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Running On Caffeine

READ TIME:2 min.

Are you using caffeine as a helpful tool or a training crutch?

Everything from pre-workout shots to endurance gels are loaded with caffeine these days. But does it actually help you train and boost your performance? Here are a few FAQs that should help clarify your caffeine related questions.

Will caffeine improve my endurance?
Caffeine has been shown to influence many different types of exercise, but particularly endurance exercise. Some studies have even shown that using caffeine properly can increase your endurance performance by upwards of 20% .

When should I consume caffeine?
Studies have shown that caffeine is significantly less effective 2 hours or more after initial ingestion. I would recommend consuming caffeine 30–60 minutes prior to the start of your exercise .

How much caffeine is an ideal amount to consume pre-run?
This will be dependant upon your current level of caffeine dependency. Most research has seen the best results around 6 mg/kg, but some research has shown 3–6 mg/kg to be the most effective amount of caffeine.

Should I consume caffeine mid-workout?
Since caffeine has a rather rapid turnover, if you’re performing exercise that lasts 60 minutes or more, refuel with caffeine every 45–60 minutes. When you refuel, decrease your consumption to no more than 1–2 mg/kg.

Will caffeine make me dehydrated?
Caffeine is a diuretic, which means that if consumed in large quantities it can disrupt your fluid balance, causing you to lose an excessive amount of water. Make sure not to pair lots of caffeinated beverages and foods together in order to keep your consumption well-balanced. Regularly drinking water throughout the day will also help you stay hydrated.

Does caffeine have the same effect on habitual users?
Caffeine is generally most effective for those who don’t have a strong dependency. The more caffeine you consume on a regular basis, the more you will need to consume in order for the caffeine to have an effect. But even if you’re a regular consumer of caffeine, a 4-day caffeine withdrawal can have a significant influence of caffeine’s effect on your body .

Is caffeine effective in all different forms?
As it turns out, starting your morning off with a cup of joe and then heading off on a long run is not as effective as consuming caffeine through a more readily available source . The more accessible the caffeine is, the more effective it will be. That means pre-workout supplements, gels, and shots can be beneficial to your training.

How does caffeine postpone fatigue?
Caffeine is a stimulant, which gives it the ability to postpone the onset of muscular fatigue . And since caffeine lowers your RPE (rate of perceived exertion) at the same workload, that’s why it’s able to help increase your performance.

Becca Capell
iFit Head Trainer

WARNING: This post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. iFit assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article


References

1. Doherty, M, Smith, P.M. Effects of caffeine ingestion on exercise testing: a meta-analysis. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2004, 14, 626-646
2. Fisher S.M., McMurray R.G., Berry M., Mar M.H., Forsythe W.A., International Journal of Sports Medicine. 7(5):276-280, 1986.
3. Graham, T.E. Caffeine and exercise: metabolism, endurance and performance. Sports Med. 31:785-807, 2001.
4. Graham, T.E., J.W.E. Rush, and M.H. van Soeren. Caffeine and exercise: metabolism and performance. Can. J. Appl. Physiol. 19:111-138, 1994.
5. Graham, T.E., and L.L. Spriet. Metabolic, catecholamine, and exercise performance responses to various doses of caffeine. J. Appl. Physiol. 78:867-874, 1995.


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