Everyone has heard a myth or two when it comes to caffeine and cycling. But the fact that cyclists love it seems to be the only thing that we can all agree on.
Bruno Gualano, a physiology professor at the University of São Paulo drinks a load of coffee and cycles a lot and he’s put together a study to see whether caffeine can make a marked difference on performance.
He divided a group of competitive male cyclists into three categories, those whose caffeine intake was low (less than a cup of coffee per day), a group whose intake was moderate (about two cups), and a group whose intake was fairly high (three or more cups).
The riders were then asked to return to the lab three times for timed athletic trials. Before the first trial, each was given a caffeine tablet. Before the second, they were given a lookalike placebo tablet made up of only gelatin and no caffeine. No tablets were given before the last ride.
The results revealed, that almost every cyclist who was given caffeine, produced the fastest time trial results, recording an average speed that was 2.2 percent faster as compared to the placebo trial, and 3.3 percent faster than with no caffeine at all.
“No matter the habitual caffeine intake in the diet, acute caffeine supplementation can improve performance”, said Gualano.
There were some gaps in this study though, namely that the study was solely performed on men, and healthy men at that. The other caveat is that you can’t just consume endless caffeine without eventually teetering into the detrimental side effects including heart palpitations, upset stomach, and jitters.