Table 3: Supplements with good to strong evidence of achieving benefits to performance when used in specific scenarios
Overview – Caffeine is a stimulant that possesses well-established benefits for athletic performance across endurance-based situations, and short-term, supramaximal and/or repeated sprint tasks.
Mechanism – Adenosine receptor antagonism; increased endorphin release; improved neuromuscular function; improved vigilance and alertness; reduced the perception of exertion during exercise
Protocol of use – 3–6 mg/kg of body mass (BM), pill or powder form
– Consume ~60 min prior to exercise
– Lower caffeine doses (<3 mg/kg BM, ~200 mg), provided both before and during exercise; consumed with a CHO source
Performance Impact ENDURANCE
– Improved endurance capacity such as exercise time to fatigue
– Endurance-based time-trials (TT); 5–150 min; cycling, running, rowing and others

– Low doses of caffeine (100–300 mg) during endurance exercise (after 15–80 min of activity) may enhance cycling TT performance by 3%–7%
– During short-term, supramaximal and repeated sprint tasks
– 3–6 mg/kg BM of caffeine taken 50–60 min before exercise
– Performance gains of >3% for completion time, mean power output and peak power output during anaerobic activities of 1–2 min
– 1%–8% for total work output and repeat sprint performances during intermittent team game activity
Further considerations and potential side effects – Larger caffeine doses (≥9 mg/kg BM) do not appear to increase the performance benefit
– Are more likely to increase the risk of negative side effects, including nausea, anxiety, insomnia and restlessness
– Lower caffeine doses, variations in the timing of intake before and/or during exercise, and the need for (or lack thereof) a caffeine withdrawal period should be trialled in training prior to competition use
– Caffeine consumption during activity should be considered concurrent with carbohydrate (CHO) intake for improved results
– Caffeine is a diuretic promoting increased urine flow, but this effect is small at the doses that have been shown to enhance performance

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