Its 5am, you wake up and pull yourself out of bed and push yourself to get dressed and ready for your morning run. Or after a long day at the office you come home and force yourself to get dressed for the gym. What is one thing that most people reach for without a second thought? Caffeine.
Caffeine is perhaps the most widely used drug in the world today. Consumed daily often early in the morning, it is taken to help individuals increase their mental alertness and vigilance. However, recently Caffeine has grown in popularity as a performance enhancing drug, being shown to enhance endurance exercise, high-intensity activity, and strength-power performance (Goldstein, 2010).
A common practice among distance runners is to drink 1-3 cups of coffee, a key source of caffeine, an hour before a run. Many strength and power lifters utilize products known as pre-workout supplements in order to perform better lifts. Most of these supplements utilize caffeine in quantities greater then 500mg.
This leads to the next question, what are the risks of using caffeine in moderate levels? Statsio, 2011 found that excessive consumption of caffeine in amounts greater than 300mg a day can lead to anxiety and sleep deprivation. However, these effects were noted in individuals who failed to exercise at a moderate intensity for a minimum of 45 minutes on the days they consumed over the recommended daily dosage of 300mg.
While consuming any drug comes with some risk, in the case of caffeine, the benefits far outweigh any risk factor that may be present. The best advice to consider when looking to add a boost to your workout with a caffeine product, use in moderation.
Goldstein E.R, Ziegenfuss T, Kalman D. Kreider R. Campbell B. Willborn C. Taylor L. Willoughby D. Stout J. Graves S. Wildman R. Ivy J.L. Spano M. Smith A.E, Antonio J. International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and performance. Journal of the International Society of Sport Nutrition (2010) 7:5
STASIO, MICHAEL J.; CURRY, KIM; WAGENER, ALEXANDRA L.; GLASSMAN, DESTINEE M., Revving up and staying up: Energey Drink use Associated with Anxiety and Sleep quality in a College Sample. College Student Journal Dec2011, Vol. 45 Issue 4, p738