Does Caffeine Help Your Athletic Performance?


From running errands to running marathons, there is dialogue - and debate - over whether caffeine helps with performance - particularly athletic abilities. So, feel free to read on (as you sip your cup o’ joe) and learn a bit about how caffeine + competing are stirring things up in the fitness industry.

First, let’s talk about caffeine.  It isn’t just the beans w/ butter (keto coffee craze, anyone?) It is also teas, chocolate, sodas, and even some medicines. As a stimulant, it helps keep consumers alert, while increasing heart rate and blood pressure. 

You certainly need to be awake to be moving, but caffeine can affect people differently.  While some athletes may find caffeine helps them stay alert and focused to get through their run, another athlete may feel “jitters” that deter the desire to exercise.

Studies have found that 200 to 350 milligrams (mg) of caffeine helped some people have more endurance, allowing them to exercise longer. 

Caffeine has been known to enhance moods.  While this can be an exciting advantage to your mood-boosting brew, this can also mask real, valid feelings of fatigue that your body needs to operate optimally. 

Drowning your lethargy in a latte is the last thing your body needs when prepping for a workout or mid-muscle-building. 

Marathon runners are a very candid community.  There’s no such thing as TMI. When discussing caffeine in particular, adding a diuretic to your run could cause for “runs” of another kind.  Caffeine is also a diuretic which means it can make you urinate more than usual. This is already an issue for those with the very-much-talked-about “runner’s incontinence” occurrence. Adding more caffeine can certainly affect the backside as well. Because caffeine is easy on the bowels, it is all about timing. To avoid the embarrassing “runner’s trots” (we’ve also had customers call them “road cookies”), it is best to find the right timing so your consumption doesn’t affect your competing. Plus, having incontinence running underwear is beneficial! 

Even the International Olympic Committee and other reputable institutions have banned high levels of caffeine (800+mg per day) as it can affect focus and performance in athletes. 

How do you measure up your mocha, then?  Talking to your health care professional is a good place to start.  From there, start with small doses before you workout to see how it affects your mind, mood and mobility. 

While caffeine is becoming more popular via drive-thru coffee shops and a multitude of energy drinks, it is important that you stay within safe guidelines and limit your caffeine to recommended intake levels. 

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