Hydration Blog

caffeine and performance

By Vishal Patel,
Chief Nutritionist

One of the most widely consumed beverages in the world is coffee. And if you’re like me, you don’t necessarily drink it for the caffeine. You drink it for the preparation, to appreciate the quality of the beans, and to brew a perfect cup of coffee.

Admittedly, not everyone is like me. Most people drink coffee for the caffeine, which has a tremendous impact on the normal physiological functions of a human being. It works as a stimulant, releasing certain hormones that give you a burst of energy.

At nuun, we love caffeine, not only because it’s a critical component of our city’s favorite beverage (coffee), but for the performance benefits of consuming caffeine before, during, or after your next adventure.

So how does Caffeine enhance you performance?

It works on a number of levels. One way is that it works with your Central Nervous System by increasing your alertness and decreasing reactions. It can help lower your perceived effort level (3). Caffeine can also stimulate blood circulation and heart function (1). All of those components can help give you a competitive edge. Caffeine also theoretically help spare glycogen by elevating free-fatty acids (ffa) in the blood. This elevation helps muscles use FFA rather than glycogen (1).

One study recently published looked at the effect of caffeine on aerobic and anaerobic power. The results of the study showed that individual dosage of caffeine increased aerobic output, and at the same time decreased heart rate. This study provides more evidence that caffeine can help mask perceived effort (1). Several other studies also show that a moderate-to-low intake of caffeine prior to exercise can help increase performance (4).

How much caffeine is good for performance?

Generally, you want to start low, and increase your tolerance. Drinking 8-12 oz of freshly brewed coffee will yield anywhere from 100-200mg of caffeine per serving. For most, that will be enough to get you up and running. But remember: it's better to start low, and experiment to find the balance and level that work best for you.

Do any nuun products contain caffeine?

YES! Our nuun energy line contains 40 mg of plant-based caffeine from organic green tea extract! That is equal to about 1/3 of a cup of coffee.

It’s important to note that every individual is different and reacts differently to caffeine. The key is to find your tolerance, as overconsumption of caffeine provides no additional benefits and may even cause unwanted side effects. Caffeine works for some, but for others it can cause dizziness, jittery feelings, gastrointestinal discomfort, and headaches. For those reasons, I recommend to train with and let your body adapt to Nuun Energy before using during competition.

Additional Resources:
1. Ryan, M. (2012). Sports nutrition for endurance athletes. 3rd ed. Boulder, CO: VeloPress
2. Killer S, Blannin A, Jeukendrup A. (2014). No eveidence of dehydration with moderate daily coffee intake: a counterbalanced cross-study in a free living population. PloS One. E84154
3. Clark, N. (2008). Sports nutrition guidebook. 4th ed., Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
4. Norian E, Barzegari A, Mahdirejei H, Sujodi A, Esiam L. (2014). The effect of caffeine on heart rate during and after both aerobic and anaerobic activity. Euro Jou Exp Bio. 4(1): 233-236.
5. Fink, H.H, Burgoon, L.A, Mikesky, A.E. (2009). Practical applications in sports nutrition. 2nd ed., Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, LLC. 

POSTED IN Fitness & Health, Hydration

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