In the sporting world, caffeine is one of the most widely used and effective supplements available. While you might not see professional athletes in a café before a big race, the chances are that they have had a caffeine boost to improve their performance, for longer is very high. In fact, caffeine has been shown in several studies to significantly increase performance in physical activity. In endurance events, caffeine is shown to reduce finish times by as much as 3%. So if you can use it effectively, it could take a minute off a 5K PB or over five minutes off a marathon finish time.
Caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant, optimising your alertness and drive when running. Supplements such as Revvies are great for long distance performance as they make you feel more awake and less tired by increasing the concentration of endorphins in the brain. In fact, studies show that supplementation of caffeine is effective in reducing how hard you feel your body is working, otherwise known as perceived exertion, making caffeine an excellent addition for those looking to manage their energy levels.
John Nolan-Neylan, co-Founder and CEO of energy specialist, Revvies, offers advice on how best to use caffeine for sports performance.
“Athletes around the world have long used caffeine to improve their performance in races or during training, but most people don’t have access to the expert nutritionists that control this. That doesn’t mean, however, that everyone can’t benefit and hit that new PB or fitness goal. Here are my Do’s and Don’ts for pre-workout caffeine consumption.”
Get your timing right
Traditional caffeine products are best consumed 30-60 minutes before exercise, so don’t wait until the last minute to get your boost or you might not feel the benefit until after the race is over, and have that uncomfortable feeling of having the liquid sloshing around whilst you move. Conversely, if you wait too long you might miss out on optimal performance. Luckily, for those morning workouts or runs, Revvies Energy Strips are fast-acting, absorbing in just 5-10 minutes, allowing you to get up and out the door in minutes, and they also allow you to top up caffeine levels whilst exercising help you keep in the right zone even during the hardest sessions.
Take the right amount
New research has shown that for endurance 1-3mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight delivers the performance benefits of masking fatigue and reducing perceived effort, whilst avoid the pitfalls or overstimulation such as anxiety, jitters or an upset stomach. But caffeine sensitivity varies significantly between people, so learning the right amount for your body is important, which is why Revvies are available in both 40mg and 100mg forms- so you know you have the right amount in your system when you start.
Load up on sugar
A number of caffeine-containing pre-workout or energy drinks contain a significant amount of sugar to give you that characteristic ‘buzz’. However, if you’re exercising for 90 minutes or less, a good diet will give you all the calorific energy you need to perform at your best. In fact, drinks or snacks with lots of simple sugars often provide a short-lived boost, but then causes what is known as a sugar-crash, making it harder to perform at your best. Revvies are sugar-free and thus avoid this trap; the caffeine in Revvies will help convert fat stores to energy, whilst reducing perceived effort, and masking feelings of fatigue.
Drink too much
While it is important to stay hydrated, lots of liquid before exercising is clearly not ideal, so drinking a pre-workout or cup of coffee is not the most efficient way to get your caffeine hit. Not to mention it can cause stomach issues and extra bathroom breaks along the way. Good hydration should start 24-48 hours before an event. And it’s perhaps good to know that it is a myth that caffeine dehydrates you – it does not.
Revvies Energy Strips, which contain either 40mg or 100mg of caffeine in each serving, are sugar-free, vegan and gluten-free. The strips dissolve on the tongue and take effect in 5-10 minutes without being as hard on the stomach as caffeine pills or gels. They come in three different flavours and are available through the UK Amazon website.