Effects of Caffeine on Sport Performance

Effects of Caffeine on Sport performance

Have you ever asked yourself what are the effects of caffeine on sport performance. Actually it is a huge performance enhancer for many athletes. It can even replace other energy drinks and powders from expensive brands available in famous supplement stores. Coffee is a great pre-workout drink when taken without sugar and cream. Moreover it is an excellent substitute for commercially produced performance drinks because it can be organic, is unregulated, widely available, and has only a few side effects.

Benefits of Caffeine on Sport Performance

Many people are stimulated and looking forward to a fantastic workout after a cup of coffee and the effect can also be seen among non-athletes. Remembering the history of coffee, a farmer in Ethiopia around the 850s discovered coffee when his goats became more energized after eating coffee cherries. This lead to the popularity of coffee and the benefits became known throughout the world.

Caffeine on Sport Performance

The caffeine in coffee left drinkers more invigorated, improving physical and mental performance. Aside from this, there are sports that require a lighter weight and the caffeine found in coffee helps to suppress appetite. High levels of caffeine can help lose weight by improving the ability to burn fat when exercising. According to studies, drinking coffee also causes a substantial rise in metabolic rate that lasts for three hours after the caffeine is consumed.

Emotional Effects

Trail runners (those that combine running and hiking on uneven surfaces) sometimes use coffee to give a boost on their run. It was observed that caffeine on sports performance shows improved endurance levels, helping runners to exercise for longer periods of time and with higher power output.

Caffeine on Sport Performance
Trail runners usually make very long distances, sometimes up to 200km!

The great thing about coffee is how it activates stored fat and promotes the use of working muscles, instead of converting sugar to energy during physical activities. Coffee is great before trail running, as research on coffee shows that it gives better resistance to fatigue brought by the activity.

Runners can feel a more positive outlook towards workout sessions when consuming coffee. It can also reduce post-workout muscle soreness after an intense workout, where a person can feel better instead of focusing on the after-effects of the exercise intensity.

Mental Effects

Sports are not always about physical strength, as some would require mental focus. Caffeine is proven to be a natural stimulant that promotes better concentration by improving brain function an reducing the risk of cognitive decline.  It has been noted that the effect is stronger in women than in men.

However caffeine overuse can cause consequences that will negatively affect mental health. As a stimulant, overconsumption may include difficulty in sleeping or getting relaxed and irritability. In the worst-case scenario, dependence on caffeine can lead to substance abuse that is somehow similar to the effects of illegal drugs. Paradoxically the results may include lower cognitive performance that may be required of some athletes.

Caffeine on Sport Performance :

How does it work?

Within 15 minutes of ingestion, caffeine enters the bloodstream with the stimulant effect peaking at 40 to 80 minutes later. A person’s body may differ from the others and have different responses to caffeine. Studies suggest that the right amount of caffeine for sports performance is around 5 to 6 milligrams per kilo of body weight. For example, if the athlete weighs 70 kilograms, the suggested intake is around 350 to 420 mg which converts to 3 to 4 cups.

Caffeine on Sport Performance
Image source: Forever fit science

Each cup of coffee approximately contains 90 to 100 mg of caffeine. If athletes would like to achieve optimum results, they should consider allocating enough time for caffeine to take effect. Those who never considered caffeine on sports performance can start with 2 to 5 mg, relative to those who regularly take coffee. It is also worth noting that pregnant people and those with medical conditions should check with their physician if they can drink coffee.

Read also: Have you ever heard about a coffee made from animal poop, and which is among the most luxurious and expensive coffee in the world!

Banning Caffeine in Sport Competitions

A study shows that the body can’t adapt to performances without caffeine, especially those in high-intensity sports or workouts. Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant that can temporarily boost alertness, mood, and increase consciousness.

Due to this, Olympic Athletes were banned to have high concentrations of caffeine by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) from 1984 to 2004. WADA is a foundation initiated by the International Olympic Committee to monitor drug use in sports, and even have a tag line of ‘play true’.

Caffeine on Sport Performance
Image source: Sport mole

The previous restriction states that the legal limit is 12 mg per mL and checked through urine tests. However, caffeine intake is difficult to track because everyone’s metabolism differs, as well as how hydration affects caffeine concentration.

To avoid penalizing athletes that are taking normal caffeine level, the rule was dropped in 2004 through a report from the Washington Post. Even though caffeine is no longer included in the prohibited list, it still remains on the agency’s watchlist. Caffeine levels in athletes are also being closely watched for habits of use.

Limiting Caffeine Intake

If the effects of overdosage are taking their toll, it’s time to consider limiting the intake of coffee. Food and Drug Administration considered 400 milligrams of caffeine from coffee daily (equivalent to three to four cups of home-brewed coffee every day) is considered safe.

Athletes may find the need to take more during their actual play or fight, which is not advisable. It could lead to dependency considering that coffee is unregulated and widely available in restaurants, supermarkets, and convenience stores. Specialists suggest sticking to the normal intake or only drinking when needed the boost.

Conclusion on the effects of caffeine on sport performance

Researchers continue to study the effects of caffeine, showing more benefits to athletes that do not regularly drink coffee. Just like any other drug or substance, excessive consumption has negative effects that habitual large doses can affect an athlete’s performance.

Normal intake of coffee gives positive effects when talking about caffeine on sport performance. Because of the advantages and increased results, athletes should include coffee in their daily diet.

I hope you enjoyed this article, do you sometimes drink coffee to boos your sport performance? If you have any questions or want to share your experience do not hesitate to write us!


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4 thoughts on “Effects of Caffeine on Sport Performance”

  1. Hi Arnaud,
    I like so much this interesting article. I am a big fan of coffee and I have always asked if coffee has a positive or negative impact on our health. Your text helped me understand that moderation is the key to everything and at the same time the answer to my question. I didn’t know that coffee was banned by the Olympic Committee for a while. But yes, when I think about it, coffee is a kind of good drug, because the fact is that it is addictive in some way. However, luckily for us coffee lovers that its negative effects begin to manifest only after we overuse its use. I never drink more than two teaspoons a day. I do office work and I couldn’t imagine a day without a cup of strong coffee. It really has a positive effect on alertness and mental abilities. But, I wonder, If athletes cannot drink more than 4 cups a day then maybe 2 a day is too much for those who are not athletically and physically active. What do you think is the measure for us who are not athletes? Is 2 cups of coffee a day that golden moderation?
    Thank you and keep writing amazing articles about coffee,

  2. Hi Danijela!

    I am glad that this article helped you find some answers to your questions:) Actually two cups of coffee is adequate for those who are not physically active. One in the morning and one after lunch so as to get enough boost for the day.

    It is not recommended to take a cup of coffee after 2pm as the effects will remain till the night and
    it can affect your sleep.


  3. Thank you Arnaud and I totally agree that it’s a good performance enhancer for a lot of athletes as it improves the endurance level of the athletes. I have also learnt from your article that it promotes better concentration by improving brain function. I noticed a lot of people like coffee and a lot of people drink it as well and I have always wondered if it had a negative or positive effect on the human body but from I have read too much of everything is bad and drinking too much of caffeine is definitely bad. Normal consumption of coffee will definitely go a long way and I agree its best to stick to that.
    Wonderful article.

  4. Hi Fem

    Yes taking the right dosage of coffee is all good for us:) Its a natural way to get some extra boost when doing physical exercise. I hope you enjoyed the article!


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