As we know, caffeine prior to exercise can do wonderful things to performance, such as increasing our pain tolerance and decreasing our perceived exertion.

The issue with caffeine is that it can be very negative to performance (ergolytic) if consumed in higher quantities. Now, the dose needed to have a positive impact on performance (without the negatives) varies from person to person.

However, research would suggest the effective dose lies within the range of 3-6mg per kilogram that you weigh. Where, some people may get a nice caffeine kick from 1mg/kg bodyweight…i.e. 100mg for a 100kg rugby player.

In this case, it’s always best to start low and build up the dose until you find the right amount for you.

As you’re probably aware, coffee is a great source of caffeine and is a major ‘go to’ for many athletes before events and games. But, do you actually know what you’re getting?

A study by Desbrow and colleagues in 2007 aimed to investigate the caffeine content of 97 espresso/short black coffees from 5 different coffee shops.

You’d think that buying the same drink would contain the same amount…well my friend, it does not. Incredibly, the caffeine content of the tested espressos ranged from 25mg all the way up to 214mg, with the average espresso containing a modest 106mg of caffeine.

Picture this…

1) You’re 100kg and you’re aware than an average espresso has ~100mg of caffeine, therefore you order a brew for a quick pick me up.

2) You unluckily get an espresso that has ~25mg of caffeine and you feel zero benefit.

3) Next time, you order a double as ‘more is more’…but this time, you happen to get served an espresso that contains ~214mg per shot.

4) Unknowingly, you’ve now consumed over 400mg of caffeine and now you’re absolutely off your fucking nut…

This right here is my issue with relying on coffee for your caffeine boost before games or events – it’s unreliable.

If for example, you were to have a caffeine gum, tablet or powder, you know exactly what you’re getting as there’s very little variation with the manufacturing process. This is why I’d recommend coffee’s around training, but when you need certainty in your approach, it’s best to supplement [IMO].

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