Caffeine: Does Drinking Coffee Alter Performance and RPE Levels of a Teenage Athlete in both Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercises?

(1) South Brunswick High School, Dayton, New Jersey

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The purpose of the study is to determine if ingesting caffeine in the form of coffee prior to workouts can enhance performance and alter Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) of teenage athletes for both endurance (aerobic) and strength (anaerobic) exercises. Our hypotheses are that caffeine lowers RPE for both endurance and strength exercises and that it enhances performance in endurance, but not strength, exercises.To answer this question, we analyzed a 16-year-old high school athlete (myself) for a total of 12 days: 3 days consuming a cup of coffee prior to running, 3 days consuming a cup of coffee 1 hour prior to performing strength exercises, and 3 days without consuming a cup of coffee prior to exercise for each exercise type. For the endurance test, the athlete ran two miles as fast as they could. Average heart rate and total time of the run were analyzed for three days with coffee and three days without, as well as RPE levels. For the strength test, the athlete performed as many push-ups as possible in a one-minute time frame. The results showed that caffeine ingestion prior to exercise enhanced endurance, but had no impact on strength. Additionally, though RPE was lower for the endurance test, RPE remained unchanged for the strength test. Thus, the effect of drinking coffee in aerobic and anaerobic exercises were evaluated through several measures in this study, providing support that caffeine has an effect on aerobic exercises as opposed to anaerobic exercises.

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