What a beautiful thing, right? Coffee is bae, as Lacey says.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant found in coffee and tea as well as sodas, chocolate, weight loss pills, and over-the-counter pain relievers and is most commonly used to boost mood and alertness. Caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream within 15 minutes of consumption, reaching its highest concentration in the first hour. It has not been shown to have adverse effects in healthy individuals, but its side effects must be taken into consideration for people with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions. A general recommendation is to not exceed 400mg caffeine per day. Many people experience appetite suppressant effects when they consume caffeine for which, as of now, there is no science to support/explain.
One cup of coffee equals approximately 100mg caffeine
A Bang energy drink is 300mg caffeine per can
Diet coke contains 42mg caffeine per can
Energy shots have approximately 200mg caffeine per serving
Caffeine also, as a diuretic, causes the kidneys to flush out more fluid through the urine. Many people who have daily fluid goals ask if coffee or other caffeinated beverages should count toward their amounts. The answer is, as it often is, “it depends”. In the hospital setting, coffee counts toward fluid intake. However, in the fitness realm it can go either way, and if you work with a coach, definitely ask what his or her expectation is. But if you’re consuming plenty of water at baseline, and enjoy an appropriate daily amount of caffeine, it shouldn’t matter.
Caffeine has beneficial effects in regards to training volume and load. It increases energy expenditure during exercise, decreases glycogen utilization, increases free fatty acid mobilization, and leads to a release of endorphins. For these reasons caffeine is used by many individuals as a part of their pre-workout regimen. Generally the effective dose of caffeine for ergogenicity is 5-6mg/kg bodyweight with no additional benefits seen with intakes greater than 9mg/kg. But do these effects dull if you consume caffeine daily as many of us do? Lara et al. (2019) studied aerobic and anerobic training performance in participants who ingested caffeine pills at 3mg/kg body weight daily for 20 days. It was discovered that caffeine supplementation had a significant ergogenic effect on the first day of consumption, which progressively decreased over the next 20 days suggesting caffeine tolerance is, in fact, real. Some individuals do experience some withdrawal-like symptoms such as headache, irritability, fatigue, tremors, etc. when they suddenly stop habitual caffeine intake.
Basically, research is suggesting that we can develop a tolerance to caffeine as quickly as in a few weeks of daily intake, so if you want to use if for ergogenic effects, you may want to cycle your caffeine consumption for use only on your most intense training days. Consider using caffeine in one sitting (not throughout the day), once or twice a week, shortly before your workout.
Happy Friday, buddies. Have some coffee today.
-Katy Hair, RD, LDN, CNSC
-Lara B, Ruiz-Moreno C, Salinero JJ, Del Coso J. Time course of tolerance to the performance benefits of caffeine. PLoS One. 2019 Jan 23;14(1):e0210275.
-“Dietary Supplements and Hypertrophy Review” by Lacey Dunn, MS, RD, CPT