This is a commonly used stimulant, and often taken by people before they participate in a race or sporting event. Don’t worry, it is legal, socially acceptable and you have probably already had some today.
The drug? Caffeine of course.
Caffeine is absorbed quickly and peaks in the blood in about 1-2 hours.
In the 1970s it was thought to alter your exercise metabolism. By the 1980s, many studies disagreed and it was assumed that it didn’t enhance performance at all.
Recent studies suggest that 3-9mg of caffeine (per kilogram of body mass) one hour before you exercise increases endurance. In other words, 1-3 mugs of coffee an hour before you start your exercise.
While it’s interesting to play around with seeing if a visit to the coffee shop will help you get a PB in a race or give you an extra boost at the gym, there are a few things to consider before taking it too seriously and setting up a drip in the office...
The studies were only carried out on elite athletes instead of the average person in the street. There are also, of course, potential side effects ranging from anxiety, jitters and an inability to focus, to the risk of heart arrhythmias and mild hallucinations!
Oh, and most studies have used pure caffeine rather than taking it in a drink, so the effect might not be the same. Hydration is an important aspect of exercise, so taking large quantities of this diuretic might not be such a good idea.
Despite caffeine’s bragging…the best advice on how to improve, is still to train hard, keep hydrated and if you like coffee then have a play and see what works for you!