Caffeine is the most well-known and consumed performance-enhancing substance today. Most people drink coffee in the morning or occasionally an energy drink, for example, before a long drive or workout. But today’s article is all about caffeine for training and mental performance.
What are the benefits of caffeine? Does it benefit your workout and mental performance? And if so, how?
Benefits of Caffeine for Sports.
As you probably know, taking caffeine leads to increased alertness and improved concentration.
However, there is also an improvement in physical performance in almost all areas. In studies, for example, bench press training (with 60% of maximal strength) has improved by 12%, allowing more training volume to be completed.
Also, the performance in endurance sports is positively influenced by the consumption of caffeine.
However, this improvement in performance does not occur in every human being to the same extent. The individual efficiency depends on the one hand on the tolerance of a person, on the other genetics play a major role.
There are people who are quasi resistant to caffeine.
Next to increase in performance caffeine offers another effect that is often used in the fitness industry:
Increasing the metabolic rate = More Kcal burned.
This effect is not very significant. Depending on the dose, about 14 – 32 Kcal more can be burned per hour.
Most important is the effect of caffeine on your strength level.
Caffeine also makes sense if you train with a low repetition ranges because it increases the blood flow and thus helps you to move more weight.
Another benefit is the effect on fatigue. Under the influence of caffeine, you experience less exhaustion and tend to work harder and longer.
Also, you will experience improved focus during training by using caffeine.
Benefits of Caffeine for Mental Performance.
Caffeine is one of the most effective and fastest brain stimulants available.
It is absorbed into the blood via your intestine and easily overcomes the blood-brain barrier.
Once in the brain, the caffeine can develop its uplifting, refreshing effect.
The effect of caffeine is based on several mechanisms that occur in your body. These include, for example, norepinephrine, adrenaline, and dopamine, which have a pain-relieving and stimulating effect in your brain.
Stimulating the nervous system also increases blood pressure and metabolism, which raises your body temperature. The blood vessels in your brain narrow and those in your guts are widening slightly.
Because of these reactions, you feel more concentrated, less fatigued, and develop that feeling of warmth.
In moderate doses caffeine also stimulates muscle and heart activity as well as respiration and metabolism.
Blood pressure and body temperature rise.
Due to the effect of messenger substances and stress hormones, attention and concentration are increased.
A 2013 study showed that caffeine has a positive effect on the ability to solve simple and complex cognitive tasks.
The effect on long-term memory was noted in 2014.
In a study by Johns Hopkins University subjects were shown pictures. One group was then given a placebo, the other part a 200 mg caffeine dose – equivalent to about two cups of coffee or three cups of espresso.
The following day, the participants were shown the same pictures. These were either identical to the pictures from the previous day, resembled them or were completely different.
And indeed, the subjects who received the caffeine were most likely to recognize the same or similar images.
Side Effects of Caffeine.
Side effects of caffeine consumption include an increased resting heart rate and sleep problems.
In some studies, influences on the blood pressure could be observed. Also, some people report anxiety as a result of daily caffeine intake.
But as long as you stay with a reasonable dosage, there is no need to worry.
Dosage for Best Benefits of Caffeine.
Now that we know the effect of caffeine, the question of the optimal dose naturally arises.
According to a recent Schoenfeld Review, the optimal dose is between 3 and 9 mg/kg body weight.
A man weighing 80 kg should, therefore, consume between 240 and 720 mg, depending, among other things, on habituation or tolerance.
A significant increase in performance can only be observed in the upper part of this recommendation (5/6 mg per kg body weight).
However, according to official recommendations, a daily dose of 400 mg should not be exceeded, in pregnant women and lactating women 200 mg.
Lastly, high doses of caffeine should only occasionally be used to increase performance, for example in a competition.
Conclusion: Benefits of Caffeine
Should you take caffeine before training?
It all depends on how you feel. Caffeine has a lot of benefits, especially because it simply makes you “awake”.
Of course, this is not always an advantage. Caffeine works for about 4 – 6 hours, which is longer than your workout.
If you work out in the morning before work and are still pretty tired, it might be useful.
However, if you want to work out just before going to bed in the evening, I would not recommend it because you are likely to have trouble falling asleep.
Generally, caffeine is a very sensible and cost-effective dietary supplement. Properly used, it intensifies your training and thus also helps to build muscle.
5 Reasons to take Caffeine.
- Increases focus
- Enhances memory
- Improves endurance
- Improves alertness
- Boosts metabolic rate
What is your take on Caffeine?