Coffee beans and sport – what difference does caffeine make?

Can coffee beans help you to perform better at sport? Research from the International jumpsociety of sports nutrition suggests that caffeine can enhance athletic endurance and even reduce muscular pain after exercise.

Here are some of the findings:

1. Caffeine has been shown to enhance performance in athletes when taken in low doses (3-6 mg/kg); however, athletic performance did not get any better with a higher dose of caffeine (9mg/kg).

2. Rather than coffee beans, sport performance turned out to be better when caffeine was taken as a capsule, tablet or in a powdered form.

Could the placebo effect be playing a part here if tablets and coffee beans, for example, contain the same amount of caffeine? Perhaps if the caffeine was consumed in a sports drink, the results would be different.

3. Caffeine works particularly well for athletes who are doing intensive exercise for long periods of time; for example, rowing, hockey, football and cycling. Consuming caffeine seemed to help athletes to reduce their times.

4. Athletes who consumed caffeine with an electrolyte based sports drink saw a significant improvement in jumping and sprinting times.

5. Muscular pain after exercising also decreased when caffeine was consumed prior to exercising.

6. In regards to caffeine consumption and its effects on strength, caffeine didn’t seem to make a difference.

7. Interestingly, caffeine did not change sweat rate or change the fluid balance in the body, even when the athletes exercised in heat.

8. The effects of taking caffeine, however, before a work out seem to be short term. Although performance times increased in the first round of exercises, results weren’t repeated in the second set of exercises.

Consuming caffeine before a workout is thought to produce more adrenalin and increase the circulation and blood flow to the heart. So, providing you don’t have too much, a bit of caffeine or some freshly brewed coffee beans could help you to perform better when you’re exercising and playing sports.