Coffee Beats Caffeine in the Gym: More Reps + Higher Total Volume on Squats Due to Ingredients Other Than Caffeine
|You don't necessarily have to bring fresh beans to the gym. A simple Nescafé instant coffee will serve the purpose, study shows. And it's going to work better than equal doses of straight caffeine.|
Against that background it is only logical that Darren L. Richardson and Neil D. Clarke from the Department of Applied Sciences and at the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences of the Coventry University in the UK wanted to expand on the previously reported results by Trexler et al. (2015 | previously mentioned at the SuppVersity).
Trexler et al. found that coffee improved leg press 1-RM performance to a greater extent than caffeine, while both coffee and caffeine attenuated the reduction in total work performed compared with placebo. Accordingly, Richardson and Clarke started their research, which was a randomised, latin-square, crossover, placebo-controlled trial, in which each subject attended the strength and conditioning suite on six occasions, with the hypothesis that the ingestion of coffee would exhibit at least some advantages over a equally dosed caffeine "placebo".
|Figure 1: Graphical illustration of the experimental protocol on all five test occasions (Richardson. 2016).|
"Trials were performed within half an hour on separate days to ensure an accurate comparison of strength and to limit strength fluctuations due to the effects of circadian variation (Duncan. 2011). Trials were separated by at least two days in order to allow recovery and to ensure complete caffeine washout. As caffeine has a highly variable half-life in healthy individuals of between 1.5-9 hours (Syed. 2005) subjects were instructed to avoid caffeine ingestion for a minimum of 12 hours and strenuous exercise for 24 hours prior to each trial to avoid fatigue (Beaven. 2013).The actual exercise protocol consisted of squats and bench presses at 60% 1-RM until failure. Each subject performed the exercise protocol following the ingestion of...
- 0.15 g/kg caffeinated coffee (COF; 3.4g per 100g coffee = 5.1g/kg body weight),
- 0.15 g/kg decaffeinated coffee (DEC; 5mg caffeine per kg coffee = almost zero),
- 0.15 g/kg decaffeinated coffee plus 5 mg/kg anhydrous caffeine (D+C),
- 5 mg/kg anhydrous caffeine (CAF), or
- a placebo (PLA; 5 mg·kg-1 maltodextrin from MyProtein, Manchester, UK).
"[In all] trials [coffee poweder and caffeine] were dissolved in 600 ml of hot water (68.9±2.5ºC) and served in mugs. The anhydrous caffeine and placebo trials were provided in capsule form (two opaque gelatine capsules) and ingested with 600 ml of water (16.4±3.8ºC). At the start of each trial, subjects had a maximum of 15 minutes to fully consume either the treatment beverage or capsules and water and were then required to rest for the remainder of the hour, after this time the warm up began. [...] A 24-hour dietary recall was completed by each subject during the familiarisation session, and was photocopied and handed back to the subjects in order for the same diet to be followed prior to subsequent trials" (Richardson. 2016).Let me briefly do the math for you: With the dosages and body weights mentioned before, subjects in all caffeine groups ended up receiving roughly the same amount of caffeine (when there was caffeine in the beverage), namely: COF: 433±40 mg, DEC: 2±0 mg, D=C: 425±39 mg, CAF: 425±39 mg.
|Figure 2: Changes in total weight lifted in response to the 5 treatments (Richardson. 2016).|
|Total flavonoid and nonflavonoid contents of all coffee and instant cappuccino brews, prepared only with water. Results are expressed as mg GAE/L ± SD (Niseteo. 2012).|
Yet, even though decaffeinated coffee is much better than its reputation, buying it only to reintroduce caffeine for performance purposes doesn't really make sense if it's not done in a scientific study to differentiate the effects of caffeine and other coffee ingredients.
|Figure 3: Individual effect on weight lifted during both trials (left) and mean felt arousal (right | Richardson. 2016).|
- Beaven, C. Martyn, et al. "Effects of caffeine and carbohydrate mouth rinses on repeated sprint performance." Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 38.6 (2013): 633-637.
- Beck, Travis W., et al. "The acute effects of a caffeine-containing supplement on bench press strength and time to running exhaustion." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 22.5 (2008): 1654-1658.
- Buscemi, S. I. L. V. I. O., et al. "Dose-dependent effects of decaffeinated coffee on endothelial function in healthy subjects." European journal of clinical nutrition 63.10 (2009): 1200-1205.
- Duncan, Michael J., and Samuel W. Oxford. "The effect of caffeine ingestion on mood state and bench press performance to failure." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 25.1 (2011): 178-185.
- Hendrix, C. Russell, et al. "Acute effects of a caffeine-containing supplement on bench press and leg extension strength and time to exhaustion during cycle ergometry." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 24.3 (2010): 859-865.
- Huxley, Rachel, et al. "Coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea consumption in relation to incident type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review with meta-analysis." Archives of internal medicine 169.22 (2009): 2053-2063.
- Niseteo, Tena, et al. "Bioactive composition and antioxidant potential of different commonly consumed coffee brews affected by their preparation technique and milk addition." Food chemistry 134.4 (2012): 1870-1877.
- Syed, Shariq A., et al. "Multiple dose pharmacokinetics of caffeine administered in chewing gum to normal healthy volunteers." Biopharmaceutics & drug disposition 26.9 (2005): 403-409.
- Trexler, Eric T. Effects of creatine, coffee, and caffeine anhydrous on strength and sprint performance. THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL, 2015.
- Wedick, Nicole M., et al. "Effects of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee on biological risk factors for type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial." Nutrition journal 10.1 (2011): 1.