Caffeine may favorably effect long-term endurance performance, but research results concerning high-intensity, short term exercise have been mixed. Still, it seems very likely from an analysis of the biochemical effects of caffeine that it has a beneficial effect on short term fatigue and muscle fiber in high-intensity, short term exercise like bodybuilding. Caffeine is also often successfully used in combination with ephedrine and aspirin as a thermogenic cocktail to burn fat and increase lean body mass.

The effects of caffeine, however, seem to be significant only in those athletes who don't regularly consume it. People who don't drink caffeinated beverages seem to benefit from the use of caffeine before exercise; those habituated to caffeine do not. One study concluded that a 10mg per kilogram of bodyweight dose of caffeine is an ergogenic aid during incremental exercise when it's taken 3-4 hours before exercise in fasting subjects who have diets low in caffeine. Thus tolerance to caffeine should be taken into account when an athlete wants to draw any benefit from caffeine absorption before exercise or competition.

One main mechanism of the potential ergogenic effects of caffeine is the antagonism at the level of adenosine receptors, mainly in the central nervous system. Caffeine also increases production of plasma catecholamine that allow the body to adapt to the stress created by physical exercise. Catecholamine production probably increases, in turn, the availability of free fatty acids as muscle substrates during work, allowing glycogen sparing. Caffeine is able to increase muscle contractility and can improve the time before exhaustion, but has no ergogenic effect on intense exercise of brief duration. Caffeine can also improve physical performance and endurance during prolonged activity of sub maximal intensity. Glycogen sparing resulting from increased rate of lipolysis could contribute to the prolonged time to exhaustion.

Overall, the use of caffeine before workouts (1-2 strong cups of coffee) in those who ordinarily don't use caffeine would increase workload capacity and increase the anabolic effects of exercise if used in conjunction with proper training, nutrition and supplementation.

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