|Delicious, ergogenic and good for sore, damaged muscles: coffee!|
In their latest paper in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Aron R. Caldwell and colleagues report the results of an interesting experiment, an experiment with a hypothesis that was based, mainly, on the well-known, but short-lived (2-4 hours) analgesic (=pain relieving) effects of the world's favorite drug: caffeine.
To test, whether those would help athletes to recover faster, Caldwell et al. simply postponed the usual caffeine ingestion schedule that would have the subjects ingest caffeine pills or caffeinated beverages ~1 hour before exercise, to maximize blood caffeine concentrations for ergogenic effects during exercise or testing, to the post-workout window. And since the authors also speculated that "the primary mode of action of caffeine during recovery", if there was any, was "analgesic in nature, such that any reduction in pain sis directly related to blood levels of caffeine" (Caldwell. 2017). They had their subjects ingest caffeine several occasions throughout the day - here twice a day - so that any measurable decreases in skeletal muscle soreness would be maintained. Accordingly, subjects rated muscle soreness once in the morning, before caffeine ingestion (i.e., when blood caffeine levels were low), and once midday (i.e., when blood caffeine levels were high).
The exercise stimulus the subjects, adult men (n = 25; 53 ± 10 years) and women (n = 5; 46 ± 11
years) were subjected to was nothing less than the 2015 Hotter’N Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls, TX, a 164-km bicycle ride that takes place, above all, in August. All subjects had previously completed at least one 164-km cycle ride and were not naive to caffeine consumption (habitual intake = 230 mg of caffeine per day).
"To examine the effects of caffeine ingestion on soreness and functionality, subjects who completed a 164-km recreational cycle ride were matched for body mass, age, and sex, and were randomly assigned to ingest caffeine or identical looking placebo pills after completion of the ride. To examine the effects of caffeine or placebo ingestion on DOMS and functionality during recovery, subjects continued ingesting caffeine or placebo twice a day, once in the early morning on waking and once at noon, for the next 3 days.
The post-workout, every-day-all-day caffeine approach could also help you get into and stay in ketosis | more
Measures of perceived function ality and soreness were obtained before and after the ride, and in the morning and in the afternoon of the 3 subsequent days before ingesting pills. Morning and afternoon measures of functionality and soreness were separated to evaluate if the caffeine dosing schedule effected subjects perception of these 2 variables" (Caldwell. 2017).As hinted at previously, the subjects ingested the caffeine pills (3mg/kg, i.e. 252 mg on average, per serving) in the mornings 1–4 days post-ride (700 or 800 hours) and in the afternoons on 1–3 days post-ride (1200 hours) after being prompted by e-mail and text message. And yes, it would be interesting to see how they'd done if they'd got this caffeine from coffee - probably better! After all, "Coffee Beats Caffeine in the Gym!" (read more).
- the caffeine group tended to have lower overall RPMS in the afternoon versus placebo (i.e., main effect of group; 1.1 ± 0.2 vs. 0.5 ± 0.2; p = 0.09).
- the caffeine group had significantly lower afternoon RPMS for the legs (main effect of caffeine; 1.3 ± 0.2 vs. 0.5 ± 0.3; p = 0.05), and
- there was no measurable difference in terms of perceived lower extremity functionality
- Caldwell, Aaron R., et al. "Effect of Caffeine on Perceived Soreness and Functionality following an Endurance Cycling Event." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2017).
- Pedersen, David J., et al. "High rates of muscle glycogen resynthesis after exhaustive exercise when carbohydrate is coingested with caffeine." Journal of Applied Physiology 105.1 (2008): 7-13.