Caffeine in endurance sports

Caffeine has long been used in the sporting world for its wide ranging beneficial effects, and many use it to help with their performance. Through research trials, caffeine has shown to offer moderate to large benefits in aerobic endurance, with small to moderate improvements in muscular endurance, movement velocity and muscular strength, sprinting, jumping and throwing performance. Caffeine appears to benefit both physical and cognitive performance in both trained and untrained individuals, even in some who are under conditions of sleep deprivation.

Optimal caffeine intake is around 3-6mg/kg of body mass, and is best used 60 minutes before exercise, but this depends on how the caffeine is ingested. Interestingly, those who partake in endurance events in the heat, and at altitude, also benefit from caffeine supplementation, with an optimal dosage of 3-6mg/kg and 4-6mg/kg , respectively.

Caffeine doesn't just exist in coffee, other sources include caffeinated chewing gum, mouth rinses, energy gels and chews. Pre-workout supplements can also contain caffeine which have demonstrated to enhance both anaerobic and aerobic performance.

Conversely, caffeine can also have a detrimental effect on sleep, anxiety, and gut balance. Balance is key and it is worth observing how your body responds to caffeine supplementation.

Guest, N.S. et al. (2021). International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and exercise performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 18: (1).