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Low On Carbs? Caffeine Can Increase Power

July 18, 2013

Football players trying to get through two-a-day practices are very familiar with decreased performance during that second workout. It's a product of incomplete muscle recovery, including low levels of carbohydrate-replenished muscle glycogen. A study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise shows how the world's most popular stimulant can help get you back on track.

Researchers gave 12 experienced cyclists and triathletes a capsule containing 3 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight or a placebo under both normal and low glycogen conditions. Then they completed 8 sets of 5-minute rides at a self-selected intensity, getting a minute of rest between bouts. Caffeine helped cyclists increase power output by 2.8% under normal glycogen conditions, and 3.5% when glycogen levels were low.

Although that 3.5% boost didn't make up for the lack of performance with low glycogen levels, it did help these subjects perform better than they would have without a relatively low dose of caffeine. For a 180 pound subject, 3 mg per kg of body weight equals 244.8 mg of caffeine, or about what you'd get in one Speed Stack. Read today's Breaking News at optimumnutrition.com for a team sports tip on protein.