If you’ve ever had a cup of coffee or a strong tea, you likely already know what caffeine is. Caffeine is one of the most popular and researched performance enhancing supplement. Whether it is someone trying to push through a busy day, or an athlete looking to get the most out of their workouts, caffeine is an incredibly effective supplement when used right.


What is caffeine?


Caffeine works by blocking adenosine receptors. Adenosine is used in our body to indicate tiredness and promote sleep. When adenosine receptors are activated, we start to produce more melatonin and wind down. However, when caffeine interacts with adenosine receptors, caffeine blocks the receptors therefore preventing us from getting tired.


In addition to this, caffeine increases the circulation of cortisol and adrenaline in the body and stimulates calcium release which is important for muscle contraction.


How does caffeine improve performance?


Caffeine can improve performance largely through its effect on the central nervous system. Caffeine can reduce the perception of fatigue, increase alertness, reduce pain, and increase your ability to perform for extended periods of time.


Caffeine can be useful for improving performance in endurance sports, team sports, sports involving high intensity activities such as rowing or sprinting, single effort strength and power sports, and for any occasion where you are feeling fatigued going into the session.


How much caffeine should you have?


According to the Australian Institute of Sport, the current recommendation for caffeine is 3mg/kg of bodyweight in caffeine if you are over the age of 18. This is the dose where the most effects can be noted without an increased amount of side effects such as anxiety or overstimulation.


If you are not a habitual coffee drinker, it is recommended to start with the lowest effective dose of 1.5mg/kg of bodyweight in caffeine or 100mg.


For those under 18, you should not exceed 2.5mg.kg of bodyweight in caffeine per day.


How much caffeine are in everyday items?


Caffeine is available in a huge number of everyday items. For most items on the shelf, the amount of caffeine can be found on the nutritional information panel on the product, but for some it can range massively. Here is a quick list of common items you might be getting your caffeine from and the amount of caffeine found in them.


  • Diet Coke 375mL – 48mg
  • Black Tea – 25-110mg
  • Red Bull 250mL – 80mg
  • No-Doz – 100mg
  • Brewed Coffee – 80-280mg
  • Green Tea – 25-110mg
  • Energy Gel – 8-100mg
  • Pre Workout – 91-387mg
  • Chocolate Bar – 5-50mg


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