You might have seen people chugging energy drinks at the gym or sipping lattes at SoulCycle — there is some evidence that caffeine can boost your athletic performance. However, this new study suggests that your performance will only improve if you’re someone who rarely drinks caffeine. Sorry, coffee addicts — your pre-workout brew isn’t doing you any favors.
The study found that exercisers’ caffeine tolerance increased over time; the kick of their pre-workout caffeine diminished as their caffeine habit grew stronger.
Researchers used caffeinated gum in place of coffee to experiment with caffeine’s effects. The participants in the study were team sport athletes, and participated in repeated sprint tests to gauge athletic performance.
At first, it seemed like there were no differences in sprint performance, whether the caffeine was ingested or not. However, the researchers began to notice that performance increased for people who did not typically consume caffeine.
Athletes who habitually consumed more than 130 milligrams of caffeine a day, the equivalent of around one large cup of coffee, did not benefit from caffeine as a performance aid.
In other words, if you’re sipping a pre-spin latte every time you make it to the studio, your latte isn’t really boosting your performance in class. It could be giving you carbohydrates to fuel your sweat session, though. Even Beyonce needs a little SoulCycle sugar boost — she was recently spotted carrying cupcakes near the spin studio. A cupcake is probably not the smartest pre-workout snack, though — here are a few of the best and worst snacks to pick before your workout.