Caffeine and Exercise performance

The latest evidence, has shown that when caffeine is taken in moderation (around 3-6 mg/kg body mass) acts as an effective ergogenic aid for improving power and speed in resistance sport. In particular, caffeine may be beneficial for endurance-type of sports (such as cycling, running and swimming), while for sport-specific performance (such as soccer, basketball, rugby, etc.) several studies report little to none benefits.

The ideal timing of caffeine ingestion will depend on the type of caffeine source you choose (coffee, gels, mouth rinsing, etc). Roughly 60 minutes prior exercise has shown to be effective. 

Positive and Side effects of caffeine

Some of the positive effects reported of caffeine supplementation are:

  • Enhanced endurance training
  • Improved cognitive functions
  • Boosted velocity, power and strength in resistance training
  • Improved ability to work harder for longer

If you are considering taking caffeine supplements before a performance, it is important to be aware of the side effects linked to caffeine consumption. The most common side effects are:

  • Tachycardia and heart palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • Impaired sleep/insomnia
  • Headache
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort

Every athlete will respond differently to caffeine ingestion as genetics play a crucial role in the way our body metabolize caffeine. The physiological and physical response may differ amongst individuals.
More specifically, variations in CYP1A2 genotype have shown to influence caffeine metabolism! You may metabolize caffeine much quicker than another athlete.

Caffeine sources: where can you find it?

Common sources of caffeine is: coffee, tea, cocoa, caffeine mouth rinsing or caffeinated gels.

My tip: As for other aspects of sports nutrition, I would recommend experimenting with caffeine during your training session.
This way you will be prepared for the competition, knowing exactly what works for you and what doesn’t.

Further reading: 
Guest, N.S., VanDusseldorp, T.A., Nelson, M.T. et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and exercise performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 18, 1 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-020-00383-4 

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