Sippin’ on some fitness

Caffeine drinks give you jump needed while working out

By Pauline DiGiorgio

paulineWith temperatures dropping and days getting chilly, my mind goes straight to some of my favorite “get me out of bed, aka gym energy!”

But now that I’m plant-based focused, my typical pumpkin spice latte is not going to cut it.

A 16-ounce Starbucks’ version with 2 percent milk and whipped cream has 380 calories and contains 50 grams of sugar. Thanks but no thanks!

Plus, my doctor recommends me to stay under 25 grams of sugar for the entire way, and I would much rather save my sugars for a piece of pie!

But with it being dark when I awaken and when I’m finished with work, I’m in desperate need for some caffeine to pep me up to get a workout done.

Some ask, “What’s my secret for motivation and keeping a consistent gym routine?

Here’s why I pick up a coffee cup before I pick up my weights:

— I prefer to train “fasted,” which means I like the fact that the compounds found in coffee act as an appetite suppressant, so I can train without being hungry.

Coffee when consumed before you exercise can cause fat cells to be used as an energy source as opposed to glycogen. So it will increase your metabolism and cause a higher calorie burn throughout the day.

— I have better workouts. There are many studies on athletes and athletic performance with and without caffeine. It really does serve as a beneficial aid, helping you train at a higher level and train longer.

— I feel more focused (which it helps with as well) and I’m definitely at a higher risk of cutting my workout short without my beloved cup of Joe.

— I feel less muscle pain during my work out.

That doesn’t mean I won’t feel soreness afterwards, but I won’t during the workout.

Therefore, I will complete more reps during my weight training sessions as well as run faster and longer during my cardio workouts.

I’ve created some “fit-friendly” caffeinated drinks for you to warm up to and get you moving.

My favorite is my hack for the famous PSL:

— ½ cup coffee

— ½ cup steamed almond milk

— 1 pump of pumpkin spice (this is your calorie culprit, so use only 1 pump to lighten it up)

— 1 pump sugar-free vanilla

Sprinkle in cinnamon on your own and two packets of Stevia, which is a natural sweetener (I use the liquid version).

Sometimes I add an espresso shot — no calories just more energy.

My second “go to” toasty beverage is my hack for chocolate-peppermint mocha (very festive of me I know!)

— Soymilk latte

— 1 pump of chocolate sauce

— 2 pumps of sugar-free peppermint syrup (I know Dunkin’ Donuts is sugar-free, but most other coffee houses have sugar added, so be careful).

There have been times where I have mint extract from baking, and I toss a couple drops in my coffee. Then I put a couple packets of Stevia or monk fruit (both natural sweeteners) into that baby. Enjoy!!

Last oldie but goodie: The Vanilla Americano, which I have been ordering for years.

An Americano is just espresso and hot water, which seems quite basic and bland. So I spice it up with some added vanilla pumps, cinnamon and almond milk (steamed to spruce it up).

I hope these inspire you and give you some juice to get you into a groove to keep going this holiday season!

• Pauline DiGiorgio is a fitness ambassador and Group X instructor at Retro Fitness gyms. Questions? Email her at ptlifts@gmail.com.

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