Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it increases the sympathetic nervous system: these systems prepare the organism for stress by increasing heart rate and blood flow to muscles. This is the principal reason why it could be useful in cyclical and endurance sports like ultra marathon, IRONMAN and cycling.
There are other functions that could enhance performance:
- It could increase the use of lipids for energy performance through beta oxidation.
- It could be part of muscle contraction. These are the reasons why it would improve sensations in the athlete´s performance.
CAFFEINE RECOMMENDATIONS IN SPORTS PERFORMANCE
To be useful as an ergogenic aid, we should consume significant amounts, but in safe doses because it could have side effects like tachycardia, anxiety and bad sleeping.
Actual recommendations are between 3 and 9 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight, approximately 60 min prior to exercise. This could be translated into 200 mg of caffeine in a person weighing 60 kg.
STRATEGIES TO MEET CAFFEINE NEEDS
If we consider the athlete that is weighing 60 kg and should be incorporating 200 mg of caffeine, we could translate it in different alternatives:
Caffeine tablet is the most practical, because it is presented in big doses each tablet (50 mg, 100 mg and 200 mg per tablet), which is the equivalent of 3 espressos (80 mg caffeine each one) , or 600 ml energy drink or 4 glucose gel (30 to 50 mg caffeine each).
Caffeine could enhance sports performance, but we should consider correct planning with a professional looking for practicality, logistics and correct doses.