“If I drink a coffee, an energy drink, or a pre-workout supplement before I exercise, will I perform better?”
I get this question quite often. Well caffeine can cause an increase in pain tolerance which can in turn lead to better performance if you do not experience as much pain as you normally would during exercise. Research shows that caffeine is ergogenic aid, meaning it enhances energy use, by targeting the brain and nervous system to resist fatigue during exercise. Caffeine also obviously gives a sense of alertness and energy which can also lead to better performance if you are lacking in the motivation and mindset to start your exercise session.
So yes caffeine can aid in exercise performance for some people. But how much caffeine is too much for exercise, is there an upper limit? There is an upper limit and it is individual specific. Each and every body is different, so you and your friend’s bodies may react differently to the same amount of caffeine. Some research suggests that caffeine’s benefits max out at 3 milligrams per kilogram, or 3mg per 2.2lbs, of body weight.
Caffeine is also been seen as a blood vessel constrictor, known as vasoconstriction, in higher doses. This means is narrows the blood vessels restricting the amount of blood flow in the body which can actually then lead to decreased performance. If you desire to try caffeine with exercise, start out at a low dose and increase as necessary as you see how it reacts with your body. Also cycling off a caffeine after your body has adapted to a higher dose is a good idea to reduce your caffeine intake and reset your system’s caffeine sensitivity. As a general note, a study in the “Human Brain Mapping” binned low dosage to be 45mg, moderate dosage to be 405mg, and a high dosage to be 950mg of caffeine per day.