09 Dec

By Ryan Morrison for Mailonline

Having a cup of coffee can do more than wake you up in the morning, a new study found it could also improve your peak performance before working out. Researchers from the University of Coventry recruited 46 amateur cyclists who had trained one to three times a week for a year and had them track their coffee intake. The average person in the UK drinks two cups of coffee a day, although this varies by age group, with baby boomers having twice as much as millennials. 

People who have a cup of coffee before exercising perform better than others, whether they are caffeine junkies or not, the British scientists discovered. They found this out by giving one group of cyclists coffee before they cycled for three miles on an exercise bike and another group a placebo before the ride and those given coffee performed 1.7 per cent better than the placebo group.

 Previous research found coffee could boost physical endurance by suppressing pain, reducing fatigue and improving neuromuscular performance. However, it was unclear whether these benefits extended to people who drink coffee on a regular basis, so study author Dr Neil Clark set out to investigate. The team looked at the impact of habitual caffeine intake on three mile cycling time-trial performance to better understand the link between caffeine and performance.

 The researchers recruited 46 amateur cyclists who had been training between one and three times a week for at least a year. Participants were asked to complete a coffee consumption questionnaire and divided into two groups, depending on how much they usually drank. People who typically had one to two cups of coffee a day were placed in the low group, while those who enjoyed four to five cups, were put in the high group. Some of the cyclists were given a cup of coffee, while others were fed a placebo - both had to cycle for three miles on an exercise machine an hour later. Drinking coffee before the trial improved people's physical performance by on average 1.7 per cent, regardless of how much coffee participants usually drank. Dr Clark said: 'Ingesting coffee, providing three mg/kg of caffeine improved five kilometre cycling time-trial performance with similar performance observed between habitually low- and high-caffeine users. 'Consequently, habitual caffeine consumption did not affect the ergogenic effect of coffee ingestion prior to a five kilometre cycling time trial.' Caffeine consumption was measured against people's body weight, with three mg/kg equivalent to roughly 200mg caffeine for a 70 kg (154lb) adult. A typical cup of coffee contains between 75 and 100mg of caffeine, researchers say. Dr Clark said: 'There is an association between caffeine consumption and an increase in endurance performance and capacity, coupled with a reduction in the rate of perceived exertion during exercise.

 'This is the first study, however, to investigate whether regular coffee consumption impacts these energy and performance enhancing effects.' 

The findings were published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.le Text

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