Caffeine is a well-established ergogenic aid, although research to date has predominantly focused on anhydrous caffeine, and in men. The primary aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of coffee ingestion on 5 km cycling time trial performance, and to establish whether sex differences exist. A total of 38 participants (19 men and 19 women) completed a 5 km time trial following the ingestion of 0.09 g·kg-1 coffee providing 3 mg·kg-1 of caffeine (COF), a placebo (PLA), in 300 mL of water, or control (CON). Coffee ingestion significantly increased salivary caffeine levels (p < 0.001; η P 2 = 0.75) and, overall, resulted in improved 5 km time trial performance (p < 0.001; η P 2 = 0.23). Performance following COF (482 ± 51 s) was faster than PLA (491 ± 53 s; p = 0.002; d = 0.17) and CON (487 ± 52 s; p =0.002; d = 0.10) trials, with men and women both improving by approximately 9 seconds and 6 seconds following coffee ingestion compared with placebo and control, respectively. However, no differences were observed between CON and PLA (p = 0.321; d = 0.08). In conclusion, ingesting coffee providing 3 mg·kg-1 of caffeine increased salivary caffeine levels and improved 5 km cycling time trial performance in men and women by a similar magnitude.
Keywords: afferent responses; caffeine; ergogenic aid; sex differences; time trial.