The secret to a better workout is probably already in your kitchen

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“For an elite or high-level athlete, it makes a lot of sense,” Dr. Nelson said.

Studies suggest that the ideal performance-enhancing dosage is between 1.4 to 2.7 milligrams per pound of body mass (although some research suggests that even lower dosages may work).

For example, an eight-ounce cup of coffee contains about 100 milligrams of caffeine, although this can vary depending on the type of coffee and method of brewing. So, two cups of coffee yield 1.3 milligrams per pound for a 150-pound person. It may take some experimentation to find the right dose for you, as people metabolize caffeine differently. Whatever your ideal dose, be sure to take it about an hour before exercise so your bloodstream has time to absorb the caffeine.

“The only thing I would say,” Dr. Guest said, “is someone who’s not really exercising a lot of energy, like if they’re going for a walk, they’ll probably want to go with a lower dose, because when You’re excited, you need an outlet.”

While caffeine may help your exercise performance, it does have some adverse effects.

“If your performance includes fine motor skills, then realistically those people perform poorly,” Dr. Nelson said.

If you drink coffee late in the day to help with your evening workout, you may be disrupting your sleep.

“People underestimate the value of sleep,” Dr. Guest said. If you’re experiencing chronic sleep deprivation, whatever performance benefits caffeine may be giving you may be nullified. Caffeine also has other side effects for some people, including jitteriness, anxiety and increased blood pressure.

If caffeine impairs your sleep, he recommends consuming it eight to 12 hours before bedtime, depending on how quickly your body metabolizes the chemical.

In regards to Ms. Goudreau’s strategy of abstaining from caffeine to promote performance-enhancing effects, a recent analysis of several studies found that habitual consumption does not blunt the performance-enhancing effects of caffeine. If you save your caffeine use before a competition, you may experience a stronger placebo effect. But Dr. Guest also cautioned that the side effects of caffeine withdrawal, such as headaches, fatigue and poor concentration, can affect your training sessions, leaving you less prepared on game day.

For those who are not competitive athletes, the benefits of caffeine may be more about going to the gym than performing well there. After all, if your morning coffee gets you out of bed, it could be just the performance boost you need.

Hilary Achauer is a freelance writer focused on fitness, health, wellness and parenting.

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