Many people drink coffee to give them a little boost to get through a pile of paperwork or a looming deadline. Turns out a simple cup of coffee boosts sports performance too. While you might be under the impression that for caffeine to have a significant effect on athletic performance you'd have to ingest a ton of it, that isn't the case. The New York Times reports:
For years, researchers believed that you needed about 5 to 6 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. An 80-kilogram, or 176-pound man, for example, would need about 400 milligrams of caffeine, or 20 ounces of coffee.
Now, Louise M. Burke, the head of sports nutrition department of the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, reports that athletes get the full caffeine effect with as little as 1 milligram of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. Instead of 20 ounces of coffee, a 176-pound man could drink 4 ounces of coffee, or about two 12-ounce cans of Coke.
While we'd never condone people slugging back shots of espresso to shave a few minutes off their time trials, the benefits of a cup of coffee can be seen outside of competition. If you're already a coffee drinker, timing your morning or afternoon coffee fix around your workout schedule can help you get more out of your routine. What do you think? Is a cup of Joe before hitting the gym or track a harmless boost or a sure step towards selling your blood plasma for 'roid money? Photo by Steve Key.