Various studies have shown that caffeine has performance-enhancing effects for athletes, provided it's taken in the correct dose, at the right time, and (perhaps most crucially), by an athlete that responds to it.
You see, individual responses to caffeine differ, resulting in enhanced performance in most people, with some being non-responders and others responding negatively.
Caffeine content (ave)
- Ground coffee 80-90mg
- Instant coffee 60mg
- Espresso 45 – 100mg
- Tea/green tea 40mg
- Energy / sports drinks up to 100mg
- Can of cola 40mg
- Energy gel 25 – 40mg
- Chocolate (54g) 40mg
There are a variety of factors to consider when trying to gauge how caffeine consumption will enhance your performance. A low to moderate dose of 3-6mg / kg body weight has been found to be effective, and there is no benefit in higher doses. Coffee, energy drinks and gels are most commonly used, however the performance enhancing effects of caffeine are even greater when consumed in the anhydrous state (powder form).
It is important to experiment in training to determine timing for optimal performance, at the lowest effective caffeine dose; the “more is better” philosophy does not apply! Most athletes choose to supplement 15 – 60 minutes prior to an event. Beneficial effects are experienced for 1-3 hours in regular caffeine users (300mg/day) and 6 hours in non-users (<50mg/day). Of course, effects may extend beyond this point dependant on individual response.
Image by Jason Betz on Unsplash