Caffeine and athletic performance
Today, nearly 75% of Americans drink coffee every day.Caffeine is most commonly-used stimulant in the world that is usually consumed through coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate. The purpose of this article is to explain how does caffeine impact on athletic performance and health.
What happens when caffeine enters the body
Our body needs about 45 to 60 minutes to digest caffeine.When it
enters the bloodstream caffeine causes a number of functions, but it
is best known for stimulative effects on the brain, although there are other physiological effects too.
Then the body is rounding blood pressure, pulse and production of stomach acid,body fats are breakind down and fatty acids are in the bloodstream.This effects can last from a few hours up to 12 hours.
But after 4 days of everyday use body develops tolerance on many effects of caffeine.For example,Blood pressure and heart rate in a person who is consuming caffeine for first time will be higher,but person who consume caffeine on daily basis will not experience significant changes.
Because caffeine increases the production of stomach acid it can worse symptoms of ulcer and couse “heartburn”.Also some others side effects that may occur are insomnia, poor sleep and anxiety.
Regural use of caffeing in evening hours might deprive the body of proper sleep resulting in a lack of energy and fatigue.
If you stop consuming caffeine suddenly you might experience withdraw symptoms like drowsiness,fatigue and
headaches.Some symptoms can accour after only 18 hours when was last time caffein consumed and may worse if you workout.But this condition can vary from person to person.
Study show that you can avoid this if you gradually lower the caffeine consumption.
Despite all the researches on this topic,the results are ambiguous and controversial.
But there is generally agree on two things :
Caffeine has no effect on high-intensity training (such as sprinting)
Caffeine can increase performance in endurance sports
How caffein effect the athletes
Glycogen is the primary source of fuel for our muscles and we feel exhausted when we spend it.Secundary fuel
is body fat.As long we have the reserves of glycogen in the body, the body can use fat for fuel.Because body didnt spend the glycogen reserves it can perform longer.Glycogen sparing begins after 15 minutes of exercising when caffeine reduces the use of glycogen as much as 50%.But of course, glycogen, which is unspent remains available during the later stages of exercise.But many studies show that athletes who use caffeine before exercise are feeling exhausted later than those who do not use caffeine.[4,5,6]Manny people belive that because of that no-feeling-of-tiredness caffeine improves endurance.
Despite the proven effects of caffeine on endurance individual results may vary.That might be because different metabolism, diet and frequency of use of caffeine.Some athletes can experience loss of performance due to the side effects that can cause caffeine.
Caffeine is considered a mild diueretic.  and therefore you need to take enough fluids during the workout so you can stay hydrated.Some athletes can also experience stomach cramps and/or diarrhea if they use caffeine.
In 2009, the professor of kinesiology Robert Motl has released a study showing that consuming caffeine can reduce muscle pain due to a chemical reaction in parts of the brain and spinal cord that are responsible for the processing of muscle pain. In the study participated 30 active athletes which were devided into two groups,one group were athletes who have never used caffeine and in the second were athletes who consumed 3-4 cups of coffee a day.
Both groups exercised for 1 hour inculing cardio and weight lifting excersize.They consumed 4mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight.Both groups reported that they have lower muscle pain in muscles,especially in the quadriceps.
Recommendations for athletes
If you choose to use caffeine here are a few tips that will help you to increase benefits of caffeine.
Take caffeine 3-4 hours before the competition
Reduce the dose of caffeine 3-4 days before competition to reduce tolerance to caffeine.
But do it gradually to lower the chances of withdraw symptoms.
Use caffeine only if you have already tried it out in different situations and types of training
In order to know how your body reacts to it.Never try something new on the day of the competition.
The recommended dose of caffeine
Recommended dose according to Mayo Clinic is 400 mg per day, which is approximately
four cups of coffee or six cups of tea.
Note If you are pregnant or nursing you should not consume more then 200 mg caffein.
Kids (13 to 18) years old should not consume more then 100 mg of caffein.
There are also studies that show that caffein might be addictive and high doses of it (300 mg) daily can lead to anxiety.
I written might because there is also study that says it might not be addictive and because of that this researches are contravrsial.
I personally do not use caffeine at the moment,although I have tried it.I am not either guys who drink coffe on daily basis.I have test my body with caffeine and I discovered that my body is not reacint very well to it.I realized that I sweat alot more and I perform longer when I take it but here were side effects also.My training is usually at 6 , I would take it at 5 but then I couldt sleep till 2/3 hours.On the days when I wasnt taking it I could go to bed around 12.Btw,my dose of “caffeine” was about 2 cups of coffee which is approximately 200 mg of caffeine.Thats why I stopped using caffeine.And yeah coffe was strong coffe nescafe.If you want to learn more about the benefits of caffeine for athletes I recommend you this book.
Dews, P.B. Caffeine Research: An International Overview. Paper presented at a meeting of the International Life Sciences Institute, Sidney, July 1986.
Conlee, R.K. Amphetamines, caffeine, and cocaine. In: Perspectives in Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Volume 4, Ergonomics – Enhancement of Performance in Exercise and Sport, edited by D.R. Lamb and M.H. Williams. Carmel, IN: Benchmark Press, 1990, pp. 285-328.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Caffeine Reduces Pain During Exercise, Study Shows.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090330200831.htm>.