Caffeine is frequently used by elite athletes, and between 2004 and 2008 almost three-quarters (74%) of official test samples contained measurable levels of caffeine (1). There’s research to support the use of caffeine to enhance performance in many different sport types, including endurance, muscular endurance, and repeated high intensity exercise (2, 3).
Scientific studies have shown how caffeine can have a powerful effect on performance times. In time-trial studies on cyclists, researchers have shown improved completion times of as much as 3-5% following caffeine consumption (4, 5). In a sport where a small improvement in performances can be the difference between winning and losing, caffeine supplementation can help to provide that competitive edge.
There have also been many research studies supporting the use of caffeine for runners. It’s well documented that caffeine improves time-trial times in events that last several hours as well as short duration high-intensity sprints (6).
However, you don’t have to be an elite athlete to see benefits from caffeine during your workout. Research has also been conducted in both well-trained and recreational runners in 5km time trials. Results showed that runners who ingested caffeine prior to racing saw an approximate 1% faster time (6).
Different people are likely to experience different benefits to caffeine before their training or competitive events. This response can be determined by both genetic and environmental factors, including how regularly they use caffeine. Studies have found that caffeine concentrations are elevated in the bloodstream as quickly as 15 minutes after consumption (7).
Whether you’re well experienced or just getting started on your exercise programme, you can benefit from a caffeine boost before your workout. Next time you’re heading out on a run, bike ride, or hitting the gym, don’t forget to have a shot of your favourite caffeine drink beforehand*!
* Suggested use is 1 e-Shot (60ml) per day.
- Del Coso J, Mun˜oz G, Mun˜oz-Guerra J. Prevalence of caffeine use in elite athletes following its removal from the World AntiDoping Agency list of banned substances. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2011;36(4):555–61
- Burke LM. Caffeine and sports performance. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2008;33(6):1319–
- Glaister M, Howatson G, Abraham CS, Lockey RA, Goodwin JE, Foley P, McInnes G. Caffeine supplementation and multiple sprint running performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008;40(10):1835–
- Desbrow B, Biddulph C, Devlin B, Grant GD, Anoopkumar-Dukie S, and Leveritt MD. The effects of different doses of caffeine on endurance cycling time trial performance. J Sports Sci. 2012; 30(2): 115-20.
- Hodgson AB, Randell RK, and Jeukendrup AE. The metabolic and performance effects of caffeine compared to coffee during endurance exercise. PLoS One. 2013 Apr; 8(4): e59561.
- O’Rourke MP, O’Brien BJ, Knez WL, and Paton CD. Caffeine has a small effect on 5-km running performance of well-trained and recreational runners. J Sci Med Sport. 2008 Apr 30;11(2):231-3.
- Pickering C, Kiely J. Are the current guidelines on caffeine use in sport optimal for everyone? Inter-individual variation in caffeine ergogenicity, and a move towards personalised sports nutrition. Sports Med 2018;48:7-16