Caffeine is one of the most studied substances to help athletes perform better and train longer and harder. As a result, professional and amateur athletes often consider it a performance-enhancing “ergogenic” aid for a wide range of activities. These include intermittent exercises such as soccer and racquet sports, endurance exercises such as running and cycling, and resistance exercises such as weight lifting.
But while most research focuses on the effects of pure caffeine consumed in pill form with water, in the real world most people get their caffeine from coffee, energy drinks, or other products like special gels or chewing gum. Will drinking a cup of coffee before your workout really make a difference? The answer could depend as much on your genes as it does on the type of coffee you drink.
Scientists think caffeine affects the body’s chemical adenosine, which normally promotes sleep and suppresses wakefulness. Caffeine binds receptors in the brain that detect adenosine and thus makes it more alert.
But it can also increase central nervous system stimulation, making exercise feel like less effort and pain. In high-intensity activities such as resistance training or sprinting, this can increase the number of fibers used in muscle contractions, which means movements can be more frequent and powerful.
Faster, higher, stronger
Research has shown that pure caffeine can help endurance athletes run faster and cycle longer. It can help footballers to sprint more often and over greater distancesand basketball players jump higher. It can help tennis players and golfers to hit the ball more accurately. And it can help weight lifters lift more weight.
The evidence for the effects of caffeine on sprinting is more mixed. Limited improvements Was found for events lasting less than three minutes. But for runs of ten seconds, caffeine can improve the peak power, speed and force.
A growing number of studies have also shown that coffee can be used as an alternative to caffeine for improve cycling and competitive running performance and produce results similar to pure caffeine. In fact, coffee may even be more effective at improve resistance exercise than caffeine alone. Likewise, drinking energy drinks containing caffeine before exercise can improve mental focus, alertness, anaerobic performance and endurance performance.
But drinking coffee is not like taking a measured dose of caffeine. The amount of stimulant in a cup, and therefore its effect on you, will depend on the coffee blend and how it is brewed. Studies have shown that consuming either 0.15g Where 0.09g of caffeinated coffee per kilogram of body weight can improve performance. So a dessert scoop of coffee granules rather than a traditional teaspoon is probably best.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that every research shows that caffeine improves athletic performance in a group of people as a whole. But we also know that genetic factors have a big influence on our responses to caffeine and not everyone reacts in the same way. This means that consuming caffeine will not necessarily improve your performance.
In fact, you might feel nauseous and nervous at a time when, if you’re competing, you’re already feeling anxious. And, since the effects of caffeine can last up to five hours, taking it too late in the day could disrupt your sleep, which is an important factor in overall health and fitness. This means it’s important to train with caffeine during training sessions or friendlies before using it for an important event.
Some also suggested that you should abstain from caffeine in order to enjoy a better effect on your performance when you consume it for exercise. But maintaining your normal intake will prevent any possible withdrawal symptoms and will still provide benefits if caffeine is taken before exercise. Its effects peak between 30 and 75 minutes after ingestion.
Finally, it is commonly believed that caffeine is a diuretic that will cause dehydration because it causes you to produce more urine. But one number of studies have shown that this is not the case with moderate amounts of coffee, cola or any other caffeinated drink, which helps keep you hydrated like any other drink.