A recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2020) looked at the use of caffeine in sport to highlight its effects on exercise performance.
Caffeine is a popular substance widely used and abused by athletes and just about everybody for its stimulating effects. It is also not regulated by anti-doping agency.
This time let’s look at caffeines effects on exercise performance.
The effective dose depends on several factors, such as genetic mutations (people who react differently to caffeine), sport, the source of caffeine, and the dose of caffeine.
3-6mg / kg has proven to be the best choice, with a lower dose still having an effect and a higher one can already cause feelings of anxiety, insomnia and digestive problems.
- Ingestion of doses above 6mg / kg may lead to negative effects such as gastro-intestinal issues, anxiety, shakiness, insomnia.
- “The International Olympic Committee mandates an allowable limit of 12 μg of caffeine per ml of urine. A caffeine dose in the range of 9 to 13 mg/kg approximately one hour prior to performance will reach the maximum allowable urinary concentration for competition.” AceFitness.org
In the case of sports drinks and caffeine supplements, you know the caffeine content. It is the most reliable way to use it.
In the case of beverages such as coffee and tea, the caffeine content varies depending on several factors (variety, harvest, processing, batch …).
- Caffeine is absorbed slower when taken with food and the fastest in form of chewing gum.
- It takes 15-45 minutes for the caffeine metabolites to enter the bloodstream and peaks in about an hour.
Aerobic endurance and muscle endurance – medium effect.
Force and anaerobic power – weaker effect.
By daily consumption of caffeine the body gets used to it and builds tolerance. If you want to use caffeine to support performance during the race, you should exclude caffeine drinks 20 days in advance. If not, you will need a higher dose and the effect will not be as pronounced.
In one of the previous posts I mentioned preworkouts, specifically coffee, and why you need to be careful about when and how you use it.
Caffeine in combination with lack of sleep:
We often use caffeine for stimulation when we are tired. I definitely do not recommend practicing this because while caffeine wakes you up a bit, it can also lead to an increased risk of injury among other negative effects mentioned in the post about coffee.
Insufficient sleep in combination with caffeine leads us to make bad decisions faster, in game, during a race, but also in our private life.