Drink up

Bicycling.com put out an article today discussing a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. The study came to the conclusion that recovery can be aided by caffeine. The trick – you have to drink ALOT of it.

I try to keep up on the latest nutritional news and have a pretty disciplined diet. So, I appreciate the studies that are done around endurance sports and nutrition.  When I do read these studies I try to apply a reasonableness test to the articles.  You know…does it make sense?
The caffeine study didn’t make sense.  Here’s why.  The amount of caffeine used in the study was eight grams per kg of body weight. So for a 165 pound cyclist that would be about 600 mg of caffeine.  How much is that?  As Bicycling.com points out, it would be eight (yes that says eight) cans of Red Bull, four Monster Energy Drinks or two Starbucks Grande coffees.
If you are going to do a study it would make sense to me to do it using a dosage that is reasonable.  Drinking eight cans of Red Bull after a workout by no means seems reasonable!
I enjoy a periodic cup of coffee every once in a while but typically not during my peak racing season.  Caffeine has diuretic properties which can lead to decreased hydration levels.  That’s one of the reasons I tend to stay away from coffee while training.
So, while there may be some positive benefit to taking in caffeine, I have to believe that any benefit to drinking 8 cans of Red Bull would be offset by the negative effects of such high caffeine levels.
I won’t be testing out this particular study. If you do, I’d be very curious to know how it works out for you.

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