Coffee improves cycling time trial performance

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coffee for endurance | caffeine cyclingCaffeine is known to significantly improve endurance exercise performance in a number of endurance sports including running, cycling and triathlon. Most previous research has suggested that consuming caffeine through coffee may be less effective at improving endurance performance than consuming caffeine anhydrous, this was believed to be due to compounds found within coffee called chlorogenic acid which may impair the performance benefits of caffeine. However, a recent study comparing the effects of caffeine, coffee, decaffeinated coffee and a placebo on endurance cycling performance in eight trained cyclists/triathletes found that coffee appeared to be equally effective for improving cycling time trial performance as caffeine anhydrous (Hodgson et al., 2013).

About the coffee research

The researchers compared the effects of consuming four different drinks containing caffeine anhydrous, coffee, decaff coffee or a placebo 1 hour prior to completing a cycling time trial. Both the caffeine and coffee drinks provided 5mg of caffeine per kg of bodyweight – previous research has suggested that optimum endurance benefits occur when consuming between 3 and 5mg of caffeine anhydrous per kilogram of bodyweight.

What the researchers found

Both caffeine anhydrous and coffee significantly improved cycling time trial performance by ~5% compared with the decaffeinated coffee and placebo drinks. The average performance times and average power are displayed below for the four treatments:

Treatment

Cycling Time Trial Performance

(Minutes)

Average power

(Watts)

Caffeine anhydrous

(5mg caffeine/kg bodyweight)

38.35±1.53

294±21 W

Coffee

(5mg caffeine/kg bodyweight)

38.27±1.80

291±22 W

Decaffeinated Coffee

40.31±1.22

276±23 W

Placebo

 

40.23±1.98

277±14 W

 

The researchers concluded that both caffeine and coffee, when consumed 1 hour prior to exercise, were equally effective at improving endurance exercise performance.

Click here to read more about the benefits of caffeine for endurance exercise

Coffee endurance exercise reference:

Hodgson AB, Randell RK, Jeukendrup AE. (2013) The metabolic and performance effects of caffeine compared to coffee during endurance exercise. PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e59561. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059561. Epub 2013 Apr 3.