The Power of a Cup of Coffee

Pretty much everybody recognizes that caffeine is a powerful drug. Over half the population drinks it every day to wake up, have more energy through the day, or just for the comfort of it. Caffeine is also heavily used but athletes and lifters with the substance being the primary acting ingredient in most pre workout formulas. Often we think that more is always better. With caffeine, the body will certainly have a greater response to a greater intake of caffeine, but usually comes with side effects such as increased heart rate and possibly nervousness or anxiety if taken before competition. But what about just one cup of coffee?

The researchers Cannon and Nedergaard compiled research analyzing the effects of low doses of caffeine on sports performance. They found that just the equivalent of 1-2 cups of coffee worth of caffeine provides an ergogenic effect without the typical side effects of high doses of caffeine. One study observed a 4.2 second decrease in 1500m time with a 200mg dose of caffeine. Another study performed on soccer and rugby players observed significant decreases in short sprint time and vertical jump height. Also a study found significant increases in weight lifted in highly experienced lifters with only the equivalent of 2 cups of coffee.

Besides strictly physical improvements with caffeine supplementation, caffeine has also been shown to significantly increase vigilance, reaction speed, and mood. Not only is this advantageous in sports where decisions must be made in a very short window of time, but also in technical sports or lifts where precision in movement must be executed.

Although it is not bad to take larger doses of caffeine if the side effects to not detract from performance, it is important to be aware that lower doses of caffeine, like one cup of coffee, can also provide an extra benefit without the cost. Invest in a thermos or pre workout (like EFM’s Stammpede) and try out a small does of caffeine before your next workout!

See the entire research review here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4213371/

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