A Study in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (Feb 2007) has supported the mounting body of scientific evidence that caffeine improves performance.

The evidence:

The authors studied the effect of a caffeinated sports drink during prolonged cycling in a warm environment. Sixteen highly trained cyclists completed three 120 minute cycling bouts; one with a placebo, one with a carbohydrate and electrolyte formula and one with a carbohydrate, electrolyte and caffeine drink.

Work completed during a performance ride was 15-23% greater for the caffeinated drink that for the other drinks. Ratings of perceived exertion were lower and strength loss comparing pre and post ride was also two-thirds less for the caffeinated drink condition (5% versus 15%). They also confirmed that using a caffeinated sports drink did not increase fluid losses. The drink mix used was a 7% carbohydrate solution (70g carbohydrate in 1000ml fluid) with 195mg of caffeine added.

Subjects drank 6ml of fluid per kilogram of body weight 10 minutes prior to a high intensity cycling bout for 120 minutes, taking 3ml of fluid per kilogram of body weight on board every 15 minutes until 105 minutes of the trial was completed.

Layman lowdown:

This study clearly supports data showing an increase in performance when taking on board a caffeinated drink. It does, however, only look at the effect of adding caffeine to a carbohydrate drink, so these results may not be replicated if caffeine is taken alone.

Caffeinated sports drinks are a great option to improve race times or increase training intensity and reduce feelings of fatigue. Adding caffeine however is not recommended if you suffer from high blood pressure.

To replicate the study conditions mix 1.5 scoop of Maximuscle?s Viper Extreme with 1000ml water and drink 300 ? 500ml (depending on body weight) prior to your ride, followed by 150ml-250ml every 15 minutes during your ride.