Pretty much all credible sports scientists agree caffeine can boost performance. It appears that the most measurable benefits that come from caffeine ingestion are most relevant during longer bouts of continuous endurance exercise.
But, in reality, there are few sports where it’s not used to try to improve energy levels, focus, concentration and even power or speed. Suffice to say that it’s certainly something worth considering if you’re looking for an additional edge in your endurance racing and training and you’re not using it already.
So, we asked our friends over at TrueStart Performance Coffee for their take on how caffeine can help you boost your performance and the evidence they have unearthed to support that...
Caffeine benefits for athletes
1. TRAIN & RACE HARDER
Train hard, race easy! This study found that caffeine makes your mind think your body isn’t working as hard as it actually is, called your ‘rate of perceived exertion’, or RPE. This means you can push yourself harder.
2. GO FASTER
Good news for your PB – this study on runners and caffeinated coffee found that caffeine improves both speed and performance.
3. GO LONGER
If you’re planning on increasing your endurance and stepping up to a longer distance, more good news. Caffeine improves endurance by helping your body burn fat more easily, meaning you can save your carbohydrate stores for peak intensity periods during training.
4. IMPROVE FOCUS & MENTAL PERFORMANCE
Caffeine can benefit mental performance. This study found that even low doses of caffeine improve alertness, vigilance, cognitive processes and even your mood, both during and after exercise. Remember, the PF 30 Caffeine Gel contains 100mg of caffeine, as well as 30g of carbohydrate.
5. RECOVER FASTER
Astudy by the American Physiological Society found that caffeine after exercise helps muscles refuel faster, by increasing the rate at which your muscles absorb glycogen. Great news if your training sessions are tough and close together.
How to use caffeine during exercise
Caffeine sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? We’re all keen on a good coffee to get us going, but what about when you have too much? When your coffee makes you feel wired, or your caffeine gel doesn’t go down well?
You can have too much of a good thing – which you’ll be very aware of if you’ve ever had adverse side effects from a mild caffeine overdose. These can include jitters, headaches and stomach problems. Synthetic caffeine gels and pills can get absorbed into your bloodstream more quickly than natural caffeine, causing an energy spike followed by a familiar crash.
So, if you're looking to add caffeine to your fueling strategy, it's worth checking out these blogs in order first: