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Caffeine and exercise performance

Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world, and as many as 90% of the western world ingest it on a regular basis. For many, caffeine is consumed in coffee and tea, but it is also present in energy drinks, chewing gum, energy gels and soft drinks.

The effects of caffeine on health has been a longstanding point of interest, particularly in the sporting world where exercise performance is under the microscope.

A study produced in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition by Guest, N.S et al., (2021) examined the effects of caffeine on exercise performance and discovered the following:-

  • Supplementation with caffeine has been shown to acutely enhance various aspects of exercise performance.

  • Aerobic endurance exercise appears to benefit most from caffeine intake.

  • Optimal caffeine intake of 3-6mg/kg body mass offers the best ergogenic effect.

  • Caffeine intake 60 minutes before exercise offers optimal benefit.

  • Both trained and untrained individuals have shown to improve performance.

  • Cognitive function is enhanced.

  • Endurance training athletes who train in the heat and at altitude have also shown to benefit from caffeine supplementation.

  • Caffeinated chewing gum, mouth rinses, energy gels and chews have all shown to improve performance, primarily in aerobic exercise.

  • Energy drinks and pre-workout supplements containing caffeine have shown to enhance both anaerobic and aerobic performance.

Supplementing with too much caffeine could have side effects, and can include sleep disturbance, heart palpitations, anxiety, headaches and gut disturbance, so it is important to take on what is optimal for your body weight.


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