he accomplished them.  After a few weeks, Schwab was so amazed at the effectiveness and results of this seemingly simple piece of advice that he sent Ivy Lee a check for $25,000 as a sign of gratitude!!!  Set long-term and short-term goals that you want to accomplish.  Start simple: make a To Do list and do it.  Read the rest of this entry »


Single Leg Training – An Athlete’s Perspective

About a month ago, I wrote an article regarding Single Leg Training (CLICK HERE: “Single Leg Training with Mike Boyle”) and the Strength Coach who popularized it, Mike Boyle.  It generated a lot of interest so, I decided to build off of it.  I have the good fortune of knowing an athlete who trained under Coach Boyle while he was in college.  That Athlete is Antonio Valverde and he trained with Coach Boyle while he played Football at Boston College.  The following is my interview, enjoy!

Player Profile from Senior Year at Boston College in 2006.

1) At what age did you begin weight training and what type of regimen did you do?

AV: I guess I started using weights at 17 during my junior year in High Sschool.  I went to a Private Boarding School in Massachusetts called Governor Dummer Academy.  We had a decent gym and we also had Athletic Trainers, but no strength coaches. Read the rest of this entry »


IMPACT! – The Methods of Todd Durkin

What do Drew Brees, Aaron Rogers and LaDanian Tomlinson have in common?

If you answered “A lot more money than me!”, you are correct, but the answer I am looking for is, “They are all trained by Todd Durkin.”  Not a bad group of guys to have on your resume :) Read the rest of this entry »


Single Leg Training with Mike Boyle

“You do almost everything in sports in a split stance, or by pushing off one leg from a parallel stance, so it just makes sense to train your body that way” – Mike Boyle

I had the pleasure of meeting Mike Boyle at the Perform Better Seminar at the Parisi Speed School in Fair Lawn, NJ on 12/4.  Fortunately, I had the opportunity to learn more about his hallmark single leg training protocol. Read the rest of this entry »


Sandbag Training with Josh Henkin’s Ultimate Sandbag™

A sandbag is just a sandbag, right?  You may believe that until you meet up with Josh Henkin, creator of the Ultimate Sandbag ™.  The Ultimate Sandbag ™ is a great tool to have in your arsenal, whether you train average Joes or Elite Athletes.  I found this out for myself over 2 days when I took part in Josh’s LIFT 1 certification at Peak Performance Gym in NYC (LIFT stands for Loaded Integrated Functional Training). Read the rest of this entry »


Vegan Athlete – A Conversation with Jon Hinds

Vegan + No Weights = BEAST

Even those who are not good at math would say that there is something wrong with the above equation, but I can assure you that when it comes to Jon Hinds, it is 100% true.  I always try to challenge myself by being exposed to new things, including exercises, philosophies on strength & hypertrophy, etc.  Keeping an open mind, especially in the World of Strength & Conditioning, will make you more well-rounded and better at your craft in the long-run.  I am a self-professed Carnivore who loves throwing around weights so, when Jon Hinds told me that he is not a fan of weights and that a plant-based diet is superior, it was definitely a shock to the system. Read the rest of this entry »

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