By Chloe McLeod and Jessica Spendlove, founders of The Health Performance Collective and accredited Sports Dietitians
Caffeine is a well-known ergogenic (sports performance) aid and the most widely consumed stimulant in the world, so it is no surprise that there are many reasons why we (and clearly many others) love caffeine before a workout or other physical activity. To narrow it down, here are the top 7 reasons why caffeine is our favourite ergogenic aid.
1. Improved physical performance
Caffeine has been well-studied and is one of the few ergogenic aids with a good body of evidence behind it. One of the ways caffeine can help improve physical performance is by reducing perceived effort and fatigue, which makes exercise seem easier.
2. Improved mental performance
Caffeine can improve mental performance, increase energy levels and improve alertness. For many sports, concentration and decision making are critical skills, which may benefit from caffeine supplementation.
3. Beneficial to a variety of sports
Caffeine has been found to useful in improving performance in a variety of sports. Caffeine has been shown to be most beneficial to endurance sports such as running and cycling. However, it has also shown to benefit high-intensity events lasting 1-5 minutes, prolonged high-intensity events lasting 20-60 minutes, as well as both team sports and racquet sports.
4. Available in a variety of forms
Caffeine is an ergogenic aid that suits many individuals because it is available in a variety of forms. Those who prefer liquid supplements may consume caffeine in the form of a pre-workout or as coffee. Many athletes prefer the convenience of a caffeine strip, like Revvies, as they are lighter on the stomach than liquid sources, caffeine tablets or caffeinated energy gels.
Unlike many supplements, caffeine is a very cost-effective, affordable supplement – which is always a bonus!
6. Rapidly absorbed
Using traditional sources of caffeine such as coffee, caffeinated drinks, tablets or gels, caffeine reaches peak blood concentration approximately one-hour post-ingestion (this varies among individuals). Recent research suggests that caffeine strips that dissolve in the mouth, and caffeinated gums, could provide a much faster source of caffeine with users reporting effects within 2-5 minutes. This creates an opportunity for caffeine levels to be easily maintained in the optimum range even whilst exercising.
Peak concentrations of caffeine should be maintained for 3-4 hours, and benefits may be sustained for up to 6 hours post-ingestion. This rapid absorption and maintenance of peak concentration make caffeine an ideal ergogenic aid.
7. It is a safe supplement
Unlike many supplements on the market, caffeine is a safe and natural ergogenic aid. Caffeine is an allowed substance for athletes competing in sports that are compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code, making it a popular choice for professional athletes.
As you might have guessed our recommended source of caffeine for use as a sports performance aid is Revvies Energy Strips, because it is easy to use, safe, consistent and light on the stomach.