The Positive Effects of Caffeine on Sports Training
Caffeine is a controversial substance; there are many myths surrounding it saying it’s good, it’s bad, who can consume it, and who can’t. For those that routinely exercise or are training for certain sports, the positive effects of caffeine are quite interesting.
What is caffeine?
Caffeine is an alkaloid substance that naturally comes from the leaves and seeds of certain plants. Among those, we find coffee, of course, guarana, yerba mate, and tea; in certain types of caffeine products, you can find strands such as theine or guaranine.
In an analysis of all of these products, it’s clear that the molecules of these plants are the same alkaloid, with the difference that some contain other substances.
We consider it to be a kind of drug since it acts on the central nervous system; it increases our alert levels, it’s stimulating and can disturb our perceptions slightly. A high percentage of the population worldwide consume it daily.
Despite the effects it has on the nervous system, we don’t consider caffeine consumption to be a type of doping, so there’s no need to worry. Some organizations, however, do consider it doping, but only when taken in very high concentrations that almost no one consumes.
Positive effects of caffeine on athletes
Today there are many studies about caffeine’s relationship to sport. The most important discovery is that it has, and has demonstrated, ergogenic effects.
The term ergogenic refers to the medication, compounds, or substances that contribute to an increase in muscle strength. In other words, ergogenic aid improves the body’s capacity, which therefore affects performance.
The ergogenic effects of this substance vary according to the physical condition of the athlete, the intensity of the exercise they do. and the time and duration of the same. People also say that caffeine is a fat-burner, but for certain athletes, this kind of effect isn’t the most significant attribute. They’re more concerned with how it improves performance.
In addition to this, among the positive effects of caffeine, we can find that it:
- Reduces tiredness
- Contributes to the function of the circulation system
- Improves concentration
- Improves alertness
- Combats fatigue
- Stimulates breathing
How do athletes consume caffeine?
When is it best to consume it?
Caffeine acts and reaches its maximum level of concentration in the body an hour after consuming it. This is important to bear in mind when considering an athlete’s performance.
On the other hand, specialists recommend athletes remove it from their diets and only include it when they compete. The reason for this is that after consuming caffeine habitually, it doesn’t have as strong an impact on the body.
Positive effects of caffeine: how much to consume?
The recommended quantity of caffeine to consume is between 0.0001 and 0.0002 ounces for every 2.2 pounds of weight; consuming anything more than 0.018 ounces a day isn’t a good idea. Although we don’t consider it to be a toxic substance, it’s not good to consume it in excess.
What’s the best way to consume caffeine?
Some drinks contain caffeine, such as coffee or tea; also drinks such as cola and some energy drinks. However, specialists most recommend products made especially for athletes; in those supplements, caffeine comes in a dehydrated form, as such, you can control the dosage and avoid adverse effects of such drinks.
Positive effects of caffeine and the myth surrounding dehydration
Many people believe that this substance is a diuretic and consuming it when exercising can cause dehydration. There’s no evidence that caffeine produces any problem or inequality regarding the body’s liquids.
Some effects to bear in mind
As with any other substance, caffeine can have adverse effects. Among them we can find:
- Addiction: although it may not be obvious, people that often consume caffeine develop a daily need for it. It becomes a difficult habit to break.
- Insomnia: some people who consume caffeine develop sleeping problems, irritability, or nervousness. This can also happen when we remove it from the daily diet, you could say that these are mild withdrawal symptoms
- Stomach issues: certain people may have a low tolerance to caffeine and as such, it can cause different types of stomach issues.
Everybody is different. Each athlete must consider their condition, their past achievements, and the kind of sport they partake in, in order to determine if consuming caffeine is a good idea. Specialists recommend caffeine for people involved in rugby, soccer, cycling, and other intense sports.