The team suggests that substances in caffeine trigger muscles touse fat to fuel exercise instead of using the usual stores of carbohydrates. Other studies have found that caffeine taken during exercise can delay the onset of fatigue by up to 60%. (Intakes tested have typically been modest, ie 6-8 ounces of cola or coffee.)
Despite considerable research in this area, including the work at the Australian Institute of Sport the role of caffeine as a performance enhancing drug is still controversial. Some of the data are conflicting, which is in part due to how the experimental studies were designed and what methods were used. However, there is general agreement in a few areas:
- Caffeine does not appear to benefit short term, high intensity exercise (eg. sprinting)
- Caffeine can enhance performance in endurance sports.
Recommendations for Athletes
If you choose to use caffeine, make sure that you have used caffeine extensively under a variety of training conditions and are thoroughly familiar with how your body reacts to this drug.