Supplementation for performance: Caffeine

Caffeine is one of the most widely used drugs in the world, it can be consumed for its effects upon alertness and wakefulness (I’m sure we have all been guilty of this at some point!) or its perks upon the metabolic pathways and the central nervous system (exercise performance). Caffeine can be consumed in various ways such as tablets, powders, gum and liquids. Each method of intake can vary with how beneficial its effects are upon exercise. The rate of delivery between methods varies greatly. For example, after consumption of liquid (digested) caffeine it can take up to an hour for peak caffeine levels to occur whereas in a gum or rinse, peak caffeine levels can occur within half the time. After the recent completion of my dissertation which investigated the effects of caffeine upon exercise I would recommended digested caffeine (coffee, Nocco etc) rather than alternatives (mouth rinse, gum) and to consume them 60-30 minutes pre-exercise.

Consuming caffeine for sport can be beneficial for endurance exercise, high intensity workouts and maximum muscular contractions. Caffeine acts as a stimulant which increases motor unit recruitment (muscles used) when performing muscular contractions. Also, caffeine tends to decrease the perceived exertion during exercise, this can make that workout which you have been dreading for the past month feel easier than expected or to push a little harder to get that PB.  Caffeine can also be useful outside of the sporting environment. E.g if it’s been a long day at work and feel like you need a ‘new lease of life’ then caffeine could give you the extra kick you need.

The main methods of consuming caffeine are through coffee or we also stock cans of ‘Nocco’ which can be a great tasty alternative for that quick caffeine fix. On average a cup coffee can contain around 90-100mg of caffeine. A can of Nocco contains 180mg of caffeine but also contains key amino acids which are the building blocks that make up protein. This caffeine content is low enough to avoid any side effects, but sufficient to cause the desired response.

So, if you’re looking for an extra edge within a workout or are just feeling a bit run down then caffeine could be the answer!