What is it? How can it help me?
Caffeine is a stimulant that’s present (naturally) in coffee and some teas, and is commonly found in soda-type drinks. It’s one of the few compounds that has a strong scientific evidence base for improving performance in multiple types of exercise and training.
Caffeine has shown benefits in many types of sports such as sprinting, distance running and cycling, weight lifting, and soccer (and other team sports). It stimulates the central nervous system, effectively making neural signals more efficient. It may also allow the body to burn fat more efficiently.
When do I use it?
To get the full advantage of caffeine’s effect, take it approximately 30 minutes before your workout. The effects will last about 4 or 5 hours, so avoid taking it too close to when you typically go to sleep.
Unlike other supplements that should be taken more than once a day to provide optimal benefits, a single dose of caffeine can be effective.
How much do I need?
A regular, 8 oz. cup of coffee has about 85-140 mg of caffeine; enough to substantially energize a non-caffeine drinker. A regular drinker of coffee/caffeine may need 100-200 mg to feel an effect. Consuming more than 250 mg of caffeine in one dose is not recommended.
More helpful information
Never consume caffeine in a competition setting without first trying it in practice. In some people, caffeine can lead to anxiety, jitters, frequent urination, or problems with coordination, and can actually hinder performance.