Despite considerable research in this area, the use of caffeine as a performance enhancing drug is still questionable. Some of the data is inconsistent, which is in part due to how the trial research was designed and what methods were used. However, there is general agreement in a few areas. First is that caffeine does not appear to be beneficial in short, intense workouts such as sprinting, and two is that caffeine can enhance efficiency in long endurance activities.
We all know that Glycogen is the key fuel for muscular tissue and when it gets depleted we experience exhaustion. Another fuel which is much more abundant is fat. As long as there is still glycogen available, operating muscular tissues can still utilize fat. Caffeine mobilizes fatty deposits and makes operating muscular tissues to use fat as the fuel. This sets back the exhaustion of muscular glycogen and allows for a longer workout. The critical time frame in glycogen sparing seems to happen during the first fifteen minutes of a work out, wherein caffeine has been shown to reduce glycogen utilization by as much as 50%. Glycogen saved at the beginning is thus available during the later stages of work outs. Although the exact method by which caffeine does this is still uncertain, it caused sparing in all of the scientific examining on people where muscular glycogen stages were calculated. The impact on efficiency, which was observed in most trial research, was that tested subjects were able to work out for longer before exhaustion took place.
In addition to the benefits on muscle tissues, caffeine may alter the perception of how hard you will work. During examination, athletes are asked to assess their effort which is referred to as the rating of perceived effort (RPE). Some research has produced significantly lower RPE’s meaning less exhaustion when they used caffeine, while other research has not found this impact. Obviously, the RPE is very very subjective, and there are many things that may influence it.
In Ironman races, the work out research on caffeine involved testing of endurance of roughly 2 hours which means there is no specific information relevant to ultra-endurance competitions like Ironman Races. Although Pre-race caffeine may be valuable because the longer the competition is, the more essential fat is needed for fuel. Whether this source of caffeine usefulness in Ironman races is still unknown, we do know for sure that these do supply necessary carbohydrates.
If you choose to use caffeine, then a few tips to maximize its benefits would be to consume 3 – 4 hours before the competition since the highest possible coffee impact on fat storage seems to happen several times after peak blood flow stages. Another tip is to consider reducing or refraining from coffee for 3 – 4 days prior to competition to ensure highest possible impact. Be careful though, because some may encounter withdrawals. Lastly, is to make sure that you have used caffeine substantially under a variety of training conditions and are thoroughly familiar with how your human body responds to this drug. Never try anything new on competition days and always be prepared to accept the consequences if your urine test is above limits.