The biggest revelation in recent caffeine research, says Burke, is that you don't need to slug six cups of coffee before your workouts to have a body-blowing effect. "We used to think that caffeine needed to be taken in a fairly high dose, about an hour before a workout. But these days, we know that caffeine is far more versatile – it can work just as well in a whole range of protocols." What this means in the real work, she says, is that you'll still get as a big of a boost if you have one cup before the gym. You can also improve your performance by taking caffeine almost any time before your exercise – and even during your workout. So which type of caffeine is best? She says that doesn't matter: "Caffeine is caffeine whether it comes from a sports gel, a coffee, an energy drink, or a caffeine pill." So choose the source you like, and experiment with timing to find out what works best for you. If you have blood pressure or heart rate problems, speak with your doctor before using caffeine as a performance enhancer.
Want more information? Look for the updated version of Louise Burke's best-selling book, 'Caffeine for Sports Performance,' due out this summer.