Coffee and caffeine can enhance athletic performance. Up until 2004 the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) banned caffeine for its unfair advantages. If an athlete had over 1,200 mg of caffeine or about 8 cups of strong coffee in their bodies they could have been banned from competing. In 2004 the WADA lifted the ban but not without controversy since many exercise physiologists believe that caffeine can be a powerful aid in enhancing athletic endurance and performance.
How does caffeine improve performance?
Caffeine stimulates the brain and central nervous system. Caffeine tells the body to ignore fatigue. Caffeine increases the release of adrenaline. Caffeine makes the body burn fat as fuel as apposed to carbohydrates sparing glycogen stores. Caffeine may even affect the muscle themselves by causing a stronger contraction. What really makes caffeine special is that most performance enhancing aids just help one component of performance, either speed, strength or endurance. While caffeine can improve all three speed, strength and endurance.
Why is coffee a good choice for athletes?
The health benefits of coffee are well documented. Coffee could lower your risk of diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and colon cancer. Coffee can lift your mood and treat a headache. Coffee is low in calories, high in antioxidants and minerals like magnesium. Studies have shown that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are 80% less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. Two cups of coffee a day can reduce your risk for colon cancer by 25% and drop your risk of liver cirrhosis by 80%.
What are the risks of caffeine and coffee for athletes?
First of all caffeine is a diuretic. Diuretics can dehydrate the body and cause stomach upset. You should make sure you’re properly hydrated when consuming caffeinated beverages. Caffeine is also a thermogenic. It can raise your body temperature and heart rate so you must be careful while performing in the heat. In addition, too much caffeine can have adverse effects. More then 500mg can affect performance and mood so you should experiment and be careful. Listen to your body. Too much of a good thing will always get you in trouble.
Other considerations for athletes.
Most of the enhanced effects from caffeine are seen in hard working athletes. The harder your workout the more benefit you will see. The fitness enthusiast who works out moderately and wants to lose a few pounds will not see too much benefit from caffeine. The athlete who works long and hard will see the most improvements.
Coffee accounts for about 70% of the caffeine we consume each day. Soft drinks about 15% and tea 10%. Here is a list of the average caffeine levels of popular beverages:
– Starbucks coffee, tall 300mg
– Starbucks coffee, grande 400mg
– Starbucks coffee, venti 500mg
– Starbucks decaf coffee, tall 10mg
– Coffee, filtered drip 100mg
– Starbucks Espresso, Sols 90mg
– Black tea (8oz) 50mg
– Green tea (8oz) 30 mg
– Coca-Cola (20oz) 60 mg
– Red Bull (80z) 80mg
Best- Mike Cola