Cycling, Coffee, and Recovery—three words that never fail to enter many riders’ daily thoughts. As the gap between Mister and Master grows and the junction seems impossible to get across, there is a progressive increase in the proportion of time pondering each.
The seasoned cyclist develops a fond appreciation for the subtleties of a finely crafted brew—slowing down to savor a conversational sip steeped in the two-wheeled culture of the coffee shop stop.
We focus on recovery more out of necessity than pleasure. We take any opportunity to enhance the recuperative gifts that have extended the horizon of readiness.
While it may not be the best-constructed method, the sample size is small, and the conclusion lacks causality to the discerning scientific mind. The title alludes to those three words, Cycling, Coffee, and Recovery! It compels, rather obligates, the seasoned cyclist to read—and share.
The Study of 14 Cyclists
A 2022 study published in the journal Nutrients contends that drinking coffee after an exhaustive training session improves recovery. Fourteen cyclists performed a training session to failure to deplete their glycogen stores, accompanied by a low-carb evening meal.
They returned to the laboratory following a 10 to 12-hour overnight fast to hit the bike again to failure. The researchers divided the participants into two groups, giving half coffee and milk and the others only milk during the four-hour recovery period that followed.
The frappe-type drink containing skimmed milk and sucrose was provided immediately after the workout and each hour for 120 minutes. Two hours after the session, the researchers fed the participants a salted egg and cottage cheese sandwich with their drink.
The authors planned the beverages and meal to provide 8 mg/kg of caffeine in a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to proteins. The scientists collected blood samples and muscle biopsies to measure total muscle glycogen resynthesis.
Conclusion - You Had Me at Coffee
Java-drinking cyclists rejoice. The muscle glycogen supply of the subjects in the coffee group increased 57% more than their non-caffeinated counterparts. The scientists raised a cup to celebrate the consistency with their belief that coffee and the recommended amounts of carbohydrates favored post-exercise muscle glycogen resynthesis.
They stopped short of defining the exact coffee components underlying the results or the effect mechanism on insulin secretion, enzymatic activity, and muscle glucose uptake. What? I didn’t catch that.
You had me at Cycling, Coffee, and Recovery! Another reason to not say, “No” to a good cup of Joe!
How About You?
Are you more likely to perk a cup knowing it can put some pep in your muscles? Comment below! Your fellow virtual cyclists want to know.
Drink Coffee! Do Good!
Did you know that The DIRT Dad Fund has coffee? I want to encourage you to visit www.highwatt.coffee. You will find coffee curated by cyclists and roasted by an award-winning roaster. If you see something you like, know that $2/bag will go directly to the DIRT Dad Fund. Who says you can’t drink coffee and do good?
Enjoy other great anecdotes exploring the intersection of coffee, cycling, and life by visiting the Community page of The ZOM!
Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, Endurance.biz, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!