Caffeine is the subject of discussions; There are many myths about this substance, whether it is good, if it hurts, who can consume it and who cannot. For those who do sports systematically or train regularly, it is interesting to know the positive effects of caffeine.
The positive effects of caffeine are diverse and can be very useful for athletes.
What is caffeine?
It is an alkaloid substance that naturally comes from the leaves or seeds of some plants. Among these are coffee, as its name indicates, guarana, yerba mate and tea; the terms theine or guaranine also exist.
Analyzing all these products, it is observed that the molecule of these plants is the same alkaloid, with the difference that some of them contain other substances.
It is considered a type of drug, as it acts on the central nervous system. It raises alert levels, is exciting, and slightly increases perceptions. It is consumed every day by a high percentage of the world population.
Despite its central nervous system effects, caffeine isn’t considered a type of doping, so there’s no need to worry. Some organizations consider it as such, but only in concentrations so high that they can hardly be reached with normal consumption.
Positive effects of caffeine in athletes
There are many studies on the relationship between caffeine and sport. The most important finding is related to its ergogenic effects.
The term “ergogenic” refers to medicines, compounds or substances that help increase muscle strength. In other words, an ergogenic aid improves the body’s ability to work, which results in better performance.
The ergogenic effects of caffeine vary according to the physical condition of the athlete, the intensity of the physical activity performed and the duration of the same. Caffeine is also often presented as a fat-burning substance, but for athletes this characteristic is of little importance.
The positive effects of caffeine also include :
- Less sleepiness
- Promotes the work of the circulatory system
- Increase your focus
- It increases the state of alert
- Combats fatigue
- It stimulates breathing
How to consume caffeine if you are an athlete
When to consume caffeine?
Caffeine acts and reaches its maximum level of concentration in the body one hour after its consumption. It is important to take this into account in order to take it at the ideal time.
On the other hand, it is advisable to eliminate caffeine from a sportsman’s diet and only include it during a competition . The reason is that if the body gets used to its consumption, the effects diminish.
Any athlete who decides to consume caffeine should check its effects on their body before a competition.
How much caffeine to consume?
The recommended amount of caffeine ranges from three to six milligrams per pound ; it is contraindicated to consume more than 500 mg per day. Although caffeine cannot be considered a toxic substance, it is not good to overdo it.
How to consume caffeine?
Some drinks contain it, such as coffee or tea, cola-based drinks, and some energy drinks. However, the ideal is to use products for athletes. In these supplements, the caffeine is dehydrated in order to control the doses and avoid the side effects of the drinks listed.
The myth of dehydration
Many people believe that caffeine is a diuretic and that taking it before playing sports can cause dehydration. There is no evidence on the relationship between caffeine and fluid-related problems or imbalances.
Some side effects to consider
Like any other substance, caffeine can have side effects. Among these we find:
- Addiction. Although light, people who regularly consume caffeine need it every day. It turns into a hard habit to break.
- Insomnia. Some people experience difficulty sleeping, short temper, or nervousness when they consume caffeine. This can also happen when you eliminate the substance from your diet, as it is a mild withdrawal syndrome.
- Gastric disturbances. Some people are poorly tolerant to caffeine, which is why they can experience gastric disorders of various kinds.
All organisms are different. Every athlete must consider their condition, their performance and the type of sport they do to assess whether the consumption of caffeine can be favorable to them. It is recommended for rugby, soccer, cyclists and other athletes who play high intensity sports.