Espresso, iced latte, matcha, or even chocolate, it’s safe to say that caffeine has a special place in most of our daily routines. Whether it’s the caramelised and nutty aromatic smell, sharp buzz or simple morning routine, caffeine activates our central nervous system. As a result, this helps boost our sense of alertness whilst minimising our feeling of tiredness, earning the title of a popular “pick-me-up.”
A whole latte more to caffeine than a “pick me up.”
However, there’s a whole latte more to caffeine than you may realise (see what we did there?)
Caffeine’s stimulating effect on the body improves athletic performance. Most of these advantages are attributed to its impact on lowering one’s sense of effort and increasing motor unit recruitment, making it a perfect pre-workout. Why is caffeine the perfect pre-training blend?
Caffeine essentially inhibits adenosine receptors, which determine our arousal state. Adenosine usually converts to a neurotransmitter called GABA, which hinders ‘arousal’ neurones and promotes tiredness. However, caffeine prevents this process from happening. Caffeine additionally boosts the production of adrenaline, heightening our sense of ‘fight or flight,’ allowing for a state of alertness and buzz.
Moreover, this inhibition of adenosine receptors can reduce our perceived degree of effort during training, allowing us to push past our perceived limit and threshold. Furthermore, caffeine can boost the central
nervous system's central drive, accounting for some of the immediate performance advantages! The daily grind (dosage & timing)
How much caffeine do you need to improve your training performance? Unfortunately, there’s an independent response for individuals with different training types for how much works (or doesn’t work). For example, athletes wanting to improve performance require an amount of caffeine ranging between 3-9mg/kg of body weight
. Alternatively, for general individuals looking for that pre-workout buzz, opt for a range of 3-6mg/kg of body weight at least 30-90 minutes before your training session. How much is too much?
As is the case with most things in nutrition, moderation is key! The most frequently experienced disadvantage of caffeine is the effect on sleep, given that it’s metabolised slowly. The other two significant drawbacks of excess caffeine are gastrointestinal discomfort and feelings of anxiety.