So it’s race day and you’ve heard you should load up on caffeine before the event to improve your performance. But is it right for you? Today, I’ll talk about the science behind caffeine use for athletes so you can weight the pros and cons before race day.
Caffeine is well studied for its use in athletics and is seen as an ergogenic aid, or performance booster. While caffeine can mobilize free fatty acids during exercise, it doesn’t really enhance fat loss nor does caffeine spare muscle glycogen. Caffeine is a central nervous stimulant that allows the athlete to feel super-charged by reducing their perceived effort. So basically, you can push it harder without feeling as much fatigue with using caffeine. Caffeine may also be effective with strength training because it can aid in activating muscle fibers and delay onset of fatigue.
Many sports associations have regulations around the use of caffeine. In the NCAA it’s a banned substance, in that the athlete can only have “normal” amounts or no more than 15ug/mL in the urine. Since everyone metabolizes caffeine differently it’s hard to know how much caffeine you can take without showing a positive drug test. Upper intakes are likely to be reached with using caffeine pills and energy drinks, where as drinking a couple cups of tea or coffee is likely to be safe. But of course it’s still a take at your own risk supplement.
To get the sports enhancing affect, you have to have a good amount of caffeine in the blood, which seems to be around 4 to 6mg/kg body weight (1 kg= pounds/2.2) within an hour before exercise. For 130 pound (59kg) athlete, the dosage would be about 300mg.
Caffeine is no longer thought to cause dehydration, but the downside to using caffeine could be nervousness, anxiety, increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, GI distress, insomnia, addiction, and headaches.
So if you want to pump up the caffeine before your race, please practice this during your training or you might have some unwanted side effects. This Eggnog Frappuccino is oh so tasty and digests fast enough for most athletes to drink within an hour before competition or training.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, have you tried caffeine before an event or workout, or do you prefer to be decaffinated?
Need a seasonal energy boost? Try this easy recipe for an Eggnog Frappuccino! Tweet this
- 1-2 teaspoons instant coffee
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup Bolthouse Farms Eggnog
- 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
- 1 1/2 cup ice
- pinch of nutmeg, for dusting
- Place coffee, banana, eggnog, protein powder, and ice in a blender and process until frothy and ice is crushed.
- Pour into glass and sprinkle with nutmeg.