View Full Version : Caffeine and heart rate

02-01-2004, 11:09 AM
This winter, taking spinning as I do to avoid cycling in kneee-deep snow, I have been doing some informal personal research on how caffeine affects my fitness ability. I’m doing this mainly via observing my heart rate in class, since I don’t have a power meter and the heart monitor I have does not record data for later review.

Overall, caffeine seems to not only allow me to focus better and feel less creaky and fatigued going into the workout, but it also raises my heart rate by about 5 bpm at higher exertion levels. This is particularly pronounced at the 9am Sunday class, where this morning I peaked at 187, 184, and 185 on the three “climbs.” (It’s a 60 minute class.) The 187 is a two year high for me. The best I had formerly done this winter was 186 right after I started spinning again--and therefore had the most retained road fitness.

Now here’s the questions I’m hoping for some opinions on . . .

1) How does caffeine affect YOUR workout and how do you judge?

2) Is a caffeine induced maximum heart rate an “honest” number to call my max and use to calculate exertion percentages?

3) Do you know of any research that would prove it’s harmful to have caffeine before excercise? I had about 14 oz of coffee this morning an hour before class.

4) Is this “doping” even though caffeine is a legal substance?


02-01-2004, 03:21 PM

I here is my perspective:

1) I seldom workout unless fully caffeinated. I usually ride early AM - out by 5:00 or earlier. Mid-day workouts are at my club during lunch, which means I usually have a cup of joe on my desk all morning. How does caffeine affect my workout? It get's my lazy butt out the door - so it affects it very well thank you.

2) Is a caffeine induced max HR honest - sure, if you don't have a heart attack, why not?

3) Is working out while caffeinated dangerous? I try to keep an eye out for articles regarding this, and most studies I have seen come up undecided. i.e. If you drink coffee, don't worry about it. If you don't drink it, don't start.

4) Is this doping? I would have to say "NO!" There is no way you are possibly getting enough caffeine out of 14 oz. of coffee to affect performance.

BTW - If you are drinking good coffee (arabica beans), you are getting less caffeine than if you are drinking crappy coffee (robusta beans). I recently read somewhere that there is about half the caffeine in arabica versus robusta.

02-01-2004, 03:26 PM
ive been half loaded at many of the cross races, and i dont consider that to be doping, even though it is clearly performance enhancing.:p :beer: