Caffeine and Cycling
Talk to the average coffee drinker and you will hear stories about how they are unable to get the day started without a serious blast of caffeine. They will claim that their morning cup of coffee will provide them with all the energy they need to face the day ahead. If there is truth to these tales, then you would think that caffeine would be something that was commonly used by athletes looking for a competitive edge. What you may not be aware of is the link between caffeine and cycling, which has been around since well before the days of the energy drink.
Caffeine is a chemical that does indeed deliver some positive effects to your nervous and cardiovascular systems, delivering a jolt of energy that makes you feel ready to tackle anything. Cyclists have long known about these positive effects, and have routinely used coffee to get a much-needed energy boost, particularly at the beginning and near the end of a particularly long race or ride. Carrying a thermos filled with coffee is not always the most practical way to go, which is why caffeine supplements are fast becoming popular among cyclists.
As is the case with any sort of supplement, there are some drawbacks when talking about coffee and cycling, most notably with the dosage. The average cup of coffee can contain as much as 180 grams of caffeine, which is a whole lot more than you get from tea or soda, and taking more than one cup at any given time can lead to some side effects. The most common of these is a jittery feeling and heart palpitations that can have you sweating buckets once your caffeine consumption crosses beyond what would be considered a recommended amount.
It’s impossible to say what the recommended daily dosage of caffeine should be, as factors such as tolerance and body mass can make a huge difference in how different people react to caffeine. Going over the dosage that is best for you can actually have a negative effect on your cycling performance, as can relying on caffeine too regularly. It stands to reason that your body will eventually build a tolerance if you continue to pump it full of caffeine before every ride, which is why many cyclists skip the daily cup of coffee and only use caffeine when they are about to engage in a particularly tough ride.
Coffee And Cycling – Will it improve your performance?
There has been some research done concerning the connection between caffeine and cycling, and the results showed that the best results came in short, intense riding situations. Interestingly enough, it has also been found that trained athletes seem to get better results when using caffeine than casual riders. The main reason for this is probably that the trained cyclists have learned how to properly dose for maximum effect, whereas the average cyclist simply believes that slamming down a cappuccino before getting on their bike will be enough to turn them into a speed demon. Coffee and cycling do go hand in hand, but only when the amount of caffeine being used in properly regulated.
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