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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 11-01-09, 01:04 PM   #1
rugerben
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Energy foods with Caffiene?

Gu puts out a line that has caffeine, and one that doesn't, Cliff shot/blok also has an option for caffeine or no caffeine.

Now, it's my understanding that caffeine dehydrates. So I can understand that it would give you that little boost on a ride, but if it comes with the penalty of dehydration, is it really worth it?
How do people who really know what they are doing, choose which thing to use?

Are the people using the caffeine doing a time trial where they need to go 'balls to the wall' for 15 minutes, could use the caffeine because they don't need to worry about dehydration?
Or do people who ride distance use caffeine energy foods as well?

I ride 20-30 miles at a time regularly, and half centuries are very normal for me, along with a couple of century rides every year. Water is very important to me. given the choice, I can't possibly see using something that would dehydrate me. Am I way off here?
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Old 11-01-09, 01:18 PM   #2
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Now, it's my understanding that caffeine dehydrates.
Not true.
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Old 11-01-09, 01:47 PM   #3
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I use caffeine all the time. I drink coffee every day, and do caffeine on every long ride. Instead of drinking coffee on or before rides, though, I take a caffeine pill. Personally, I don't like mixing my endurance ingredients: food, water, electrolytes, caffeine. I prefer them separately, so I can fine tune how I want to feel. So yeah, if you drink a cup of coffee right before a ride, you'll have to pee pretty soon, which wastes time. During a ride, not so much because one is usually slightly dehydrated anyway, so the liquid is just liquid and welcome.

My decision apparatus is still not reporting back on the advisability of doing caffeine right from the start, versus waiting until one starts to feel a little tired. The major effect of caffeine isn't as a feel-good stimulant, it's that it spares glycogen - which may or may not be an offshoot of its stimulant effect - I don't know. So from that standpoint, one should be better off doing caffeine right from the start. However, most people recommend waiting until one is tired and needs a boost. However, it's not clear if these people have tried it both ways and found the latter way better, or if it just never occurred to them to use it the whole way.

I'm talking one-day distances up to 600k. Comments welcome.
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Old 11-01-09, 05:51 PM   #4
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I like caffeine. A lot. But I have cut way down on it for health reasons. I have a bit of caffeinated coffee in the morning, about the equivalent of a half cup of coffee (it's a small amount of caffeinated beans along with decaf beans to make a big cup of espresso).

I'll also use caffeine in long events (for me that's 6-9 hours). But just one caffeinated gel near the end. Besides being a good mental pick up, caffeine helps you burn fat. The point of that is not to lose weight, it's to get energy when you are low on glycogen. I've only tried starting out a long event well caffeinated once and that was by mistake. I'm not sure it helped, mostly because I rode harder than planned for a couple hours till it wore off.
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Old 11-01-09, 06:03 PM   #5
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I like caffeine. A lot. But I have cut way down on it for health reasons. I have a bit of caffeinated coffee in the morning, about the equivalent of a half cup of coffee (it's a small amount of caffeinated beans along with decaf beans to make a big cup of espresso).

I'll also use caffeine in long events (for me that's 6-9 hours). But just one caffeinated gel near the end. Besides being a good mental pick up, caffeine helps you burn fat. The point of that is not to lose weight, it's to get energy when you are low on glycogen. I've only tried starting out a long event well caffeinated once and that was by mistake. I'm not sure it helped, mostly because I rode harder than planned for a couple hours till it wore off.
See, that's what you get for cutting back.
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Old 11-02-09, 12:23 AM   #6
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The recently publicized fact that caffeine's diuretic effects have been overstated was/is highly used by soda companies. I can't remember whether it's Coca-Cola or Pepsi, but one has been using this as a marketing tactic, touting soda's hydrating capabilities on the backs of their cases. As if that's the main health concern with these products. You'd think they would want to point out how evil HFCS 55 (used in soft drinks) is actually not pure fructose, like many people think, but about the same fructose/glucose mix as table sugar (and, thus, it has a natural analog, and arguably isn't far from the "real" thing). HFCS has a bad reputation for several legitimate reasons, but this is one that is overplayed. Then again, maybe I'd be bad at advertising.

I can only assume that people thought caffeine was a diuretic because when people drank coffee they had to pee. Never mind that coffee also contains a lot of water. Maybe this idea was formulated by long-distance drivers (truckers and the like), or desk jockeys? If they drank a lot of coffee to stay alert, they would certainly have to urinate more than usual. Of course, they never would have done any trials with the same amount of water.

Last edited by tadawdy; 11-02-09 at 12:31 AM. Reason: mixed up my sugars for a second
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Old 11-23-09, 03:01 AM   #7
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mmmmmmm coffffeee
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Old 11-23-09, 10:42 PM   #8
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OTOH, a riding buddy of mine didn't realize that the Espresso flavor Hammer Gel wasn't just coffee flavored, and after switching to it (yumm) couldn't figure out why she felt so weirded out during her races. Lots of caffeine in that stuff. So maybe a steady diet of caffeinated gu isn't what you really want. OTOH, having a few on board might be nice.
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Old 11-24-09, 08:03 AM   #9
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They did a study of joggers that said that a cup of coffee improved both overall performance and long run performance. People reported feeling less fatigued therefore able to run longer. Caffeine dissipates the lactic acid buildup that leads to muscle cramps. I don't Cycle without it. But I also commute in the morning.
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Old 11-26-09, 11:54 AM   #10
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LOL where is that study so we could read up on that. I never have it just because I don't drink things like that. Also what is in the caffeinated beverage? White sugar, etc? Good luck...
Caffeine pill works just fine - I prefer it because it doesn't make me pee. So much for the dehydrating effect . . .

As for that study - google is your friend. There are many studies validating the use of caffeine in endurance sports. The main effect is to spare glycogen use.
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