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Can caffeine improve my sports performance?

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Can caffeine improve my sports performance?

Around the world, many people have a cup of coffee in the morning for the caffeine hit, to wake them up and get them going for the day. Did did you know that caffeine can also be used as a performance aid for athletes?

What does the science say?

Caffeine works by binding to specific receptors in our brain, and acts as a stimulant to make us feel more awake and alert. It also increases focus and productivity, making it a popular habit before the workday.

How does this effect sports performance? A recent review of the evidence surrounding caffeine use for improvement in athletic performance showed promising results. When taken prior to exercising, or competing in athletic events, caffeine was found to improve performance by 2-6% due to its effects on the body as a stimulant. It was found that caffeine intake can improve an athlete’s ability to cycle or run for longer periods of time and can also improve time trials. It may also improve your workout in the gym, by allowing you to lift heavier weights or complete more repetitions of an exercise.

How much caffeine do I need to get results?

Studies suggest that the optimal amount of caffeine is 3-6mg/kg of body weight. So, if you weigh 70kg this equates to approximately 210 - 420mg of caffeine, or around 2 cups of coffee. However, this amount can be different for everybody, and depends on how sensitive you are to caffeine, and whether you suffer any adverse side effects, like feelings of anxiousness or stomach upsets. Start small, and experiment to find what gives you the best workout.

Caffeine content in coffee also differs between the type of coffee, the preparation method, the size of your cup, the type of beans, and the brand. Averaged out, a cup of coffee usually contains 90-160mg of caffeine.

What are the best caffeine containing products?

When you think about caffeine you first think of coffee. While this is a common source of caffeine, there are other options to choose from. Other food and drinks that contain caffeine include tea, hot chocolate, cola soft drink, energy drinks and chocolate. In addition, there are several specially designed caffeine containing sports products such as caffeinated sports gels, pre-workout supplements and even chewing gums and gummies. All of these products have shown to have similar effects on improving sports performance. Always remember when you’re choosing a caffeine source to check the caffeine content of the product, as it will differ between products and brands.

How long should I have caffeine before my workout?

Caffeine usually has the best effects when consumed 45 - 90 minutes before exercise. This will differ slightly for everyone, so it’s best to try it out and find what works best for you.

Are there any negative side effects of caffeine consumption?

Consuming high levels of caffeine has the potential to cause a decline in sports performance due to the following negative side effects:

  • Increased heart rate and heart palpitations
  • Impaired fine motor control
  • Anxiety and over-arousal
  • Sleep disturbances and delayed sleep onset
  • Gastrointestinal upset

Overall, caffeine can be used to improve sports performance, however it’s important to find what amount and sources work best for your body and make sure you don’t overconsume.

Your Personal Healthy Eating Quiz

What you eat or don’t eat affects how you look, feel and perform. Take our short quiz to find out what foods you could introduce to help you be your best.

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What is healthy eating?

Eating healthy is making sure you enjoy a wide variety of foods from each of the five major food groups daily, in the amounts recommended. The five major food groups as recommended by the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating are:

  1. vegetables and legumes/bean
  2. fruit
  3. lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes/beans
  4. grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties
  5. milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced fat.

Foods are grouped together because they provide similar amounts of key nutrients and eating a variety of foods from the list above helps to promote good health and reduce the risk of disease.

How do I improve my diet?

If you want to improve your diet you have come to the right place. By completing the Healthy Eating Quiz you’ll receive instant personalised feedback and a report on your diet quality to highlight any areas where you can improve your overall eating habits. Your score is based on the frequency and variety of the foods consumed from the five major food groups mentioned above. No Money No Time can help you improve your score by providing tips, goals and suggestions. On top of this we will provide quick, cheap and healthy recipes as well as credible answers to diet hacks, myths and FAQ’s.

Is my diet healthy?

Dietary habits are different between people. Some people choose to follow a particular diet (i.e., Keto diet or vegan diet) while some have to make changes due to certain food restrictions or health conditions. If you want to know if what you usually eat is healthy, then do the Healthy Eating Quiz today to give you the answers in less than 10 minutes.

Why is healthy eating important?

Your HEQ score and personalised feedback report is based on the frequency and variety of healthy core foods you usually eat. This is important because no single food contains all the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Some foods are higher in nutrients than others and people who have a lot of variety in the foods they eat are more likely to be healthy and to stay healthy. In other words, if you can eat a large variety of vegetables as opposed to only 2-3 types of vegetables, the benefits are much greater. This type of diet also helps you to feel better, think better and perform better during your usual daily activities.

Take the Healthy Eating Quiz