85 percent of the US population consumes caffeine every day in the form of coffee, tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks. Caffeine is a psychoactive drug that stimulates the brain, elevates your mood, and postpones fatigue. As is the case with any other ‘drug,’ you need to be careful about how much caffeine you take, especially if you are an athlete. Caffeine affects everyone differently depending on their size, weight, health condition, the amount taken, and whether or not the person is used to it. No matter how much you love a delicious cup of coffee in the morning or a sip of your favorite energy drink during your workouts, you need to know the good and the bad before consuming caffeine so that you maintain your sports performance at the highest level possible.
Is caffeine good for you?
A study conducted by researchers from Dublin City University found that consuming caffeine before a high-intensity aerobic activity could help improve athletic performance but only under certain conditions. According to the study, for caffeine to boost an athlete’s performance, he/she must be consuming less than 40mg of caffeine per day. Considering that there is about 80-100 mg of caffeine in a cup of coffee, athletes should drink less than one cup of coffee every day. If you can’t stay away from it, consider switching to decaffeinated coffee sometimes. If you find a good brand, you will enjoy the same great taste of coffee without the negative effects of excess caffeine.
Why too much caffeine is bad for you
If you drink more than 130 mg of caffeine (3 or more cups of coffee) per day, your body’s sensitivity to the drug decreases, which hampers its performance-enhancing benefits. If you want to reap the rewards of caffeine, you need to reduce your caffeine intake in the weeks leading up to a sports performance. To maintain your sports performance at optimal levels, consider reducing your caffeine intake or switching to non-caffeinated beverages entirely.
As an athlete, it is up to you to ensure that everything you ingest works for you and not against you in your quest to clinch the top spot in every competition you participate in. While caffeine can be good for you, you need to consume it in moderation and if you are unsure of what amount is right for you, you should always consult a professional to give you sound advice.