Caffeine puts some pep in athletes’ workouts

Shlok Gore, Science and Health Editor

Just 200 mg of it sends chemical signals throughout the human body. After it’s reabsorbed in the small intestines, your body starts to tingle, muscles suddenly feel more alive, the mind abruptly regaining clarity. The caffeine that was just ingested primes the body for the athletic action.

Caffeine is a chemical ingredient used in many foods and beverages, such as Coca Cola. For athletes, caffeine is used pre-workouts to boost one’s general alertness and energy level.

It’s a substance that synthetically increases the production of bodily stimulants such as adrenaline, ultimately leading to an increased blood flow to the muscles and an elevation in blood glucose levels. This effect is desired by athletes for the bursts of energy that it gives. According to information presented by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, it’s no wonder that athletes take advantage of caffeine, since they say that it helps with sustained high-intensity training.

Junior Alan Vu, who plays football, finds that the popular pre-workout beverage C4 aids him to perform at a higher level on the field. Vu said that his energy level, like anyone’s, decreases throughout the day, and football matches are held after school.

To combat being tired prior to a game, Vu and other players on the team take the caffeinated pre-workout drink C4, with 150 mg caffeine. The typical cup of coffee contains 95 mg. Excessive levels of caffeine may range from 500-1,000 mg, which can have side effects such as anxiety and insomnia, according to the medical journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.

“I would take (C4) because it would help me get excited when I couldn’t,” Vu said. “It made us more awake and aware of what we were doing.”

150 mg of caffeine is equivalent to an 8 oz Espresso. With this amount of caffeine, one can expect a noticeable boost in both energy and alertness.

Pre-workout drinks, although some of the most common pathways to consume caffeine, are not the only way of achieving that energetic rush. Coffee is frequently used by athletes for that same purpose.  

Junior Benjamin Aronson, a swimmer, drinks coffee to get an extra burst of energy before the race.  

He says, “I did drink a little bit of coffee before for a race. I noticed that I felt a little energized in during warm up and it helped a little for the race.”