Caffeine and Sports Performance

Ever wanted to know how caffeine impacts training and performance? Well, here are the highlights of where a little research led:

Caffeine, also referred to as 1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine is extremely popular (as I’m sure you know); it’s the worlds most consumed pharmacological drug.

Prior to the early 2000’s caffeine was a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), now due to it ubiquitous use it is regarded as a controlled substance (you can use it in normal doses, just don’t get too crazy there Jack!)

Caffeine has been researched thoroughly and is documented to increase endurance in athletes who’s need for performance is GREATER than 3 minutes. It has also been shown that it is ineffective and perhaps even hampers performance in speed and power sports lasting LESS than 3 minutes (weightlifting, sprinting, etc.)

One of the key attributes to caffeine is that it lowers an athlete’s perceived excursion, giving you the feeling you’re not working as hard as you actually are.

Proper Dose: 1-3 mg per kg of body weight, taken about 1 hour before exercise. This is a relatively low does when compared to the average Starbucks latte, and studies have found that higher doses DO NOT improve performance and can actually yield unwanted side effects.

Contrary to what many practice, try to avoid coffee as your source of caffeine. Studies show that coffee does not offer the same performance improvement other sources such as gels, or teas. Other chemicals in the coffee counter the ergogenic effects of the caffeine. With coffee comes difficulty in tracking the exact amount of caffeine you are ingesting which makes proper dosing nearly impossible.


Coffee is not the best source of caffeine.

You can fail many athletic drug tests for abnormally large levels of caffeine.

Caffeine will make you feel like you’re trying less than you actually are.

Caffeine can be good for performances over 3 minutes, and is less effective the shorter the duration of the performance.

1-3 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight, 1 hour before exercise is the recommended dose.

Everyone is different, don’t just assume caffeine will improve your performance. It’s effects are different for everyone.


Want more info? This summary was sourced from: – Caffeine for Improved Athletic Performance – The Facts About Caffeine and Athletic Performance

NRC Research Press – Caffeine and Sports Performance

Human Kinetics – How Caffeine Impacts Sports Performance


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