Caffeine is the active substance ( Methylxanthine) which is found in coffee, tea and Guarana. Caffeine has long been considered to supplement that helps in physical performance. It works by activating the central and sympathetic nervous system. Because of this effect, the International Olympic Committee has set the upper limit for the legal use of caffeine in sport competitions.
Currently, this limit is the concentration of 12μgml caffeine in the urine, which means that heavy 70kg person has to drink six cups of coffee to reach prohibited level. Drinking two to three cups of coffee in half an hour before the competition does not lead to positive results in doping tests.
Who should not take caffeine as a supplement?
Because a positive effect on the metabolism of fats, caffeine is often used by athletes to increase their endurance. Caffeine may be useful for short and intensive efforts such as exercises with weights, but research has not firmly proven caffeine to be beneficial for increasing strength. It is important to note that caffeine intake is best used only during the competition because of long-term intake of this supplement reduces its beneficial effects. Since caffeine is a powerful fat burner. It may be useful for people who want to lose weight.
The physiological effects of caffeine
There are several physiological effects of caffeine to human physical and mental state:
- Increased stamina during exercise
- Improvement of the fast transient exercises
- Speeding up metabolism
- Accelerating fat metabolism
- Increasing loss of body fat
- Short-term improvement of mental functions
Studies have shown that caffeine, when given in doses allowed by the International Olympic Committee, improves the performance of runners in 1500 to an average of 4.2 seconds, and improves endurance of runners. Improved endurance comes primarily from a significant increase in levels of fatty acids in blood plasma. Increased levels of fatty acids in the blood increase the ability to use fatty acids as fuel and thereby preserve valuable carbohydrate stores. It should be noted that the effects are greater for people who are not accustomed to taking products that contain caffeine.
It is believed that caffeine works by: First activates the central and sympathetic nervous system. Second improves the "provocation" muscle. Third increases the secretion of catecholamines (stress hormones that increase the release of free fatty acids in the blood). 4th stimulates and accelerates the metabolism of fat, which helps to keep glycogen stores. 5th raises the level of potassium in the blood.
Since caffeine accelerates the burning of fat in the body there is a lot of research about its role in the process of weight loss. Studies have shown that taking caffeine before training enhances fat burning during exercise and by 30%, and increases the amount of calories burnt.
Is caffeine effective?
Although studies have shown that caffeine is effective in increasing endurance, and the short-term efforts to improve mental performance such as focus and speed of reaction, and that increases fat burning, some people may feel the negative effects of this supplement. Caffeine can cause heart palpitations and nervousness.
When is the suitable moment for caffeine intake?
It is recommended to take 150 to 200mg of caffeine 30 to 60 minutes before the competition. This will result in positive doping test result (unless the person who takes it does not aspire to less than 35kg!). It is worth noting that athletes who regularly take caffeine to feel less positive effects. Also, some athletes feel the negative effects due to caffeine intake, so it is very important that every person, even before the competition, assess for themselves whether to take this supplement.
If you take caffeine to help you lose weight, you can take 150 to 200mg every 4 to 5 hours. For best results, combine it with regular exercise (at least 3 times a week). Do not take large amounts of caffeine for more than 2 to 3 weeks. Prolonged intake of caffeine should be avoided because it increases levels of stress hormones that will give you a feeling of fatigue and exhaustion. If you take excessive amounts of caffeine during a hard workout, you can easily get into a state of overtraining.