This is good news for pre-workout lovers and caffeine junkies. There is no need to stop taking caffeine, as habitual caffeine users still have performance-enhancing benefits. Caffeine withdrawal is unnecessary and does not enhance the effects of caffeine once usage resumes.
Those that claim to be immune to caffeine can still benefit from caffeine before exercise.
Habitual caffeine consumption did not change the ergogenic effect of caffeine in male, female, trained, or untrained individuals. Interestingly, they found that caffeine < 3mg/kg/bw and 3-6 mg/kg/bw were effective for increasing performance, but higher dosages (>6 mg/kg/bw) were not effective for increasing performance.
HAVE A COFFEE
Caffeine is just about in every pre-workout product because it plays a role in central nervous system arousal (i.e., sympathetic nervous system) and increases energy and focus before training. The performance benefits of pre workouts with high caffeine depend on habitual caffeine intake. Your tolerance to caffeine also depends on your genes.
A person’s daily caffeine intake influences a large inter individual variability of pre-exercise caffeine. If a person does not drink coffee, giving him/her a big dose will likely cause anxiety and decreased performance. A person who habitually consumes caffeine intake will likely see a positive effect. After long-term use of caffeine, many people commonly state, “caffeine doesn’t affect me.”
The positive and negative effects of caffeine on athletic performance have been well documented. Drinking a cup of coffee, coffee drinks, and taking a pre-workout (i.e., drinking caffeine) has been shown to elevate/produce adrenaline levels (i.e., epinephrine and norepinephrine), improve exercise performance, increase fat mobilization, act as a pain reliever, and spare muscle glycogen. The acute increases in performance response to acute caffeine supplementation are well documented.
Caffeine ergogenic effects may even increase blood flow. Some research has suggested that caffeine can increase blood flow by increasing flow-mediated dilation of the blood vessels. However, an excess daily dose of caffeine has negative side effects such as anxiety, decreased performance, and insomnia.
WHY DOES CAFFEINE NOT AFFECT ME?
When you take caffeine for a while (i.e., high habitual intake), you may notice that you don’t get the same responses to acute caffeine intake as when you first started taking caffeine (i.e., caffeine habituation). Many people commonly say, “Coffee doesn’t affect me,” or they are “caffeine immune.” Some have suggested that it’s best to cycle caffeine (i.e., reduce or eliminate caffeine intake) and go thru a withdrawal period so you can re-sensitize receptors.
CAN YOU BE IMMUNE TO CAFFEINE?
The question that everyone wants to know is, does long-term caffeine use lose its performance-enhancing effects with time? How to cycle off caffeine to get the ergogenic effects of caffeine?
A recent meta-analysis of 66 studies with over 958 males and 179 females examined the effect of habitual caffeine consumption and performance. The researchers examined dosages of < 3 mg/kg of body weight, 3-6 mg/kg/bw, and > 6 mg/kg/bw.
The researchers found that habitual caffeine consumption does not influence the effect of caffeine supplementation. Caffeine was effective for endurance, power, and strength exercise, with no influence on relative habitual caffeine consumption within exercise types. Habitual caffeine consumption did not change the ergogenic effect of caffeine in male, female, trained, or untrained individuals. Interestingly, they found that caffeine < 3mg/kg/bw and 3-6 mg/kg/bw were effective for increasing performance, but higher dosages (>6 mg/kg/bw) were not effective for increasing performance.
This is good news for pre-workout lovers and caffeine junkies. There is no need to stop taking caffeine, as habitual caffeine users still have performance-enhancing benefits.
Caffeine withdrawal is unnecessary and does not enhance the effects of caffeine once usage resumes. The amount of caffeine you consume before strength training is based on your tolerance, so before resistance training, find a dose that is appropriate for you.
Caffeine metabolism and performance are both important when taking a pre-workout. Caffeine peaks in the blood approximately 45 minutes after consumption.
Carvalho, A., Marticorena, F.M., Grecco, B.H. et al. Can I Have My Coffee and Drink It? A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis to Determine Whether Habitual Caffeine Consumption Affects the Ergogenic Effect of Caffeine. Sports Med (2022).