Caffeine is quickly becoming the secret weapon in the nutrition arsenal for all competitive athletes.
Is coffee a good source of caffeine?
At the right levels, caffeine is great for lifting and sustaining your performance. The most common ways of satisfying your caffeine intake include gels and pills; but more and more of us are turning to coffee, for a more natural pre-ride boost.
It makes sense, because natural caffeine means a sustained energy boost; as it releases slowly into the bloodstream, unlike synthetic caffeine you tend to find in energy drinks. It also means no harsh spike, which is always followed by a crash.
What makes TrueStart Coffee different?
Relying on regular coffee is unpredictable - the caffeine levels in a regular cup of Joe vary significantly - sometimes between 20 and 300 mg per cup! That's why sometimes you feel wired after a coffee, and other times you don't feel any real boost.
This is where TrueStart Performance Coffee - with Optimum Caffeine comes in. It is the world's first coffee for sport; with an optimum level of natural caffeine (95mg per cup), to ensure you feel the boost without the unpredictable highs, lows and crashes.
When should I have coffee before exercise? - Testimonials
So when is the right time to consume caffeine, as part of your training or race day preparation? We've teamed up with #TeamTrueStart to share some insights into the lives of their athletes, and how they use caffeine to enhance their training and race performance.
We hope this post will help you better incorporate caffeine in to your nutrition plan, and use caffeine with confidence to make every ride count.
The Pro Cyclist - Sam Brand
"Most days for me, bar racing ones, usually begin with a 10am training ride. I tend to wake up slowly, so a natural caffeine boost is the perfect way to kick-start things; it sets the tone for a good day.
I primarily use TrueStart Coffee - to me, it is a great tool that I implement in my training on a daily basis; including before, during and post-ride; as well as on race day.
Every day for me is the same - I enjoy routine. My first cup of coffee is TrueStart - straight up: one scoop, a touch of cold water, and the rest kettle-boiled water. Simple. Effective. It's how I start my day, everyday.
One of the main reasons I love TrueStart though, is its versatility. It can be used in many different ways…
During training, I often add TrueStart to my water bottles; it is a refreshing cold drink too, and it helps to provide a measured caffeine boost mid-ride. It easily dissolves in cold water.
Post ride, I enjoy an ice-chilled TrueStart - it's a great way to sit back and chill out. I often add lemon, milk or something sweet. It completely changes the drink for me; whilst its effectiveness remains completely untouched.
The new TrueStart pouch design is ideal to take to races, and whilst travelling; it's always the first thing in my bag. TrueStart Coffee really is a complete tool; it's usable in many different forms."
The Amateur Triathlete - George Bright
TrueStart works well for me, because of its consistency. Coffee has long been a staple of an endurance athlete's diet; but for me, I've traditionally steered clear of it because I have a bit of a weak stomach…
Coffee can have undesirable side effects, both during training and racing; and GI is nobody's friend.
With TrueStart, it's different though; the caffeine content is regulated and can be accurately measured. Knowing the expected caffeine content in each scoop/cup, I know pretty much exactly how it's going to affect me and my internal workings.
In my case, I tend to utilise it on my key long weekend training sessions. I can have a cup of TrueStart Coffee an hour before leaving my house, and by the time our group-ride has assembled, I'm firing on all cylinders. I feel stronger and more alert, and rather than fading towards the end of every ride, as I used to, I now find I'm gaining in performance after a few hours. All this without having to nip off to squat in the nearest bushes every so often! That's a result!"
The TrueStart Founder - Helena Hills
TrueStart was born because we had our own problem to solve - we've always had a coffee before training for a natural caffeine hit, but I'm quite sensitive to caffeine, and I was noticing real randomness in how I felt after my coffee - one day I'd be out on the bike having heart palpitations and the next day, nothing!
When we started to look into it, we found out how much the caffeine levels in coffee vary and were pretty surprised to say the least. I'm a big believer in caffeine to boost training and racing performance (obviously!), but have always had dodgy tummy and heartbeat issues when I have too much; and I've never been a big fan of synthetic options – they hit me too hard and fast, before I crash and feel sick again.
For me, training is all about mind set. If in the back of my mind I'm not confident in my nutrition, or how my body feels, then I'm not going to go hard or actually enjoy it. That's the biggest difference TrueStart Coffee has made – I know how I'm going to feel.
It's actually a big part of my mental prep now and I enjoy drinking it – it's a massive confidence boost, knowing that I'm going to smash my training without feeling sick or jittery anymore. It helps my mentality during training too – if I'm struggling I'll think "I can do this – I've had my TrueStart!" and it works! I genuinely do train harder for longer!