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Can Caffeine Improve Your Workout?

There is a common belief that caffeine improves both mental and physical performance. How many times have you uttered the phrase “I can’t function right now, I haven’t had my cup of coffee?”

A group of Australian researchers set out to identify whether caffeine affects the exercise performance of sedentary women. Basically, data has shown that caffeine helps athletes improve their fitness levels by increasing time to exhaustion and reducing pain sensations among other things.

In the study, published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, scientists studied 10 healthy, sedentary, women who were non-regular caffeine users.

Testing day included 15 minutes of stationary cycling where each was required to perform hard enough to bring their heart rate to 65%. Then they rested for 5 minutes and started back up again, this time cycling as fast as they could for 10 minutes.

All the while their oxygen uptake, heart rate, rate of perceived exertion, energy expenditure and respiratory exchange ratio were measured.

Turns out though, that the only time any difference was seen was during that 15 minute push. Even then caffeine only increased the amount of energy spent and the oxygen uptake. Does this mean those who took caffeine were working harder?

The researchers were not convinced that just the average person could see any benefit from caffeine.

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