How Caffeine Affects Your Performance
Caffeine is recognized 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. With increased movement comes an increased need to stay energized – so it’s no wonder why caffeine remains part of their routine.
The best part is that caffeine can be used in an everyday gym setting and beyond. It can be used in a multitude of indoor/outdoor activities, during competitive sports and to help power high-intensity activities. Caffeine can help supply energy 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 daily? 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 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, a majority of caffeine consumed is from beverages like coffee, soft drinks, and tea.
Why Use Caffeine?
The reasons behind why an individual reaches for caffeine vary. Some may use caffeine as part of their morning routine, a mid-day pick-me-up or an attempt to fight fatigue. However, performance-driven individuals may look at caffeine a bit differently. Caffeine is known as an ergogenic aid, meaning it can help the body perform better during physical activity. Caffeine can be used to help support endurance, energy, and focus. It can be used during situations 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 person. This in part is due to individual differences. Every individual metabolizes caffeine a 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 may be more sensitive to caffeine, whereas others might be desensitized to the equivalent amount. A range between 100 to 350mg 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 performance individuals 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 supplements 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 vary 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 use 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 not just for gym-goers. Caffeine can be used by performance-driven individuals including endurance, team sport and strength athletes. Overall, 100 to 350mg of caffeine can help to support endurance, energy, and focus. Plan ahead as caffeine takes time to metabolize in the body and take effect. It is recommend to consume caffeine at least 30-60 minutes prior to physical activity. Caffeine can be found in foods, but for performance driven individuals looking to support endurance, energy and focus – use supplements as desired.