As part of our ongoing effort to tout the benefits of coffee — and by extension, the wonderful, wonderful caffeine that lies within — we bring you the athletic rationale for drinking a healthy amount of coffee.
It was featured this morning on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” A link, and key parts:
“While I’m racing, caffeine is actually a pretty important part of my day, particularly in the Ironman, where it’s such a long race,” says Sarah Piampiano, a professional triathlete.
“Caffeine has been well-known to be a beneficial drug to use during sport. It’s been studied for many years over a variety of different types of sports; it will improve your performance,” says Matthew Ganio, director of the University of Arkansas Human Performance Laboratory.
But, he says, it is important to take the right dose.
“The general consensus is 3 to 6 milligrams per kilogram of body mass, and it can be quite a bit. The example being, an 80-kilo individual needing 6 milligrams per kilogram body mass — that’s four strong cups of coffee,” says Ganio.
This being the so-called “real world,” there is the opposing argument:
Some researchers urge restraint. University of Connecticut doctoral candidate Evan Johnson says caffeine works best when used judiciously.
“You find a lot of people who constantly ingest caffeine throughout the day and therefore need alcohol or some sort of sleep aid to get to bed, and then in the morning are so groggy they need caffeine again,” Johnson says. He calls it a “vicious cycle of supplementation.”
To that, we say, “Boo.”
A number of athletes, according to NPR, use artificial products with caffeine that help them calculate their intake / dose closely. But we like this guy the best:
Some athletes say they avoid caffeine because it makes them jittery, or it bothers their stomachs. Others, like triathlete Sam Gyde of Belgium, take a less systematic approach.
“I have a very busy life and a very busy work, and I train a lot, so I just drink lots of coffee so I am naturally very caffeinated. During training and racing, I use gels, which contain caffeine, and it’s not with any purpose, but I’m more or less like a heavy caffeine user,” says Gyde.
As NPR notes, Gyde has one the Kona Ironman twice for his age group. So, that’s a good anecdotal set of proofs.
Posted by Steve