In a recent university study in New Zealand, Jolt Gum was proven to increase athletic performance by 5.4%! To put that improvement in perspective, 5.4% was more than the difference between the first and last place finishers in the Women’s 100m dash in London 2012! 5.4% is more than than the house advantage in roulette at a casino (5.3%)!
Run faster, longer with Jolt Gum!
Here’s an excerpt from the main bicycling website in Australia, cycling.org.au. If you’d like to download the entire study (published in the European Journal of Applied Psychology (Volume 110, Number 6), , you can do it here http://bit.ly/RE1woP.
Peter Reaburn is an Associate Professor in sport science at CQUniversity, races B-grade with Rockhampton Cycling Club and has been a committee member for four years. He recently completed his second Grafton-Inverell (228 km) race. Peter has presented workshops for Cycling Australia and Cycling Queensland for masters athletes and coaches and has written the definitive book titled The Masters Athlete available at: www.mastersathlete.com.au.
Chewing gum improves cycling performance
Caffeine is the World’s most commonly used drug. It is often used by cyclists as an ergogenic aid during both training and competition. In our sport, research has shown that caffeine improves performance in a single 1 km time trial and 40km steady-state time trial performance. But what effect might it have on typical road races, point score races on the track, or ‘crits’ where there are repeated sprints during longer endurance events. A recent New Zealand study investigated the effects of caffeinated chewing gum on fatigue during repeated high-intensity sprints in cyclists.
Peter Reaburn, Associate Professor in sport science at CQ University
Nine well-trained young male cyclists (24 ± 7 years, VO2max = 62.5 ± 5.4 ml/kg/min) who trained on average 10.5 hours per week were tested. None of them were high caffeine users. They completed four lab sessions each consisting of four by five-minute sets of 30-second sprints with five sprints in each set and 30-seconds easy spin between each sprint. An easy five minute spin was done between sets one and three and a 10-minute easy spin between sets two and three. During the 10-minute spin, the chewing gum was given as six pieces of commercially-available, spearmint-flavoured caffeinated chewing-gum (Jolt®) or as a placebo of similar-looking and tasting, commercially available non-caffeinated chewing-gum (Spearmint Extra®). Cyclists chewed the gum for five minutes and then spat it out before doing sets three and four of the sprints.
The average power output (watts) in the first 10 sprints (sets 1 and 2) relative to the last 10 sprints (sets 3 and 4) declined by 5.8 ± 4.0% in the placebo trials but only 0.4 ± 7.7% in the caffeine trials. The reduced fatigue in the caffeine trials equated to a 5.4% improvement in overall cycling performance in favor of caffeine. The researchers also measured two hormones in saliva and found that the delayed fatigue in the caffeine trials was associated with elevated testosterone (an anabolic – muscle repairing and building hormone) and decreased cortisol (a stress hormone) concentrations in the caffeine trials. Both these hormone responses are good for athletes in terms of recovery from training and racing. No gut upsets were observed in the cyclists despite the caffeine dose being equivalent to about 2.5 No Doz or three cups of coffee in one hit.
The So What?
This is a really applied study that strongly suggests that taking caffeine by chewing gum may be the way to go for track or road cyclists requiring a kick in performance during the closing stages of an event like a points race, criterium or road race where fatigue becomes a factor. Importantly, it also suggests it may enhance recovery by positively affecting hormones important for recovery. I say ‘suck it and see’.
Paton, C., Lowe, T, and Irvine, A. (2010). Caffeinated chewing gum increases repeated sprint performance and augments increases in testosterone in competitive cyclists. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 110(6): 1243-50.