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Yes, Caffeine Will Improve Your Athletic Performance. But How Much Is Too Much?

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Caffeine is a well-studied and efficient ergogenic assist. Meaning it improves endurance and pace. However earlier than you go pounding vitality drinks earlier than exercising, let’s have a look at how a lot you want. Whereas caffeine can enhance athletic efficiency, an excessive amount of might go away you jittery and dehydrated—not precisely superb throughout a piece out. Like virtually all issues in life, there’s a stability to attain. Simply sufficient to help efficiency however not a lot that you just really feel like rubbish.

What’s the candy spot? How do you introduce caffeine with out going overboard? Listed here are some professional opinions on including caffeine to your health routine so you’ll be able to crush your objectives with out crashing.


Consultants In This Article

  • Celine Thompson, RDN1, registered dietitian nutritionist
  • Mandy Tyler, RD, CSSD, LD, registered dietitian
  • Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, Miami-based registered dietitian nutritionist and Nationwide Media Spokesperson for the Academy of Diet and Dietetics

How caffeine improves athletic efficiency

Questioning if it’s price it to make use of caffeine earlier than your subsequent exercise? Sports activities dietitian, Mandy Tyler, RD, CSSD, LD, says athletes typically eat caffeine previous to exercising to assist improve alertness, cut back emotions of effort, or assist with coaching at the next depth.

In truth, not solely is caffeine one of the broadly used authorized substances by athletes, says Roxana Ehsani, RD, CSSD, LDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist and board-certified sports activities dietitian, however it additionally has confirmed advantages. “A assessment discovered that male athletes have been in a position to produce extra energy, have been speedier, and have been in a position to carry a larger quantity of weight with caffeine,” she says.

What about females? Properly, the menstrual cycle tends to throw slightly wrench into examine design and outcomes, so there may be rather more supportive information for males. Nonetheless, researchers have discovered that caffeine appears to be a more practical ergogenic assist in cardio actions (i.e., sprints, weight-lifting) in males than in females.

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Are you a runner or bicycle owner? Caffeine might help you push longer. Women and men alike. “Caffeine might help most sorts of athletes, from endurance to energy athletes,” mentioned Ehsani. She added, “I’d advocate caffeine earlier than exercise for athletes who’re present process competitors—earlier than a sport for staff sport athletes corresponding to soccer or basketball gamers or earlier than a race for endurance-based athletes like marathoners or triathletes.”

How a lot caffeine do you want?

The quantity of caffeine wanted on your coaching session or competitors varies based mostly in your weight. “Usually it’s advisable to eat three to 6 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of physique weight within the hour earlier than train,” Tyler says.

Discover your weight in kilograms by dividing your weight in kilos by 2.2. For instance, in the event you weigh 150 lbs, you’d be about 68 kg. So that you’d shoot for ~200 mg caffeine. You may get this from most vitality drinks, 10–12 ounces of chilly brew, or a 14–16 oz. espresso or Americano. Take be aware: The quantity of caffeine in espresso relies on the way it’s brewed.

There are additionally caffeine components on your water, like tablets or pre-workout powder. Apart from caffeinated drinks, you might strive caffeine dietary supplements like vitality gels, gums, capsules, or chews.

How a lot caffeine is an excessive amount of?

In relation to caffeine, Tyler cautions in opposition to assuming extra is healthier. “Excessive doses of caffeine—9 mg/kg of physique weight or extra—might trigger unfavorable negative effects, corresponding to jitters, nausea, or anxiousness,” she says. She additionally warns to double-check the ingredient lists of vitality drinks, vitality photographs, or pre-workout powders as they will embrace different stimulants in addition to caffeine like guarana.

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Apart from feeling jittery and anxious, chances are you’ll hinder your exercise in the event you soak up an excessive amount of caffeine beforehand. “Be conscious that caffeine is a diuretic, and extreme quantities can result in extreme urination, doubtlessly inflicting dehydration,” says registered dietitian, Celine Thompson, RDN. “To keep away from overdoing it, restrict your day by day caffeine consumption to 400 milligrams, and be looking out for indicators [of overconsumption] like nervousness, fast heartbeat, and problem sleeping.”

When do you have to eat caffeine?

Your early morning cup of joe received’t provide you with bonus energy or endurance in case your exercise is within the late afternoon. For caffeine to enhance your athletic efficiency, consumption must be timed correctly. Ehsani recommends consuming caffeine about 45 to 60 minutes previous to exercise because it takes about that lengthy for its results to peak.

You may additionally discover it useful to take caffeine whereas you are exercising. It’s been reported that skilled cyclists who consumed caffeine within the final third of their exercise noticed an enchancment in efficiency. Should you’re already fueling mid-workout with an vitality gel or jelly beans, you might strive merchandise which have caffeine added.

Right here’s the way to begin

It’s greatest to ease into caffeine supplementation, particularly in the event you don’t usually eat caffeine. “Should you’re new to caffeine dietary supplements, begin with 1–2 mgs per kilogram of physique weight and take a look at it in your coaching first to keep away from negative effects like jitters,” Thompson advises.

Have you ever kicked a caffeine habit and also you don’t wish to begin again up? It’s okay. You’ll be able to nonetheless prepare arduous and see outcomes. “Whereas caffeine can improve efficiency, it isn’t needed for optimum outcomes. Good diet and coaching are the first components,” Thompson says. Caffeine is simply an choice to provide the edge whenever you’re trying to take it up a notch.


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Properly+Good articles reference scientific, dependable, latest, strong research to again up the data we share. You’ll be able to belief us alongside your wellness journey.

  1. Mielgo-Ayuso, Juan et al. “Impact of Caffeine Supplementation on Sports activities Efficiency Primarily based on Variations Between Sexes: A Systematic Assessment.” Vitamins vol. 11,10 2313. 30 Sep. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11102313
  2. Grgic J, Grgic I, Pickering C, Schoenfeld BJ, Bishop DJ, Pedisic Z. Get up and odor the espresso: caffeine supplementation and train performance-an umbrella assessment of 21 revealed meta-analyses. Br J Sports activities Med. 2020;54(11):681-688. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2018-100278
  3. Mielgo-Ayuso, Juan et al. “Impact of Caffeine Supplementation on Sports activities Efficiency Primarily based on Variations Between Sexes: A Systematic Assessment.” Vitamins vol. 11,10 2313. 30 Sep. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11102313
  4. Mielgo-Ayuso, Juan et al. “Impact of Caffeine Supplementation on Sports activities Efficiency Primarily based on Variations Between Sexes: A Systematic Assessment.” Vitamins vol. 11,10 2313. 30 Sep. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11102313
  5. Shen JG, Brooks MB, Cincotta J, Manjourides JD. Establishing a relationship between the impact of caffeine and period of endurance athletic time trial occasions: A scientific assessment and meta-analysis. J Sci Med Sport. 2019;22(2):232-238. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2018.07.022
  6. Jiménez, Sergio L et al. “Caffeinated Drinks and Bodily Efficiency in Sport: A Systematic Assessment.” Vitamins vol. 13,9 2944. 25 Aug. 2021, doi:10.3390/nu13092944
  7. Lowery, Lonnie M et al. “Worldwide society of sports activities diet place stand: espresso and sports activities efficiency.” Journal of the Worldwide Society of Sports activities Diet vol. 20,1 (2023): 2237952. doi:10.1080/15502783.2023.2237952
  8. Stecker, Richard A et al. “Timing of ergogenic aids and micronutrients on muscle and train efficiency.” Journal of the Worldwide Society of Sports activities Diet vol. 16,1 37. 2 Sep. 2019, doi:10.1186/s12970-019-0304-9
  9. Lowery LM, Anderson DE, Scanlon KF, et al. Worldwide society of sports activities diet place stand: espresso and sports activities efficiency. J Int Soc Sports activities Nutr. 2023;20(1):2237952. doi:10.1080/15502783.2023.2237952
  10. Talanian, Jason L, and Lawrence L Spriet. “Low and reasonable doses of caffeine late in train enhance efficiency in skilled cyclists.” Utilized physiology, diet, and metabolism = Physiologie appliquee, diet et metabolisme vol. 41,8 (2016): 850-5. doi:10.1139/apnm-2016-0053
  11. Visitor, N.S., VanDusseldorp, T.A., Nelson, M.T. et al. Worldwide society of sports activities diet place stand: caffeine and train efficiency. J Int Soc Sports activities Nutr 18, 1 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-020-00383-4


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