To improve physical performance, professionals often rely on caffeine. In fact, this stimulus of athletic performance has been studied for a very long time. Back in 2004, the anti-doping World listed coffee as a banned substance, and only in 2017 was there a restriction on the levels of caffeine that athletes can have in their bodies.
One of the reasons why professionals use caffeine is to increase endurance. In fact, one study found that athletes who consumed caffeine before running could run more miles without getting tired compared to those who took a placebo. Even the perception of the athlete’s efforts changes, so they last longer by performing an activity.
According to the researchers, this is due to the fact that caffeine blocks the adenosine A1 receptor, which is known to promote sleep, which helps control the feeling of drowsiness and fatigue.
Caffeine also increases anaerobic performance, which means that caffeine can allow an athlete to lift more weight or run faster because it directly affects how muscle fibers contract at the cellular level. So the stronger the contraction, the heavier you can lift or run faster.
Another reason is that caffeine temporarily raises testosterone levels, which increases strength or performance while running. However, one espresso is not enough to activate such performance, but research has shown that an athletic boost requires 6 mg/kg (of weight) caffeine, or that would mean that if you weigh 198 pounds, you need 540 milligrams of caffeine. By comparison, a can of Red Bull contains 80 milligrams of caffeine, a cup of strong coffee 140 milligrams.
On the other hand, consuming large amounts of caffeine can lead to gastrointestinal problems or sleep problems. So you will have to experiment with how much is enough for you, although some researchers think that the increase in performance is due to the placebo effect.
Caffeine consumption is best done one hour before training (it still depends on whether on an empty or full stomach and depending on your physiology), but keep in mind that even after 5-6 hours half of the caffeine you have ingested will remain in your body until it is completely ejected.
Remember that caffeine is a drug against which you can develop tolerance. Therefore, it is important to consume a progressive increase in the amount (start with smaller doses, say 200 milligrams, and gradually increase but do not exceed the limit). For the same reason, cyclical consumption is required (after a certain period of consumption, you should take a break).
In addition to taking care not to develop tolerance, you need to be careful about addiction. For this reason, it is important to make a consumption schedule and of course to consume caffeine only if you need it (intense physical activity).
The body’s reaction and tolerance to caffeine is a very individual matter, so it’s important to adjust your dosage and timing to yourself while keeping an eye on the risks.