Caffeine has an important role in modern society. Some see caffeinated beverages as luxury drinks and look forward to drinking a delicious coffee or tea. Others see it as a stimulant that is just a means to an end.
The brain doesn't differentiate. Caffeine targets receptors in our brains that affect our sleep. Our blood vessels, kidneys, heart and muscles all react to caffeine. Let's take a closer look at the effect caffeine has on our muscles.
The latest scientific findings suggest that caffeine could increase maximum strength and muscular fatigue resistance. However, these positive effects haven't been proven yet as there are a number of factors that could influence the effect of caffeine. Habituation can also skew study results.
A possible explanation for improved performance after taking caffeine could be the way we perceive the strenuousness of the activity we are undertaking.
There is also evidence that caffeine intake increases testosterone and cortisol production after weight training. However, these indications are not of practical importance because these hormonal changes are not really related to strength training.
How much caffeine makes a difference?
Three to nine milligrams per kilogram of body weight are necessary for a possible performance-enhancing effect. A person weighing 70 kilograms needs about 200 milligrams, which corresponds to around 250 ml of coffee. For the best results, take caffeine about an hour before training.
Do not take caffeine if you suffer from high blood pressure or sleep problems. In these cases, caffeine is not a good idea.
It is not yet completely clear whether getting used to caffeine cancels out the potential performance-enhancing benefits. Currently, it seems that caffeine has no added value for physically active people who have become accustomed to it.
Give it a try
Try it out for yourself to see if caffeine has an impact on your workout!
Note: Since most of the studies had only male participants, the results are only indicative of improved performance for men.