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Caffeine and Performance

Caffeine is recognised as one of the world’s most widely consumed stimulants. It’s a highly favored ingredient used by everyone from healthy adults to performance-driven athletes. The best part is that caffeine can be used in an everyday gym setting and beyond. It can be seen in a multitude of indoor/outdoor activities, among competitive sports and within high-intensity activities. Caffeine can help to support both mental and physical performance whether you’re training in the gym, track or field.

What is Caffeine?

So what is this stimulant that we tend to reach for everyday? 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine - otherwise commonly known as caffeine. It’s known as a stimulant, because it helps to stimulate the central nervous system. Many healthy adults use caffeine on a daily basis in one form or another. It’s naturally found within some plants and seeds and known to be naturally-occurring in 60+ plants. More specifically, caffeine can be found in sources such as coffee beans, tea leaves, kola nuts, cocoa beans, guarana and yerba mate. Today, caffeine can be seen in a variety of foods and countless beverages. However, the majority of caffeine is from beverages such as coffee, soft drinks, and tea.

Why Use Caffeine?

The reasons behind why an individual reaches for caffeine varies. Some may use caffeine as part of their morning routine, a mid-day pick me up or attempt to stay alert or improve concentration. However, performance-driven individuals may look at caffeine a bit differently. Caffeine as known as an ergogenic aid, meaning it can help the body perform better during physical activity. It can be used during events that demand exceptional physical feats, high-intensity activities, endurance activities, sports, competitive events, and beyond. Ultimately, caffeine may serve many different purposes depending on the individual. However, when it comes to performance – caffeine remains a staple go-to ingredient for many.

Timing of Caffeine Intake

How caffeine impacts the body varies from person to the person. This in part due to individual differences. Every individual metabolizes caffeine a little bit differently. So, when you consume caffeine depends on you and even why you are using it. You may find that some individuals sip on caffeine before and/or during their activity. Both are acceptable, however an ideal time to caffeinate is before an activity. More specifically, at least 30-60 minutes prior to activity. Here’s why. Caffeine can take as little as fifteen minutes to two hours to have stimulating effect once consumed. After ingestion, the effects of caffeine can last for approximately four to six hours. Make the most of your activity and give your body time to let caffeine kick in. Plan caffeine consumption accordingly and find what works best for you.

How Much Caffeine is Right for You?

Everyone tolerates caffeine differently so the amount needed depends on you, your body and activity.  Some people may be more sensitive to caffeine than others. A range between 75 to 200mg of caffeine can help to support endurance, energy and focus. Some athletes may desire more or less. One athlete may be fine with a cup of coffee whereas another may be reaching for a high stimulant pre-workout. The right amount is what is right for you.

Remember caffeine can be naturally found within select beverages, but individuals with sporting or exercise goals may seek supplemental forms to help support their performance. Always read the label first to find the amount of caffeine listed. You can easily customize caffeine supplement for what is most appropriate for you and any activity. Many times supplements are pretty versatile – where you can increase or decrease amounts as desired. When it comes to caffeine, more isn’t always better, the effects of caffeine varies in each individual. Consume in moderation, understand your tolerance and be mindful of total daily intake. Too much caffeine may cause nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness, and occasionally rapid heartbeat.

Caffeine Recap

Caffeine is widely accepted from lifestyle to performance. Many tend to connect caffeine as a pre-workout ingredient solely for gym-based activities. However, caffeine is more than just for gym-goers. Caffeine can be used by performance-driven individuals including endurance athletes, team sport athletes and strength athletes. Overall, 75 to 200mg of caffeine can help to support endurance and focus. Plan ahead as caffeine takes time to metabolise and the body to take effect. Recommend consuming at least 30-60 minutes prior to physical activity. Caffeine can be found in common foods and drinks, but for performance driven individuals looking to support endurance and focus – supplement as desired.