Effects of Coffee on Athletes and Performance

coffee

Who doesn’t love coffee? Me, I’m guilty! Coffee keeps me awake and energized. It stimulates my mind, and I have this feeling that I am ready to start the day full of enthusiasm.

Morning booster

We all love to start our mornings with a cup of coffee, tea, or a hot chocolate (cocoa). Its principal active ingredient is caffeine. It replenishes our lost energy from slumbering in our comfy mattress for the previous night. People from all over the world have grown to love caffeinated beverages. Thus, many rely on them to increase their energy and to stay alert as well.

coffee

Caffeine is truly an important part of many people’s diet, and it is especially popular among athletes. The effects of caffeine on athletic performance have become quite popular.  Caffeine also appears in some other products. These include energy drinks and bars, sports gel, alcoholic beverages, and diet aids. Furthermore, it is a popular work-enhancing supplement that has been actively researched since the 1970’s.

How much do we know about caffeine?

Most of us consume it every day, but how much do we know about caffeine? The naturally-occurring substance with bitter taste caffeine has also been proven to stimulate the brain. Caffeine intake contributes to an athlete’s clearer thinking, feeling of alertness and ability to concentrate harder on the task at hand.

Also, caffeine has been shown to increase speed and power output. It improves the length an athlete can train, and assist the athlete in resisting fatigue.  In moderate doses, it can offer health benefits, including boosts to memory, concentration, and mental health.

Source of Caffeine

coffee

Coffee in particular as one of the major source of caffeine for Americans has been associated with a host of body perks. It includes a possible decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers.

Caffeine is classified as a stimulant, performance enhancing and is the most common drug used in the world.  It crosses the membranes of all the body’s tissues. It can wield effects on the central nervous system and the peripheral tissues that result in physiological effects.

Side Effects

headache

Like all drugs, caffeine use has some side effects. Too much consumption of caffeine can lead to dependence, tolerance, drug craving, and withdrawal symptoms when it is used chronically. However, it is still a legal substance used in sports.

This stimulant is known to assist athletes to train harder and longer, but in excess amounts, caffeine can trigger an increased heart rate, anxiety, confusion insomnia, restlessness, and vomiting among other side effects. Also, abruptly stopping caffeine use can lead to symptoms of withdrawal, including drowsiness, headaches, and irritability.

Consumption

Even our ancestors adore coffee, as it was first discovered over 1000 years ago. Based on the article “About Caffeine” of Villanova University Student Life.  Currently, about 90 percent of Americans consume caffeine in one form or another every single day.

coffee

More than half of all American adults consume more than 300 milligrams of caffeine every day, making it by far America’s most popular drug. To put that in real-world terms, the average caffeine-consuming American drinks two to five-ounce cups of coffee or about four sodas. But its effect on the human body is widely controversial.

Caffeine Benefits

Does it benefit anyone especially those who hit the gym or athletes? Most athletes are familiar with caffeine’s benefits of heightened alertness and performance. It has been known that caffeine can improve performance among athletes. Being one of the best-tested ergogenic aids or performance-enhancing drug. Caffeine has been shown to be powerful and beneficial in athletic performance and training.

coffee

Athletes who use caffeine before exercising or competition may be helping themselves more than they think. Studies have shown that caffeine can help an athlete perform better in a variety of different activities. However, athletes need to determine whether the ingestion of caffeine before and during training and competitions is ergogenic on an individual basis.

Coffee and tea also contain some antioxidants which have a positive effect on heart health. Some athletes drink coffee before they go to the gym but drinking coffee on an empty stomach may result in digestion problems.

Recommendations for Athletes

If you want to choose caffeine and benefit from its positive effects and maximize it, here are some suggestions from studies regarding sports medicine from the article “Caffeine and The Athlete.”

  • First, you may ingest caffeine-only about three to four hours before the competition. Although blood levels of caffeine peak much sooner, the maximum caffeine effect on fat stores appears to occur several hours after peak blood levels.
  • Second, consider decreasing or abstaining from caffeine for three to four days before a competition. This allows for tolerance to caffeine to decrease and helps ensure a maximum effect of caffeine but be careful with the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.
  • Third, make sure that you have used caffeine extensively under a variety of training conditions and are thoroughly familiar with how your body reacts to this drug. Never try anything new on race day.

Now, changing a lifestyle and dropping coffee out of your system suddenly is a difficult choice to make.

Alternatives

Fortunately, there are several substitutes for caffeine that offer similar focus and alertness.

For example, the ginkgo biloba (which can be taken in the form of capsule, tincture, or tea) offers as a vasodilator, which increases blood flow, particularly to the brain. There are also the extracts from ginseng roots that are beneficial for increased blood flow, and like coffee, have a stimulating effect that helps you to be alert.

tea

If you are one of those people, who take a coffee first thing in the morning, taking vitamin B12 can help you to start your day with the way coffee did. Vitamin B12 is known for its mental clarity and energy enhancing properties. It also plays a role in melatonin production, which is a hormone that regulates healthy sleep cycles.

If you like the taste of coffee but want to kick the caffeine addiction, you might want to try chicory herbal tea. Together with the grains, figs, chicory, and beetroot, this product is successful in mimicking the familiar taste of coffee without any caffeine or acidity.

After talking about the benefits and dangers of caffeine intake. Maybe you might want to rethink about grabbing that cup of coffee.  Remember that the information included in this article may prove beneficial, but it is still best to consult your healthcare provider if you are contemplating to either include or eliminate caffeine in your lifestyle.

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