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 ERGOGENIC AIDS / PERFORMANCE AIDS

 

 

The Question Of Caffeine
Nonprescription For Muscle Soreness
Indigestion

Ergolytic Drugs
Cautious Coffee Consumption
Are You Inhibiting Your Performance

 

THE QUESTION OF CAFFEINE




Q: Although I train four days per week, I drink about three cups of coffee a day. Is the caffeine counterproductive to my workouts?


A: Caffeinated coffees and sodas are very popular. Although the role of caffeine as a stimulant in the morning is obvious, it's effect on exercise is controversial. Researchers debate whether it is an ergogenic aid that helps athletic performance.

For high-power activities like weightlifting the only benefit of caffeine would be to wake you up for an early-morning workout. In general, the substance has an insignificant effect on events that last less than 10 minutes, but on endurance sports, such as running, swimming, cycling and cross-country skiing, many believe that it has an ergogenic effect.

Caffeine activates the enzyme lipoprotein lipase, which transforms stored bodyfat into free fatty acids and glycerol. When you exercise skeletal muscle, your body uses these free fatty acids as fuel and spares muscle glycogen, which is the primary source of energy during endurance performance. Because you have more available muscle glycogen, your workout time to fatigue is increased.

Another plus for caffeinated beverages is their calorie count. Brewed black coffee that contains no cream or sugar has no calories. A caffeinated soda may have up to 200 calories for 12 ounces but no fat calories, while a caffeinated diet soda has no calories at all.

The downside of caffeine is its diuretic effect; that is, it can cause you to eliminate fluids. For this reason, excess coffee or soft drink consumption can lead to dehydration. Caffeine inhibits the secretion of a hormone called antidiuretic hormone, or ADH, that helps facilitate fluid storage in the body. So, if you take in caffeine drinks before a 10K race, you may have to stop at the bathroom more frequently than you expect. Excessive caffeine consumption has also been known to cause nausea and diarrhea.
Feb95IM

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NONPRESCRIPTION FOR MUSCLE SORENESS





Q: I often take ibuprofen after a hard workout. Is it safe?


A: After a hard workout in which you do a lot of negatives, it's often hard to climb out of bed the next day. This condition is known as delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, and it involves soreness, weakness and stiffness in skeletal muscles experienced 24 to 48 hours after intense lifting. Eccentric contractions, also known as negatives, are the primary culprits. Although many people complain of muscle soreness, research points to the musculotendinous junction, meaning the area where muscles and tendons connect, as the primary site of injury and repair.

One way to battle DOMS is to take ibuprofen in the recommended dosages either before or after your strenuous workout. For example, if Monday is a heavy lifting day, taking one tablet on Sunday night may mitigate your postworkout pain. Taking ibuprofen within 24 hours after a workout has proven to be equally effective for alleviating DOMS, as supported by the results of a study done at the University of Texas at Galveston.

Intense lifting leads to muscle trauma, swelling and then repair. The body's inflammatory response includes an influx of fluid into the muscle, which causes a buildup of pressure. Neurons in the muscle's connective tissue then relay this sensation to the brain, with the final result being that you wake up the next day feeling stiff and sore. Ibuprofen works on muscle and joint pain by inhibiting inflammatory precursors-thus, lessening the soreness.
Chronic use of ibuprofen is harmful, however, because of its powerful anti-inflammatory action. Still, infrequent use, either before or soon after a strenuous activity, may decrease your DOMS.
Feb 1995 IM

 

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INDIGESTION




Q: I often get indigestion, and I use a lot of antacid tablets. Is it dangerous to eat so many?


A: As with all medication moderation is the key. It would be wise for you to try to determine why you keep getting indigestion. The possibilities include eating too much or too fast in one sitting, eating extremely spicy foods, having an allergy or intolerance to a particular food (such as lactose intolerance or an allergic reaction to shellfish) and taking in an excessive amount of fiber, among other problems. Excess use of antacids will decrease you body's absorption of calcium, vitamin B-12 and iron due to alterations in your gastrointestinal pH. Refer to the label of the antacid you use, and if you can't figure out the cause of your symptoms, I recommend that you consult your physician.
Dec92IM

 

 

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ERGOLYTIC DRUGS




We like to think of ourselves as invincible-never getting sick, having allergies or becoming injured. If and when we do get ill, we are often required to take medication to treat or relieve our symptoms. These drugs, while offering that relief, often have negative effects on performance. Other drugs, which are taken for recreational purposes (i.e., alcohol or cocaine), also have adverse effects on performance.

Much has been written about ergogenic aids-substances and procedures that supposedly furnish energy or otherwise enhance athletic activity. Very little attention has been given to the list of substances athletes use that are ergolytic, or "nonergogenic"-substances that do not boost energy but rather sap it, do not enhance performance but impair it.

Many athletes use certain substances because they assume that these drugs benefit, or at least have no adverse effect on, performance. A partial list of these ergolytic drugs includes alcohol, marijuana, smokeless tobacco, cocaine and caffeine. Potentially ergolytic medications that are commonly prescribed for illnesses include drugs used to combat high blood pressure, allergies, diarrhea, constipation, insomnia, coughs and glaucoma.

Alcohol has become associated with athletics. Many recreational athletes drink both during and after participation. Marathon runners often celebrate their conquests with a post-race beer, and skiers frequently carry a flask of brandy on the slopes with them. It is also common to smell the aroma of alcohol backstage at bodybuilding competitions, as many bodybuilders feel that the alcohol increases their vascularity and appearance. There is no scientific evidence to support these theories, however.

The results from numerous studies confirm that alcohol is not ergogenic, but rather ergolytic. Even small doses of alcohol reduce the contractile force of the heart. In 1982 the American College of Sports Medicine issued a position stand decrying the use of alcohol in sports. Alcohol was shown to impair motor skills, including reaction time, balance, accuracy, hand-eye coordination and complex coordination and complex coordination. In addition, alcohol will not improve and may impair strength, power, speed and both muscular and cardiovascular endurance.

Two other commonly used recreational drugs also have ergolytic actions and decrease performance: cocaine and marijuana. Both increase the work of the heart and decrease performance. Use of cocaine can also lead to more serious complications, including heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia, seizure, stroke and death.

Nicotine is an extremely addictive drug. The number of cigarette smokers attests to this. Nicotine is also the key ingredient in smokeless tobacco. In a 1988 report the Surgeon General stressed that nicotine is a psychoactive drug that is as addictive as heroin or cocaine. While nicotine will give athletes a "high" and they may feel more alert, their performance decreases. Nicotine also causes negative changes in cardiovascular performance that impair heart function.

As for medications, some, like blood pressure pills, diuretics and heart medicines, seem obvious. Others, like eye drops and hypoglycemic agents, are less obvious. It's been reported that several of the drugs used to treat hypertension impair all-out performance, but the main culprits are the beta-adrenergic blockers. Beta-blockade reduces the heart's ability to respond to exercise stress. It can reduce maximal oxygen uptake by up to 15 percent among elite athletes. The same thing happens to performance capacity during exercise. Competitive athletes who have hypertension should avoid beta-blockers and use another class of drugs, calcium channel blockers, as these seem to have very little negative effect on exercise capacity.

Diuretic use is common among certain groups of athletes prior to competition. Wrestlers, bodybuilders boxers and jockeys use them to "make weight," while football players, sprinters and other drug-tested athletes use them in a vain attempt to flush anabolic steroids from their bodies. Diuretics throw off the body's electrolyte balance, making muscle cramps and reductions in strength and power common end results. They also affect plasma volume and cardiovascular performance. Diuretic use has played a role in the collapse of runners during hot-weather races and in the hospitalization of a professional bodybuilder during competition.

Other common drugs can impair athletic performance. Sleeping pills often decrease the recuperative phase of sleep-the REM sleep-and they are known to produce an enervating "hangover" the next morning. Most antihistamines and tranquilizers can make athletes drowsy and listless. Even caffeine, by creating peaks and troughs in alertness and by disrupting sleep, can be ergolytic.

If you are unsure about a prescription medication or an over-the-counter preparation, consult your physician or pharmacist as to the drug's potential adverse effects on performance.
June91IM

 

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CAUTIOUS COFFEE CONSUMPTION




Q: How harmful is coffee? Is it okay to drink one or two cups a day?

A: Coffee drunk in moderation appears to have few side effects. An average cup of brewed coffee contains 130 milligrams of caffeine, while a cup of instant coffee contains 75 milligrams. This compares to 45 milligrams for a cola and 25 milligrams for an ounce of chocolate.

Caffeine seems to be relatively harmless when used by healthy (non-pregnant) adults in moderate doses, which means the equivalent of two average-size cups of coffee a day. In larger amounts it can produce reactions that are indistinguishable from some other drugs caffeine is addictive in that the body adapts to its presence. It's generally advisable to consume only moderate amounts of caffeine-containing foods and beverages.
July92IM

 

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ARE YOU INHIBITING YOUR PERFORMANCE





We like to think of ourselves as invincible-never getting sick, having allergies or becoming injured. If and when we do get ill, we are often required to take medication to treat or relieve our symptoms. These drugs, while offering that relief, often have negative effects on performance. Other drugs, which are taken for recreational purposes (i.e., alcohol or cocaine), also have adverse effects on performance.

Much has been written about ergogenic aids-substances and procedures that supposedly furnish energy or otherwise enhance athletic activity. Very little attention has been given to the list of substances athletes use that are ergolytic, or "nonergogenic"-substances that do not boost energy but rather sap it, do not enhance performance but impair it.

Many athletes use certain substances because they assume that these drugs benefit, or at least have no adverse effect on, performance. A partial list of these ergolytic drugs includes alcohol, marijuana, smokeless tobacco, cocaine and caffeine. Potentially ergolytic medications that are commonly prescribed for illnesses include drugs used to combat high blood pressure, allergies, diarrhea, constipation, insomnia, coughs and glaucoma.

Alcohol has become associated with athletics. Many recreational athletes drink both during and after participation. Marathon runners often celebrate their conquests with a post-race beer, and skiers frequently carry a flask of brandy on the slopes with them. It is also common to smell the aroma of alcohol backstage at bodybuilding competitions, as many bodybuilders feel that the alcohol increases their vascularity and appearance. There is no scientific evidence to support these theories, however.

The results from numerous studies confirm that alcohol is not ergogenic, but rather ergolytic. Even small doses of alcohol reduce the contractile force of the heart. In 1982 the American College of Sports Medicine issued a position stand decrying the use of alcohol in sports. Alcohol was shown to impair motor skills, including reaction time, balance, accuracy, hand-eye coordination and complex coordination and complex coordination. In addition, alcohol will not improve and may impair strength, power, speed and both muscular and cardiovascular endurance.

Two other commonly used recreational drugs also have ergolytic actions and decrease performance: cocaine and marijuana. Both increase the work of the heart and decrease performance. Use of cocaine can also lead to more serious complications, including heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia, seizure, stroke and death.

Nicotine is an extremely addictive drug. The number of cigarette smokers attests to this. Nicotine is also the key ingredient in smokeless tobacco. In a 1988 report the Surgeon General stressed that nicotine is a psychoactive drug that is as addictive as heroin or cocaine. While nicotine will give athletes a "high" and they may feel more alert, their performance decreases. Nicotine also causes negative changes in cardiovascular performance that impair heart function.

As for medications, some, like blood pressure pills, diuretics and heart medicines, seem obvious. Others, like eye drops and hypoglycemic agents, are less obvious. It's been reported that several of the drugs used to treat hypertension impair all-out performance, but the main culprits are the beta-adrenergic blockers. Beta-blockade reduces the heart's ability to respond to exercise stress. It can reduce maximal oxygen uptake by up to 15 percent among elite athletes. The same thing happens to performance capacity during exercise. Competitive athletes who have hypertension should avoid beta-blockers and use another class of drugs, calcium channel blockers, as these seem to have very little negative effect on exercise capacity.

Diuretic use is common among certain groups of athletes prior to competition. Wrestlers, bodybuilders boxers and jockeys use them to "make weight," while football players, sprinters and other drug-tested athletes use them in a vain attempt to flush anabolic steroids from their bodies. Diuretics throw off the body's electrolyte balance, making muscle cramps and reductions in strength and power common end results. They also affect plasma volume and cardiovascular performance. Diuretic use has played a role in the collapse of runners during hot-weather races and in the hospitalization of a professional bodybuilder during competition.

Other common drugs can impair athletic performance. Sleeping pills often decrease the recuperative phase of sleep-the REM sleep-and they are known to produce an enervating "hangover" the next morning. Most antihistamines and tranquilizers can make athletes drowsy and listless. Even caffeine, by creating peaks and troughs in alertness and by disrupting sleep, can be ergolytic.

If you are unsure about a prescription medication or an over-the-counter preparation, consult your physician or pharmacist as to the drug's potential adverse effects on performance.
June91IM

 

TOP