Optimal Dosage of Caffeine Before Exercise for Big Gains

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Optimal Dosage of Caffeine Before Exercise for Big Gains

by: Robbie Durand

Scientists had volunteers do exercises against four incremental loads (25%, 50%, 75%, and 90% 1RM) and participate in a test in which cycling peak-power output was measured using a four-second inertial-load test in a randomized, double-blind, crossover experiment. Subjects ingested either a placebo or caffeine at dosages of 3mg/kg body weight, 6mg/kg body weight, or 9mg/ kg body weight (for the record, 9mg/per kg of body weight is the equivalent of five to six regular-size cups of drip-percolated cofee, or about 693mg of caffeine).The good news is that caffeine produced ergogenic effects at all dosages. All the subjects’ perceptions of performance and vigor increased five to seven times above placebo during the 3mg and 6mg caffeine trials (38% and 54%, respectively). Those in the 9mg/kg body-weight trial had the highest increase in perception of performance and vigor or “activeness” (62% and 54%). The bad news is that the highest dose of caffeine (9mg/kg of body weight) was associated with many side effects, including increased heart rate, gastrointestinal distress, inability to sleep, and anxiety.Also, remember that higher doses of caffeine can cause increased levels of cortisol, so 3–6mg/kg of body weight seems to be the reasonable amount. So, take small doses of caffeine, around the 200mg mark, and find a dosage you can tolerate without having the unwanted side effects.

-Baker LB, Nuccio RP, Jeukendrup AE. Acute effects of dietary constituents on motor skill and cognitive performance in athletes. Nutr Rev. 2014 Dec;72(12):790-802.
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