When we talk about coffee, we are really talking about caffeine.

What about caffeine and sports?

Even 15 years ago, caffeine (in large quantities) was unauthorized by doping. Now is no longer on the list of unauthorized substances, its effect on performance is not as pronounced as expected, but the effect is there.

Coffee (unfiltered with caffeine) has so many positive effects that I personally feel sorry that my liquid drug has to be black tea. It protects blood vessels and prevents atherosclerosis. It prevents also the development type 2 diabetes. It has an antitumor effect, it stimulates the protective enzymes that helps to transform in the liver of external substance, especially carcinogens from sausages, moulds, fuel mixtures and tar. The safe quantity of coffee is 2-5 cups a day.

Coffee stimulates muscle and heart performance, stimulates adrenaline secretion and mobilizes fat as a source of energy, all of which increases aerobic performance. In the short term, our alertness and attention will increase our perception of effort and fatigue and stabilizes the mood. However, before you mentally categorize coffee among superfoods, you must consider the following. Coffee is a diuretic, so in an incorrect drinking regime it dehydrates and can cause kidney problems.

Coffee is a diuretic, so in an incorrect drinking regime it dehydrates and can cause kidney problems. It causes a mild dependence that is manifested by withdrawal symptoms for several days like irritation, restlessness, headaches and insomnia. It reduces the amount of absorbed iron, while athletes (and women in particular) have higher demands on iron intake and must be prudent in view of its absorption. At least it is important to drink coffee from a few hours away from an iron-rich meal.

The effect of coffee varies depending on the genotype. Some people do not respond to caffeine with improved performance or delayed fatigue. In the best case, caffeine simply does not work. (Did I say I have been drinking tea? It energizes me and wakes as if the coffee never goes.) In the worst case, their performance will get worse due to digestive problems (diarrhoea or convulsions).

Coffee only changes our perception of fatigue in the short term. With long-term use, we will learn to suppress our need to rest and work under pressure for a little longer, but the true fatigue and difficulty of chronic stress will still be lurking beneath the surface. A varied diet of real foods, enough sleep and mental rest assures us enough energy for sports and for a healthy, sustainable lifeway.

What to take from that?

Paracelsus figured it out: “Solely the dose determines that a thing is not a poison”.

If your coffee gets you a good start and you have it tested in training, you can give it a one-time boost for your high intensity endurance performance (cycling, swimming, running, rowing, triathlon). Dosage is either an hour before the start of sports performance (safe dose is 3mg caffeine per day)1kg of your weight), or slightly smaller amounts of power during your exercise. In life and in common practice, you’ll discover more varied ways to improve your performance and feel energised.

This article is prepared for you by..

    Danica Dobisová
Psychologist and nutritional counsellor. I help people to lose weight without dieting and forever. I follow the principles of mindful eating and teach people what and when to eat and how to create healthy eating habits. Here is more information.
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