The Role of Caffeine in Athletic Performance

In the pursuit to optimize personal performance, athletes have been experimenting with different food sources and supplements for years! Amongst shifting fads for performance enhancement, caffeine has been a long-time favourite for endurance athletes. Caffeine has even become a banned (or restricted) substance for certain athletic competitions. Up until 2004, the International Olympic Committee restricted levels of caffeine that would pass a blood-doping test! So, that begs the question, how does caffeine play into overall athletic performance?

One of the ways that caffeine can enhance athletic performance has been sitting right beneath our noses. For many, our daily cup of coffee is our coveted mental alarm clock. The daily ritual helps to reduce mental fatigue, and jumpstart our brains into high-function gear. 

This sort of mental acuteness actually works to the advantage of athletes in endurance performance. While mental fatigue has very little impact on the physiological variables of performance, it has proven to take a serious toll on perceived maximum power or output. Simply put, when our minds are tired, it’s easy to convince our body that it is also tired. Your physical performance will follow the lead of your mental state.

Caffeine has been the centerpoint of multiple research studies where it’s been theorized that it plays a role in helping delay the onset of muscular fatigue. Such studies have worked with long-distance endurance athletes, researching the physiological responses to caffeine during aerobic exercise. What has been found is that if ingested prior to exercise, caffeine can delay the rate at which our brain releases hormonal responses (resulting in fatigue) to aerobic exertion levels. For both of these reasons, caffeine has shown some serious potential in improving endurance exercise results.

Nuun Hydration offers caffeinated versions of both our Sport and Vitamins products (look for the colour black on the label and cap). Both of these caffeine products contain 40 mg of organic green tea extract, in addition to a solid line-up of exercise replenishing electrolytes! Green tea was chosen as a clean, plant-based caffeine source for its time-released functions. Rather than providing heavy “spikes”, green tea allows for an even, time released distribution of caffeine into our system. Consume your caffeinated Nuun 30 minutes prior to exercise for maximum benefit!

Whichever way you prefer your caffeine intake, we hope that you reap the athletic benefits during your training!


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