SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.
Share your tales of travel & adventure with our step-by-step guide. Upload trail descriptions, photos, video, and more. Get Started
The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

Trail Chef: The Caffeine Buzz

Does caffeine boost or bonk your trail endurance?


The other day at the grocery store, I grabbed a couple of bottles of Vitamin Water and noticed some of the flavors now have caffeine. This recent (to me) development is just one example of the caffeine craze sweeping the food aisles, with more and more gels, bars, blocks, drinks, and even baked goods (google Buzz Donuts) caffeinating up. So is this bandwagon a good one for backpackers to jump on? That’s a hard question to answer, since the caffeine debate is filled with pros and cons, fact and fiction. Here, we’ll attempt to dispel some of the myths and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about caffeine and sports performance. 
 
1. Does caffeine dehydrate you? Probably not. Although it is a diuretic (meaning it causes peeing), this effect is short-lasting, so you still get more water from a caffeinated beverage than you lose. This was confirmed in a 2007 study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, which found that caffeinated sports drinks hydrated cyclists (who were asked to bike for more than two hours in hot, humid weather) just as well as non-caffeinated sports drinks.
 
2. Will caffeine make you hike faster? Yes and no. For long, endurance activities—think an all-day hike—research suggests that, indeed, caffeine does increase your stamina. Presumably, it does this two ways: first, by triggering your cells to burn more fat for energy, thus preserving glycogen stores (when cells run out of glycogen, you bonk, aka “hit the wall”). Secondly, caffeine also beguiles the brain into thinking it’s not working as hard as it really is. In tech-speak, it lowers your perceived exertion. Caffeine does not, however, appear to boost performance for short, intense bursts of activity—like a final sprint to the summit.
 
3. When’s the best time to take caffeine for the greatest effect? This question still needs more research to answer, but some studies suggest that taking caffeine three to four hours before exercise—for example, drinking a cup of coffee as you drive a couple hours to the trailhead—has the greatest impact, because it best preserves your glycogen stores.
 
Some caveats: Despite the alluring idea of a Starbucks grande transforming you into Ed Viesturs, caffeine doesn’t help everyone. For one thing, it increases the production of stomach acid, so it can irritate your belly, especially if you have ulcers. Other people also find that it exacerbates GI cramps and runner’s trot (diarrhea) by triggering large-intestine contractions.

The takeaway message: Don’t try out caffeinated drinks and foods for the first time the day of an important hike—like a life-list peak you want to tag. Test them out on hikes beforehand, to see if they jive (jiva?) with your body. Also, beware of caffeine withdrawal: Every weekend, I binge on chocolate-covered espresso beans on the trail, and then on Monday, quit cold-turkey. The result: headaches, fatigue, crabbiness, and, to borrow an Office Space line, a severe “case of the Mondays.”

—Trail Chef, Kristin Bjornsen

READERS COMMENTS

49ersfanstores
Nov 15, 2012

http://www.49ersfanstores.com/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/6-ahmad-brooks-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/7-aldon-smith-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/8-alex-smith-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/9-andy-lee-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/10-anthony-davis-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/11-anthony-dixon-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/12-brandon-jacobs-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/13-braylon-edwards-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/14-carlos-rogers-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/15-colin-kaepernick-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/16-dashon-goldson-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/17-david-akers-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/18-delanie-walker-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/19-donte-whitner-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/20-frank-gore-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/21-isaac-sopoaga-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/22-joe-staley-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/23-justin-smith-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/24-kendall-hunter-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/25-kyle-williams-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/26-mario-manningham-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/27-michael-crabtree-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/28-mike-iupati-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/29-navorro-bowman-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/30-patrick-willis-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/31-randy-moss-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/32-ted-ginn-jersey/
http://www.49ersfanstores.com/33-vernon-davis-jersey/

sdfdsf
Oct 30, 2012

http://www.bluejaysstore.com/
http://www.bluejaysstore.com/aaron-hill-jersey
http://www.bluejaysstore.com/adam-lind-jersey
http://www.bluejaysstore.com/alexis-rios-jersey
http://www.bluejaysstore.com/harry-halladay-jersey
http://www.bluejaysstore.com/joe-carter-jersey
http://www.bluejaysstore.com/jose-bautista-jersey
http://www.bluejaysstore.com/paul-molitor-jersey
http://www.bluejaysstore.com/ricky-romero-jersey
http://www.bluejaysstore.com/roger-clemens-jersey
http://www.bluejaysstore.com/toronto-blue-jays-blank-jersey
http://www.bluejaysstore.com/toronto-blue-jays-customized-jersey
http://www.bluejaysstore.com/travis-snider-jersey
http://www.bluejaysstore.com/vernon-wells-jersey

sdfdsf
Oct 30, 2012

http://www.tigersfanstore.com/
http://www.tigersfanstore.com/6-al-kaline-jersey
http://www.tigersfanstore.com/7-alex-avila-jersey
http://www.tigersfanstore.com/8-austin-jackson-jersey
http://www.tigersfanstore.com/9-brandon-inge-jersey
http://www.tigersfanstore.com/10-curtis-granderson-jersey
http://www.tigersfanstore.com/11-denny-mcclain-jersey
http://www.tigersfanstore.com/12-detroit-tigers-blank-jersey
http://www.tigersfanstore.com/13-johnny-damon-jersey
http://www.tigersfanstore.com/14-jose-valverde-jersey
http://www.tigersfanstore.com/15-justin-verlander-jersey
http://www.tigersfanstore.com/16-kirk-gibson-jersey
http://www.tigersfanstore.com/17-lance-parrish-jersey
http://www.tigersfanstore.com/18-max-scherzer-jersey
http://www.tigersfanstore.com/19-miguel-cabrera-jersey
http://www.tigersfanstore.com/20-victor-martinez-jersey

sdfdsf
Oct 30, 2012

http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/6-aaron-rowand-jersey
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/7-barry-bonds-jersey
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/8-brian-wilson-jersey
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/9-buster-posey-jersey
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/10-cody-ross-jersey
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/11-dan-runzler-jersey
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/12-dave-dravecky-jersey
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/13-freddy-sanchez-jersey
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/14-madison-bumgarner-jersey
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/15-matt-cain-jersey
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/16-matt-williams-jersey
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/17-mel-ott-jersey
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/18-pablo-sandoval-jersey
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/19-tim-lincecum-jersey
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/20-travis-ishikawa-jersey
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/21-will-clark-jersey
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/22-willie-mays-jersey
http://www.sfgiantsfanstore.com/23-willie-mccovey-jersey

NIKE NFL jerseys
Oct 25, 2012

Welcome to our jerseys shop http://www.yourjerseyhome.com we would off you the best jerseys and best servise. We are professional jerseys manufacturer from china,wholesal.cheap nike nfl jerseys, mlb jerseys, nhl jerseys,nba jerseys and shoes. we offer the latest 2012 nike jersey, with the best quality and the cheapest price,
http://www.yourjerseyhome.com/Nike-NFL-Jerseys-c124.html Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys, the perfect jersey to let you enjoy the sport, to make you crazy for sports.
http://www.yourjerseyhome.com/MLB-Jerseys-c94.html cool base mlb jerseys and throwback mlb jerseys.
http://www.yourjerseyhome.com/NBA-Jerseys-c77.html Revolution 30 swing nba jerseys
http://www.yourjerseyhome.com/NFL-T-Shirt-c126.html wholesale NFL T-Shirt,
All Our Jerseys Are Sewn On and Directly From Chinese Jerseys Factory, hope to do longtime business with you.

onlyson88
Sep 24, 2012

I would have to say for the most part I agree with the writer. I think caffeine gets a lot of negative junk from the naturalists, but in reality I think in small amounts it can be a very helpful convenience item or comfort beverage. I personally like to keep energy "shots" in my backpack, like Eternal Energy shot and sometimes maybe a Stacker. Pretty convenient. Anyways, I've found caffeine to be hugely helpful in the realm of increasing my endurance. Just have to be careful not to overdo it, as usual

christian louboutin shoes
Aug 17, 2012

I read your article, I feel that a good!
http://www.squidoo.com/fashionheelswell
http://shoesbar.tumblr.com/
http://fashionvert.tumblr.com/
http://fashioncl.tumblr.com/
http://www.squidoo.com/youyitians
http://redbottomhighheels.weebly.com
http://heelsstores.weebly.com
http://christianlouboutinsheels.weebly.com
http://younijie.tumblr.com
http://younichen.tumblr.com
http://youcheno.blog.com/
http://www.squidoo.com/very-wide
http://www.squidoo.com/themodern-gentleman
http://www.squidoo.com/myLifestyles
http://www.squidoo.com/mackenziediyi
http://www.squidoo.com/louisvuittonhandbagweb
http://www.squidoo.com/louboutin-outlet
http://fashionheely.weebly.com/
http://www.squidoo.com/fashionmag
http://www.squidoo.com/fashionheels2012
http://www.squidoo.com/christianlouboutin-heels
http://tongsting.tumblr.com/
http://therefo.weebly.com
http://minefashions.tumblr.com/
http://louisvuittonweb.tumblr.com/
http://louisvuittonhandbagweb.tumblr.com
http://heelwomen.weebly.com
http://heelsales.weebly.com
http://gongzuoho.tumblr.com/
http://fashionsadi.tumblr.com/
http://fangdishide.tumblr.com/
http://designerdfashion.tumblr.com
http://cl-shoes.tumblr.com/
http://cheapchristianlouboutins.tumblr.com
http://beijua.tumblr.com/
http://www.squidoo.com/personality-style
http://onlyloves.weebly.com/

Evan Longoria Jersey
Jun 19, 2012

http://www.raysfanstore.com/evan-longoria-jersey Evan Longoria Jersey
http://www.raysfanstore.com/carlos-pena-jersey Carlos Pena Jersey
http://www.raysfanstore.com/david-price-jersey David Price Jersey
http://www.raysfanstore.com Rays Jerseys
http://www.raysfanstore.com/sam-fuld-jersey Sam Fuld Jersey
http://www.raysfanstore.com/wade-davis-jersey Wade Davis Jersey
http://www.raysfanstore.com/rafael-soriano-jersey Rafael Soriano Jersey
http://www.raysfanstore.com/scott-kazmir-jersey Scott Kazmir Jersey
http://www.raysfanstore.com/john-jaso-jersey John Jaso Jersey
http://www.raysfanstore.com/carl-crawford-jersey Carl Crawford Jersey
http://www.raysfanstore.com/jeff-niemann-jersey Jeff Niemann Jersey
http://www.raysfanstore.com/jake-mcgee-jersey Jake McGee Jersey
http://www.raysfanstore.com/matt-joyce-jersey Matt Joyce Jersey

Nike Requin
May 09, 2012

<a href="http://www.ttubc.com/">TN Requin</a>
<a href="http://www.ttubc.com/">TN Requin Pas Cher</a>
<a href="http://www.ttubc.com/">Nike Requin</a>
<a href="http://www.ttubc.com/">Nike TN Requin</a>
<a href="http://www.tnrequintnpascher.com">TN Requin</a>
<a href="http://www.tnrequintnpascher.com">TN Pas Cher</a>
<a href="http://www.tnrequintnpascher.com">Nike TN </a>
<a href="http://www.skytnn.com/">Nike air max</a>
<a href="http://www.skytnn.com/">TN REQUIN </a>
<a href="http://www.skytnn.com/">Puma Pas Cher</a>
<a href="http://www.tnrequins2012.com"> Nike tn 2012</a>
<a href="http://www.tnrequins2012.com"> tn foot locker</a>
<a href="http://www.tnrequins2012.com">TN Pas Cher</a>
<a href="http://www.tnpascherchine.com">TN REQUIN </a>
<a href="http://www.tnpascherchine.com"> Nike TN </a>
<a href="http://www.tnpascherchine.com">Nike Requin </a>
<a href="http://www.tnpascherchine.com">Chaussure Requin</a>
<a href="http://www.tnpascherchine.com">Air Max Requin TN Pas Cher</a>
<a href="http://www.tnpascherchine.com">Puma Pas Cher</a>

Jimmy42248
Jan 09, 2011

Great article!!! We need more like this thank you

Chirs
Apr 25, 2010

"All the running articles" contradict this article? Not so much. There's been much written on both sides of this issue, and it seems you're just as guilty of confirmation bias as you claim the author to be.

d
Apr 23, 2010

Sounds like the writer really likes her coffee and has a large bias. All the running articles I read contradict this article. I guess you hear only what you want to hear. Writing articles like this only ruin backpacker's credibility.

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Gear
Advice on pants
Posted On: Jul 10, 2014
Submitted By: bigsilk
The Political Arena
Walmart to Keep Misogynist Spokesperson
Posted On: Jul 10, 2014
Submitted By: HighGravity
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions