Everyone knows that caffeine boosts performance, right? Everyday experience proves it – but not always. Here’s where it gets interesting.
Researchers informed healthy study participants that they were testing the effects of caffeine on performance and post-exercise heart rate. One group of study participants was told it would be given a caffeine drink immediately prior to their workouts, while other participants were told they were taking a placebo, an inert drink containing no active caffeine. However, rather than actually giving a caffeine drink to one of the groups, the researchers gave participants in both groups a placebo.
Researchers then had all participants from both groups perform single-leg leg-extension exercises for 15 repetitions at 60 percent of their one-rep max, and the results were interesting.
Researchers found that study subjects who believed they had received the caffeine drink performed two additional repetitions during the leg extension and reported feeling as though they had worked less hard than subjects who performed the same exercise without what they believed to be the caffeine drink. In this case, believing made all the difference.
Researchers concluded, “the perception of consuming a substance that purportedly enhances performance is sufficient enough to enable individuals to complete a greater number of reps to failure during short-term resistance exercise.”
So here’s your FUSION FACTOID: Caffeine works big time, but not for everyone, and caffeine can stop working for you even if you get a kick out of it now. This research makes it clear that although caffeine works well, it’s really the mind that’s the power behind most of its effects. Caffeine works because it affects your mind and gets you energized and focused. But you can do this naturally by visualizing your workout before you do it. Mix both caffeine and visualization together, and you have a serious recipe for an intense workout and muscle growth! So use them together, but never neglect or forget about the importance of having control over both your muscles and your mind.
Source: Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2009 Jun;4(2):244-53.