Drinking a lot of coffee doesn't affect caffeine's performance enhancement, says study

Caffeine will have the same effect no matter how much coffee you regularly consume the study says

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A single cuppa or a five, it turns out it doesn’t matter how much coffee you drink, as more of it won’t have a negative impact on the performance enhancing benefits of caffeine on our cycling.

The sport’s love affair with coffee sees most of us stop for a mid-ride café stop on a longer ride, while caffeine shots are popular supplements that many riders consume, amateurs and professionals alike.

A new study confirms the long-held view that caffeine does have a minor positive impact on cycling performance, but interestingly it revealed that even if you drink masses of coffee every day, it doesn't change how much caffeine your body needs to feel the performance-enhancing effects.

Published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, a study of 46 cyclists (27 men and 19 women) who drank coffee one hour before a 5km ride found that their time improved by an average of 1.7 per cent.

The participants – who all trained once to three times per week - were either given caffeinated coffee that provided 3mg/kg of caffeine or a placebo.

The report said: “There was no statistical difference found between participants with a low or high regular intake of caffeine.

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“This suggests that regularly drinking coffee on a day-to-day basis does not negate its performance-enhancing benefits.

“Studies suggest that the energy-enhancing benefit of coffee occurs as a result of caffeine antagonising the adenosine receptors and leading to pain suppression, reduced fatigue and improved neuromuscular performance.”

A 2017 study found that three to four cups of coffee a day was linked with improved health, while as much as seven could also see positive benefits.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.