Coffee is everywhere in the mornings. Let’s face it, we’ve been programmed to think that we can’t really start our day without a cup of caffeinated tea or coffee. But it’s not just another case of a “big, bad marketing industry” coming after more of our limited dollars, caffeine actually works.
If you didn’t get your recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep, caffeine has been shown to help make up the deficit by keeping you more alert, aiding in memory “storage,” and preventing the feeling of sluggishness. Caffeine may be helpful or preventive in warding off other random diseases too, such as certain cancers, Alzheimer’s, and more.
Caffeine in the athletic world becomes far more interesting! Caffeine is a known performance enhancing supplement – aiding in increasing speed, endurance, and power amongst almost any athlete. Your morning cup of coffee can also double as that boost you need to beat your PR or, at least, beat the other guy in the race. With the exception of the short, super fast sprints, caffeine has been shown to increase athletic potential in nearly every sport. The best part? It’s still legal.
Even WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) basically admitted that, while it tried, the organization could not continue to ban caffeinated products in athletes, simply due to the prevalence of caffeine in society. It’s everywhere. Tea, coffee, soda, chocolate, and more. Plus, people tend to have individual responses to caffeine metabolism. That means that WADA may not be able to accurately test how much caffeine a person has had.
Caffeine isn’t the magic wonder-drug, though. There are still upper limits to how much should be consumed, because too much can quickly overcome any positive benefits through negative ones such as, irritability, sleeplessness, restlessness, fatigue, dehydration and more.
The general recommended amount for an athlete is about 3-6mg of caffeine per kilogram of bodyweight. A 150lb/68kg athlete should consume roughly 200mg to 400mg caffeine per day. This is the equivalent of 1 Starbucks Venti brewed coffee, or about 6 to 12 cups of Green Tea.
Once you’ve gone past that 6mg/kg recommendation and begin hitting levels of 10-15mg/kg bodyweight, then you hit the danger zone, where the negative effects definitely outweigh any positive ones, and if you’re not particularly desensitized to caffeine, you could actually send yourself to the ER with heart problems.
Many companies have taken advantage of the benefit of caffeine and developed what are now known as “pre-workout” supplements, which offer caffeine as a boost to your workout. Choose your supplements wisely, many pre-workouts and caffeinated products contain at least, if not over, the recommended daily amount, and that’s in addition to whatever other caffeinated products you’ve had throughout the day. Long story short, if your not feeling energized and enthusiastic about an upcoming workout, consider caffeine for a safe pick-me-up.