Effects of caffeine on endurance sports

Effects of caffeine on endurance sports 


According to the American college of sports medicine caffeine is one of the worlds most widely used stimulants. Caffeine can come in many forms, coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, nutrition supplements, energy drinks and chocolate. Caffeine is a central nervous stimulant which can temporarily make you feel more awake and energetic as well as increasing your blood pressure, and aid stomach function. 


How does caffeine effect performance?


Before You Go!

Caffeine may help you to use your fat stores as a primary source of fuel, which allows you to defer glycogen usage (fuel stored in your muscles and liver). By delaying the use of our glycogen stores it means that athletes can go for much longer before fatigue. 

Caffeine reaches its highest levels in the blood 45 to 60 minutes after ingestion, therefore it could be suggested that you consume caffeine at least an hour before exercise to help spare the glycogen stores at the beginning of your exercise. 

A recent study by American Collage of Sports Medicine did recent work on well-trained athletes and found that 3-9mg of caffeine per kg of body weight an hour before exercise increased  the athletes running and cycling endurance in the laboratory. For a 70Kg athlete this would equate to 210mg of caffeine which is the equivalent to a single shot of espresso before activity. 


During your sport

You’re 2 hours in and need that extra kick! Having a caffeinated carbohydrate drink will help. The caffeine in the drink will give you that wake up stimulation you need. However remember that it isn't the caffeine in the drink that is giving you the energy, the energy is coming from the sugars in the drink. The caffeine is like a little cheerleader that gives you the kick you need to keep going!



Caffeine can be very useful in the aid of recovery after exercise. It has been said that consuming a caffeinated carbohydrate drink during exercise, like the Tailwind Raspberry Buzz, will increase muscle glycogen by 66 percent four hours after the sport. This increase in muscle glycogen will aid recovery and make the next day of training much more efficient and successful. 


So what does this mean?

If I were you i would have an espresso shot an hour before I head out to help wake me up and aid the all important fat metabolism. Then maybe 2 hours into training or competition I would switch my regular carbohydrate drink for a caffeinated carbohydrate drink to make me more energetic and awake, having this would then also help me with my recovery later on in the day. 


Side Effects of Caffeine

Everybody will react to caffeine in different ways! in general it may cause poor sleep quality, headaches, dehydration and anxiety.

Caffeine can also have a diuretic effect by increasing blood flow to the kidneys. This means that it will increase urine production which could exacerbate dehydration during exercise. Therefor, caffeine consumption should not be taken in excess (Tailwind nutrition do not recommend using the caffeinated flavours for more than 6 hours continuously). 

A moderate intake of caffeine along with a healthy lifestyle and diet should otherwise have no ill effects on ones health. 


Happy Trails, 

Laura x

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