Whether or not you are used to caffeine, a cup of coffee improves sports performance
The human study that sports scientists at the University of Coventry in England will soon be publishing concerns cyclists, but it probably applies to all athletes. And that's double plus good, if we are to quote George Orwell. Neil Clarke and Darren Richardson have made it clear that even athletes who are used to large amounts of caffeine perform better after a strong cup of coffee.
On two occasions, the researchers got 46 recreational cyclists to cycle a distance of 5 kilometers in the shortest possible time.
On one occasion, the cyclists drank a coffee-flavored placebo an hour before climbing on their bike. The other time they had a cup of instant coffee with caffeine. The researchers ensured that the subjects consumed 3 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight.
The cup of coffee made the subjects 8 seconds faster on average, [Figure] but that is of course not that interesting. What is interesting is the figure below.
The researchers divided the subjects into a group that normally consumed little caffeine on a daily basis [less than 3 milligrams per kilo day] [low user] and a group that consumed relatively much caffeine daily [more than 6 milligrams per kilo per day] [high user].
The low users and the high users did equally well.
"Habitual caffeine consumption did not affect the ergogenicity of coffee ingestion prior to a 5-km cycling time trial", summarize the researchers.
Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2020 Dec 1;1-8. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2020-0204. Online ahead of print.
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