Caffeine - Still the supplement of choice?

February 21, 2021

Health & Wellbeing

Training advice delivered to you from Personal Trainer, Ben Leach

We are bombarded daily with literally thousands of supplements all promising specific enhancements to our health and/or performance but if you look a little deeper into the research it is inconclusive. There is very mixed evidence to support the idea that many of these supplements will produce a significant gain when compared with a placebo. However a few buck this trend and do produce genuine results time and time again when put under scrutiny. Caffeine is one such supplement.

Caffeine helps boost our body's ability to burn fat and thus produce a boost to our energy supply particularly when glycogen stores are running low. The greatest effects are in endurance based competition typically in events lasting longer than 45 minutes. Although recent studies have shown performance enhancement in any events lasting longer than 5 minutes. The exact mechanism for caffeine action within our body is still not fully understood.

So how much should i take? Always be cautious as too much can produce adverse effects and can be be dangerous in higher doses. A cup of tea/coffee before and during a long training session is a sufficient amount of caffeine to increase fat metabolism. Alternatively a caffeine gel or drink during exercise will help if no stops/breaks are planned.  The actual amount for performance enhancement is between 3 and 9 mg of caffeine per kg of bodyweight which is equal to between 1 and 3 mugs of coffee.

Happy training!

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