The International Society of Sport Nutrition has issued an official report on the role caffeine can play in athletic endeavors. The report is a summary of multiple studies. The ISSN report has gathered significant attention in a variety of sports because it is quite comprehensive and the findings of the benefits of caffeine for athletes seem rather clear.
A summary for racers is:
• Small to moderate benefits of caffeine include movement velocity, effectively faster reactions
• As well as physical performance, caffeine is beneficial for cognitive functions, including complex information processing, alertness and attention
• Caffeine may be beneficial for performance under conditions of heat
• Beneficial dosages are 3-6 mg/kg of body mass (for a 180 lb driver, that is about 1 large cup of coffee)
• Caffeine supplementation works best about 1 hour before activity takes place
• Coffee, energy drinks, chews and other sources appear equally effective at the measured doses
Of course, we are not doctors, so this isn’t medical advice and caffeine retains its effect on sleep that could be a negative. But if you like coffee or Red Bull, you may want to know that it may also be helpful with your race performance.
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