Caffeine Performance Study: No Help to Habitual Stimulant Users?

by Matt Weik

Caffeine supplementation is extremely popular and has been known to be an ergogenic aid that can help enhance performance in the gym and on the playing field. Athletes around the globe have been using caffeine as a pre-workout or pre-competition performance enhancement for years. However, a new study is showing that for those who drink caffeinated drinks (tea, coffee, energy drinks) daily, that caffeine shows minimal improvements in performance compared to those who don’t drink caffeinated drinks regularly.

This could be bad news for athletes considering the researchers mentioned that caffeine has the ability to improve muscle strength, mental alertness, as well as reduce the perception of effort during intense activity. Maybe it’s time for some of them to change their daily caffeine intake?

Damnit, Joe!

That cup of Joe you drink each day could be royally screwing you if you were hoping to gain some performance enhancements from a product containing caffeine prior to exercise. Researchers from Dublin City University used caffeinated chewing gum as a caffeine source for the study they had published on how caffeine effects performance.

For the study, the researchers took 18 athletes and had them run sprints both with and without the use of the caffeinated gum. It was noted that the caffeinated gum was equal to two strong cups of coffee. The end result was that the athletes who consumed caffeine on a daily basis did not show the same improvements using the caffeinated gum when compared to the athletes who did not consume any caffeine daily.

Interestingly enough, the athletes who regularly used caffeine actually showed a decrease in performance as they continued each round of sprints, whereas the athletes who didn’t use caffeine regularly were able to maintain their performance through all 10 rounds of sprints.

Researchers recommend that that any athlete who wants to use caffeine to aid in performance should decrease their daily consumption in order to attain the benefits. This can also be a reason why so many individuals who take pre-workout supplements that are stimulant heavy show a reduction in energy levels over time as the body gets used to the constant and regular intake of caffeine – causing them to increase their dosage which is not healthy and can have some adverse side effects.

Mark Evans, Peter Tierney, Nicola Gray, Greg Hawe, Maria Macken, Brendan Egan. “Acute Ingestion of Caffeinated Chewing Gum Improves Repeated Sprint Performance of Team Sports Athletes With Low Habitual Caffeine Consumption.” International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2017.