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Caffeine, Energy & Sports Performance
Caffeine boosts your energy level by stimulating your central nervous system. Can it improve your performance? Studies have shown that 200 to 350 milligrams (mg) of caffeine helped some people have more endurance. This may be because caffeine promotes the use of body use fat as fuel instead of glycogen (stored sugar). Or, caffeine may simply lessen the feeling of fatigue.Coffee was shown to cause the release of fat from fat cells, sparing muscle glycogen. Some marathon runners will drink a cup of coffee before a race to avoid "hitting the wall." The theory behind this is that, glycogen is the primary source of energy in the muscles, whereas body fat is used as a secondary energy source. Once muscle glycogen reserves are used up -- after 2 hours of vigorous aerobic activity -- body fat comes more into play as an energy source, but body fat is not as easily utilized during exercise. Vinson & Dabbagh, Nut Research 1998; 18 (6): 1067-75.
But not everyone benefits from caffeine. Some athletes feel too jittery or nervous to do their best during sports activities. .In moderation, caffeine may give you a mental edge for competing. It may boost your mood and motivate you to workout more regularly. What are the risks? Caffeine can cause you to overlook the fact that your body needs more rest to repair and grow your muscles. Listen to your body and take time to recover from workouts. Caffeine is also a diuretic which means it can make you pee more than usual. Drink extra liquids for 2 to 3 days before competition to avoid dehydration. You need to determine the right amount of caffeine for you and take it at the right time before exercising. High levels of caffeine use, such as 800 mg per day, have been banned by the International Olympic Committee and other institutions. Most people can stay in the allowed limits by taking less than 350 mg per day. How much caffeine is in food and drinks? Caffeine content in milligrams (mgs):
Coffees: 8 oz. cup of brewed coffee (130 to 175 mgs.); 8 oz. cup of instant coffee (70 to 135 mgs); 5 oz. cup of espresso (150 mgs.); 8 oz. cup of decaffeinated brewed coffee (3 to 6 mgs.). Teas: 6 oz. cup of black tea (40 to 60 mgs.); 8 oz. glass of iced tea, from powder (30 to 60 mgs.); 6 oz. cup of green tea (35 mgs.). Sodas: 12 oz. can of cola, diet or regular (40 to 50 mgs.); 12 oz. can of citrus pop (45 to 55 mgs.). Chocolates: 6 oz. cup of hot chocolate (5 to 10 mgs.); 8 oz. glass of chocolate milk (10 mgs.) 1 oz. baking chocolate (35 mgs.); 1 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (20 mgs.); 2 oz. sweet chocolate (15 mgs.) .Medicines: Allergy and cold pills (15 to 30 mgs.) ; Diuretics (water pills) (200 mgs.); Appetite suppressants (150 to 200 mgs.); Pain relievers (30 to 130 mgs.). Start with a small amount if you decide to use it, 50 to 100 mgs of caffeine and slowly increase the dose. Most athletes get the best results by taking 100 to 300 mg of caffeine two hours before working out. Another way to figure out the optimal amount of caffeine is to take it according to how much you weigh. Aim for 2 to 4 mg of caffeine for each kilogram (kg) (2.2 lbs.) of body weight. Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to figure out how much you weigh in kilograms. For example, a 150-pound athlete who weighs approximately 77 kilograms and could consume 140 to 320 mgs of caffeine.