Ryan, E. J., Kim, C.-H., Fickes, E. J., Williamson, M. L., Mullet, M. D., Gunstad, J., Barkley, J. E., Kamimori, G. H., & Glickman, E. L. (2011). Caffeine timing and cycling performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(5). Supplement abstract 2373.

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This study comprised two purposes: 1) to determine if caffeine administered in chewing gum (Stay Alert) enhances cycling performance, and 2) to identify whether timing of administration impacts subsequent performance. Male cyclists (N = 8) participated in five separate laboratory sessions, with a one week washout period between sessions. During the first visit, Ss underwent a graded exercise test on a cycle ergometer to determine maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) and were allotted time to practice the cycle time-trial. For each of the next four visits, three pieces of chewing gum [caffeine or placebo] were administered at three time points, 120 minutes pre-exercise, 60 minutes pre-exercise, and five minutes pre-exercise. In three of the four experimental trials, caffeine was administered at one of the three time points and placebo at the other two time points. During the control/placebo trial, placebo gum was administered at all three time points. The order in which Ss completed the experimental trials was randomized. Following baseline measurements, time allotted for gum administration, and a standard warm-up, Ss cycled at 75% VO2max for 15 minutes then completed a 7 kj/kg time-trial.

Time-trial performance was improved only in the five-minutes-before-exercise condition when compared to placebo.

Implication. Caffeine (300 mg) in gum form enhances time-trial performance when given five minutes before performance. When caffeine is given earlier there is no effect.

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