Gary Moller: [DipPhEd PGDipRehab PGDipSportMed(Otago)FCE Certified, Kordel's and Nutra-Life Certified Natural Health Consultant]. ICL Laboratories registered Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis and Medical Nutrition Consultant.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Caffeine Helps in Sprints and Endurance Events

It has been established for more than 50 years that caffeine helps you exercise longer in events that require endurance. Recently researchers at Christ Church University in Canterbury, UK, showed that caffeine also helps you in much shorter events. Trained cyclists raced one kilometer (0.6 mile) on three times, in random order, after taking 5 mg of caffeine, taking a placebo, or taking nothing. Their speed, mean power and peak power were more than three percent higher after taking caffeine (Journal of Sports Sciences, November 2006).
Most athletes know that caffeine improves their performance. A recent study from Griffith University in Queensland, Australia shows that 90 percent of triathletes used a caffeinated substance immediately prior to or throughout a competition (International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, October 2006). They used cola drinks (78 percent), caffeinated gels (42 percent), coffee (37 percent), energy drinks (13 percent), and caffeine tablets (9 percent).
Caffeine increases endurance by preserving muscle sugar, causing your muscles to burn far more fat. When your muscles run out of their stored sugar (glycogen), they hurt and are difficult to coordinate. Caffeine causes your body to produce more adrenalin that moves fat from your fat stores into your bloodstream and causes your muscles to burn more of these fats. Caffeine also helps you move faster in shorter races because adrenalin makes you more alert and more aggressive. Source: Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health e-Zine April 1, 2007
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Gary Moller comments:
Dr Mirkin, like most medical and physical conditioning experts has been sucked in by the over supply of caffeine industry-driven research to believe that caffeine is not just OK but good for athletes. What this "favourable" research fails to tell us is that the majority of test subjects are already caffeine addicts and all that the caffeine shots are doing is restoring a sense of "normality" to the subjects and their performance. Already feeling low due to the addiction, the subjects and the researchers perceive the consequent lift as a performance gain. Without the constant topping up with caffeine during the testing the subjects would feel like shit and perform accordingly, as one would of course expect when dealing with addiction.

One only needs to be an observer in the back offices of a typical law firm first thing in the morning to understand how important a few cups of brewed coffee are to get the legal wheels turning for the day! The same applies to the addicted athlete.




Caffeine addicts its users within days of use, causing a let-down in energy and mood if not used daily in increasing strength. For these people, the majority, the purpose of a shot of coffee is to restore normality, let alone give the user a more than normal boost to performance.

When I was in the 2006 Commonwealth Games village, I was struck by the gallons of strong coffee, including straight caffeine shots, being consumed by the athletes from the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada as compared to the black African and Caribbean athletes who consumed little if any other than tea. The lack of consumption of caffeine by the African athletes did not seem to disadvantage them in any way as they generally kicked the butts of all-comers in the sprint and endurance contests!

A caffeine free athlete who has trained properly over many years, like a Kenyan has, for example, will outperform the caffeinated athlete in terms of consistency and overall performance. Please read my article here about how to determine if you are addicted to caffeine and how to wean yourself off it.

Train your ability to efficiently metabolise fat. Read the chapter beginning page seven here to get the idea of how to do this.

Above all else, have faith your your training and your own ability. You have no need for artificial stimulants to get you through.
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