Search for performance coffees on the internet, and you’ll find thousands of articles on how coffee is used by pro-athletes across sports. Many of our clients are pro-trainers and athletes, including Don Saladino and Olympic Judo Silver Medalist Travis Stevens. From Men's Health to the Institute of Scientific Information on Coffee, you’ll find almost everything you need to know. Almost.
When it comes to using coffee, and those with added supplements such as Kraft’s, the most common questions ask whether the use of coffee is allowed in sport, and if there is an intake limit for competitive sports people. Read on for answers.
Benefits for Athletes
We’ve spoken about the benefits of the supplements in our coffees, but let’s look at why caffeine benefits sports specifically.
Caffeine = a compound that stimulates the central nervous system, most commonly found in tea and coffee
When coffee is drunk, 99% of caffeine is absorbed 45 minutes to an hour. Effects of the caffeine can be felt as soon as 20 minutes after drinking. Many athletes consume caffeine before events, and with an average half life of 5 hours, this can be enough to fuel an entire event. Many, however, continue to consume caffeine throughout and post events. Why?
Caffeine increases alertness while simultaneously reducing the perception of effort required. Perfect when competing under pressure. Caffeine has also been shown to increase fat oxidation, which in turn preserves muscle stores and delays fatigue, meaning athletes can perform for longer periods. In addition, by binding brain receptors into adenosine, endurance can be improved by up to 3%.
Oxidation = becoming combined with oxygen
Adenosine = a sleep inducing neurotransmitter
Sports scientists say that regular, low doses of caffeine can work just as well as one intake. However, they also state that habitual intake of caffeine can reduce it’s ergogenic effects. Listen to your body and find a way of drinking coffee that works for you.
Ergogenic = things that enhance stamina, physical performance and recovery
Is Caffeine Banned?
At one time, yes, it was. Between 1984 and 2004, caffeine was banned at the Olympics. Intake was limited to 12 micrograms of caffeine per millilitre of fluid. For perspective, that’s the equivalent of drinking 8 espressos in 2 to 3 hours.
Because testing wasn’t precise, and a high amount of caffeine needed to be consumed, the World Anti Doping Agency removed caffeine from the list of prohibited substances. However, it is still on the watchlist.
So there you have it. The consumption of caffeine is no longer banned in pro-sport, nor is there a limit on caffeine intake. Always make sure you modify your intake to suit your brain and body, but feel no worries in consuming coffee before conquering an event.