We have known reports about the health-promoting features of caffeine for a long time. Further research confirms that caffeine can have a beneficial effect on health and even prolong life. Coffee can, therefore, be an important element of the diet of all of us, including BJJ competitors!
A quick reminder
Caffeine (Latin coffeinum) is an organic chemical compound found in coffee beans and many other plants. It can also be obtained synthetically. Depending on the source, it is also called theine (when the source is tea), guaranine (when it comes from guarana) and mateine (when it comes from yerba mate). It is also the world’s most commonly used stimulant.
Caffeine and sport
Caffeine affects the nervous system, has a psychoactive effect and increases the secretion of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, adrenaline, and serotonin. It also enhances glycogenolysis and lipolysis. Accelerates metabolism, minimizes fatigue and significantly improves concentration. Thanks to these properties, it can be helpful in the diet of people practicing demanding sports. Caffeine can support competitors in high-intensity sports such as BJJ.
BJJ and caffeine
In 2016, Diaz-Lara and colleagues tested the effects of caffeine on elite BJJ competitors. One group received caffeine (3mg / kg bw) and the other received a placebo (cellulose capsule). Compared with placebo, caffeine intake before exercise increased the maximum grip strength during the dynamometer test in the dominant hand by 4.4% and in the non-dominant hand by 4.9%. The caffeine group increased the time registered in the MSL test (Maximal static lift – holding gi wrapped on a bar, hanging over time – a specific test for BJJ competitors) by 10.4% compared with placebo.
In addition, the caffeine group increased to 1 maximum repeat (RM) in the flat bench press by 3.0% compared with the placebo. At the same time, it increased the maximum output power by 10.5%, and the average power was higher by 7.2%. Compared to placebo, caffeine intake improved the number of repetitions in the bench press to tiredness with a weight of 45% 1RM (21.8 vs. 25.0 reps). Furthermore, caffeine also increased the average power during this test.
All these results indicate a beneficial effect of caffeine supplementation in BJJ. In addition, it is worth adding that in other studies, caffeine was associated with hypoallergenic effects, i.e. it can cause suppression of pain perception, which seems to be also a beneficial option in BJJ and other martial arts.
Caffeine is also an ideal solution for competitors who are looking for legal ways to increase their performance. Also, it is a performance enhancer that can help BJJ athletes and most importantly is not a prohibited substance. Caffeine has been used in sports for many years, so its nothing new or controversial.
If you don’t like coffee, you can take caffeine in many other forms. Pills are the most popular, but you can also drink tea or eat dark chocolate or cocoa. Caffeine is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and reaches maximum effect about an hour after consumption. It relaxes muscles and stimulates nerves. It also reduces tiredness by acting on the sensory nerves of the brain. Caffeine converts fat into additional fuel, releasing calcium stored in the muscles and dulling the feeling of brain exhaustion. This combination improves performance on average from 5% to 25%.
Many studies are suggesting that if you consume caffeine half an hour to an hour before, for example, competition, you can expect performance-enhancing effects. It should be noted that the best results will be achieved when you are not an ordinary consumer of caffeine. Also, not everyone has the same reactions to caffeine. Factors such as age, height, weight, and amount of caffeine consumed will largely determine people’s reactions. Some users may have different levels of effects on caffeine doses. Therefore, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu athletes should not follow the average recommended dose (3 to 6 mg of caffeine per day x bodyweight) and should determine the appropriate dose that will not hurt them. How to determine this dose? You can experiment, but it’s best to consult a doctor. Determining the right dose of caffeine is also important because an overdose of caffeine can cause side effects.
- Caffeine means greater efficiency and strengthening for muscles
- It accelerates metabolism, minimizes tiredness and significantly improves concentration
- Caffeine is natural doping, at the same time is both completely legal for competitors, and freely available
Warning for using coffeine for BJJ !
Like all drugs caffeine should be treated with respect. So, do not consume large doses of caffeine every day, because it can be addictive and cause unpleasant consequences. Side effects of consuming an excessive dose of caffeine may include irritation, anxiety, disturbed heart rhythm, insomnia or headache. So, like everything, caffeine has its pros and cons. We just should remember both, keep common sense and everything will be all right.