Caffeine for Athletes: Insights from Huberman & Dr. Galpin

From the energizing effects of caffeine on endurance to the nuanced debate of training in a fasted state versus with fuel in the tank, these discussions are more than just talk—they’re revelations for anyone looking to optimize their workout regimen. 

Caffeine & Endurance

Caffeine is a stimulant, a booster for your energy and focus — especially for long workouts. But not every rep benefits, Dr. Galpin says. The magic of caffeine has its limits.

Here’s the deal with dosage: 1-3 milligrams per kilogram of your body weight. That’s what Huberman finds optimal, about 30 minutes before your workout. 

It sharpens the mind, quickens your response. But if you’re new to caffeine, take care – it can be a wild ride.

Let’s talk numbers. An espresso shot? That’s in the safe zone. Go beyond and beware; more than 5 milligrams per kilogram can backfire, Dr. Galpin cautions. 

Trouble is, coffee shops pour strong. A small cup can pack a whopping 250 to 350 milligrams, with larger cups hitting a gram or more. The result? A shaky, pounding headache and resistance to caffeine’s better effects.

And it’s a bit of a gamble – the caffeine content varies widely. They suggest a fix for the precision-minded: caffeine tablets. 

The takeaway from Galpin and Huberman? Know your caffeine limits. Use it smartly to boost your game while steering clear of the jitters. 

Training Fasted versus Fed, Caffeine, Carbohydrate Timing

Dr. Galpin delved into the science, explaining how we generate energy. He highlighted caffeine’s role in keeping us awake during workouts by interfering with adenosine, a sleep-inducing compound.

When to eat before exercise depends on the workout, Dr. Galpin noted. Quick, high-intensity workouts may not need immediate fuel. But for longer sessions that drain muscle energy reserves, eating beforehand is vital.

Dr. Galpin then tackled the subject of macronutrients. He stressed that daily intake matters more than meal timing—except for carbs

Carbs play a key role in maintaining hydration and rebuilding muscle energy, so their timing is pivotal.

For athletes training multiple times a day, getting carbs right is crucial. Dr. Galpin suggests about half a gram of carbs per pound of body weight. 

Protein needs are typically half that. These figures can be tweaked according to individual recovery needs and workout intensity.

In essence, the decision to train on an empty stomach should consider the workout type and the body’s performance and recovery needs. Timing and quantity of nutrient intake can make a big difference for those striving for improvement.

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