Spring training is over for both Major and Minor League players which signals the start of a very long season with a number of variables not experienced during spring training to include longer hours, more travel, night games, day games after night games, variable training facilities and a limited number of days off. Each of these variables has the potential to significantly affect sleep patterns, refueling options, rest, recovery, rehydration and energy levels. Given the brutal schedule in professional baseball many players will often resort to energy drinks or energy shots in an attempt to gain a mental edge or ward off fatigue. But what component of these energy drinks and energy shots has proven ergogenic or performance value?
Of the host of different energy drinks and their purported energy-inducing ingredients, caffeine and/or carbohydrate have shown to be the primary ingredients exemplifying significant ergogenic value.
Caffeine: A stimulant that has shown to enhance “vigilance during bouts of extended exhaustive exercise, as well as periods of sustained sleep deprivation” and has positive effects on cognitive function (i.e. reaction time and decision making).
Where to find it:
- Green tea
- Cocoa beans
- Yerba mate
Doesn’t caffeine cause dehydration? No, consumption of caffeine does not induce diuresis nor does it negatively affect fluid balance.
When and how much caffeine before exercise/sport event? Caffeine containing beverages and food items should be consumed 10-60 minutes prior to exercise or athletic event. The amount varies from person to person. Performance benefits were seen at moderate amounts of 3-6 mg/kg Body Mass, however, adverse effects have been reported at doses as low as 250 to 300mg. Take caution when choosing an energy drink or caffeine-containing beverages and no more than one serving should be taken in one day to avoid adverse events and harmful side effects.
Common caffeine-containing beverages:
- An 8.4-ounce Red Bull contains between 75-80 mg.
- An 8-ounce cup of coffee contains between 95 to 200 mg.
- An 8-ounce cup of green tea contains between 24-45 mg.
Campbell B, Wilborn C, La Bounty P, Taylor L, Nelson MT, Greenwood M, Ziegenfuss TN, Lopez HL, Hoffman JR, Stout JR, Schmitz S, Collins R, Kalman DS, Antonio J, Kreider RB. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: energy drinks. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Jan 3;10(1):1
Stephanie Fernandes, RD, MS, is the Sports Nutritionist for the Texas Rangers.