The difference between winning an Olympic gold medal and finishing fourth can feel like a million miles apart, so it is no surprise that some athletes – those in the minority – have looked at ways to try and cheat the rules and use banned substances to try and improve their performance. Cheats will always be caught, so why don’t they just take the advice of the International Society of Sports Nutrition and find out more about the relationship between caffeine and sports performance?
Experts have known for years that an increased sports performance after the consumption of coffee is directly linked to the caffeine in coffee rather than the coffee itself. You can search the Internet and find comprehensive evidence that proves that caffeine has an ergogenic consequence which can improve the physical performance of a sports person.
Caffeine is good for endurance sports
The evidence that you find will show that caffeine works well for these people where a substantial element of aerobic activity, which lasts for more than five minutes, is productive. In theory, caffeine will aid runners, cyclists and rowers. During endurance exercising, coffee containing standard levels of caffeine improves time trial performances. Other tests suggest the caffeine also reduces muscle pain for aerobic sports.
The International Society of Sports Nutrition has issued a position statement to make clear their thoughts and observations of how caffeine can supplement and aid sports performance.
The European Food Safety Authority has clarified that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between a sports person’s intake of caffeine and their improvement in their endurance performance. Nevertheless, their reviews suggest that there is not necessarily a close relationship between caffeine and any short-term, high intensity, activities.
Caffeine works on the brain
The adenosine receptors, found in your brain, are triggered by the caffeine. They tell your body to increase the production of adrenaline which helps stimulate the production of energy and helps improve the flow of blood to your muscles and your heart.
Caffeine also adjusts and adapts your levels of fatigue which means that when you have any perceived exertions or pain, the caffeine will send out messages to your body’s system to provide energy and reduce pain.
The people at the International Society of Sports Nutrition are confident that improvements in team performances in sports like football and hockey, which will includes several extended durations of sports activity, where several smaller bouts of a much higher intensity during part of the playing time are positive. They closely examined the effect of just 6 mg/kg of caffeine, considered a moderate dose, in amateur rugby union players.
The activities that the sample players took part in were specifically designed to appear like two halves of a rugby match, complete with a 10 minute half-time period. The outstanding performance results suggested a 10% improvement in the accuracy of the player’s ball passing. Those taking a placebo successfully passed the ball 83% of the time, whereas those with caffeine showed a marked improvement score of 90%.
The second set of results indicated that people who had taken on the appropriate level of caffeine, maintained a high level of the ability to repeat sprints.
Maybe footballers and other sports people will now replace their cold sports drinks with a cup of coffee before the match and at half-time.
Damien Higgins is a keen sportsman who writes for office coffee machine supplier Eden Springs.