Tag Archives: masters crossfit

Caffeine Timing, Time of Day and Athletic Performance

Summary: athletic performance is generally better in the afternoon than in the morning.  Caffeine timing may be important.  Caffeine levels peak in the blood stream 30-60 minutes after ingestion.  Muscles are more responsive to caffeine in the afternoon over morning.  Caffeine abstinence before-hand gives stronger effect.

Compete, if possible, in the afternoon over the morning.

Caffeine timing: caffeine peaks 30-60 minutes after ingestion
Caffeine timing: caffeine peaks 30-60 minutes after ingestion. Check out the designs for WODWOMEN at WODMASTERS

Athletes perform better in the afternoon and early evening than in the morning. This is the case for weightlifting as well as for endurance exercise like running, swimming and cycling.  Even penmanship is less precise in the morning.  Possibly it’s a warm up issue.  But it looks like a circadian rhythm issue too.  The circadian rhythm is an internal clock that regulates what you do during a day.  It regulates sleeping patterns.   Also body temperature, hormones and fluid regulation. Muscle response to stimulation is stronger in late afternoon.  A 2012 study (Mora-Rodriguez et al.) looked at electrically-induced response in weight lifters.  And they looked at voluntary contraction too, comparing morning and afternoon response.  All weightlifters were men.  All were described as highly trained elite weightlifters. The weightlifters lived in a research facility and were denied caffeine for 4 days before testing.  (That must have been tough.) The study also compared voluntary and electrically induced response in the morning with and without caffeine.  If you are wondering “what is caffeine” get some coffee.  Lifters were given caffeine on a body weight basis.  Caffeine was taken 60 minutes before performance testing.

Study Details: Caffeine Timing, Weightlifting and Performance.

  • Test times were at 10:00 am and 6:00 PM.  Caffeine intake was 3mg per kg.  (if you weigh 80kg.  that’s about 240 mg or  about one 12 ounce cup of extremely strong starbucks style coffee.)  Caffeine was taken 45 minutes before lifting.
  • Morning performance vs. evening performance
  • Morning performance with Caffeine supplement vs. Placebo.

Caffeine Timing  Results

Katie of Crossfit Seven is beautiful at months.  She is sporting a WODMASTERS All-Seeing Eye Pood shirt
Katie of Crossfit Seven is beautiful at 8 months. She is sporting a WODMASTERS All-Seeing Eye Pood shirt

Strength and power output with placebo was better in the evening by 3% to 7.5% over morning strength and power output.   Caffeine in the morning increased strength and power output by 4.6% to 5.7% for squats when compared to no morning caffeine.  Electrically invoked response increased by 14.6% and nerve activation jumped 96.8%.  Squats seemed to be more caffeine dependent than bench press.  Maybe mornings are just meant to be spent drinking coffee.

If you are doing Crossfit Open competitions:

This site started as a site for Crossfit Masters Athletes, so here is the info for Crossfit readers:  For people trying to qualify for regionals or the CrossFit Games 2013 this could be important.  Do your Open CrossFit WOD’s in the afternoon.   If you can.  Caffeine in the morning will get your muscles up to the level they’d be if you did your workout in the afternoon.  So when you are competing during a morning WOD, have some coffee 45 minutes before the event.  And don’t forget the four days of abstinence before hand.Last note: caffeine peaks in your blood stream 30-60 minutes after its taken.

  • Abstain from coffee for 4 days before your event
  • Drink Coffee 30-45 minutes before you start
  • Do your event in the afternoon if possible

Note: Tablet or pure caffeine may not give the same results as coffee.

The study discussed here was of the effects of caffeine on athletic performance.  Coffee may provide additional benefits.  You can read more about the effects of coffee vs caffeine here.


Mora-Rodríguez R, García Pallarés J, López-Samanes Á, Ortega JF, & Fernández-Elías VE (2012). Caffeine ingestion reverses the circadian rhythm effects on neuromuscular performance in highly resistance-trained men. PloS one, 7 (4) PMID: 22496767

CrossFit Weightlifting Flexibility and the Masters CrossFit Athlete

CrossFit trainers and Masters CrossFit: weightlifting flexibility strength

You’ve probably heard it. “pull yourself under the bar”, “you’re not going down enough” “full range of motion”.  Sometimes CrossFit trainers seem to get aggravated and may end up ignoring masters athletes who don’t “listen” to their advice. For many the situation is more complex than choosing not to respond.

Bob Takano coaches weightlifting
Coach Bob Takano and Masters Weightlifter Scott Miller work together in an attentive and thoughtful manner. Both would look better in WODMasters shirts
Coach Bob Takano (l) and Masters Athlete Scott Miller (r) at the 2011 SPLWC Championships

The two most important factors limiting weightlifting ability (here we mean simply ability to pull, push, and lift) are balance and joint strength (Fischer et al. 2012). There may be some truth to the “believe in yourself model”, but there are also psycho-neurological factors. If you feel off-balance you will be less comfortable taking risks that may put you further off balance and increase your odds of getting hurt. Your brain is looking out of you. For a lot of people, especially older guys, balancing in a squat is tough. They may not be able to balance steadily in squat position. Increasing flexibility in the hips, legs and back will help them improve form and increase weight loads. Some WODMasters swear that Active Release Technique, a form of Chiropractic, has helped them enormously. Only one paper, a pilot study, was found on this technique, but the authors felt it was promising.

The second point is that of joint strength. Your lifts will be limited by the weakest link. Improving strength in your weak spots will help you achieve greater loads on major lifts like squats, deadlifts, cleans etc. For some, especially for women, the weak link may be hand strength. Those annoying farmer carries may be a good bet.

Crossfit weightlifting and flexibility: getting one on one coaching

Lastly, and most importantly for injury prevention as well as just plain getting better at CrossFit, is get some specialized Olympic Lifting coaching. Someone with a Level 1 CrossFit Certification may know little about proper lifting technique, and even less about teaching. If you are in Southern California, look up Bob Takano. He is an excellent teacher.

Scott Miller has been lifting and working with Bob Takano for about two years.  Great form.

Fischer SL, Brenneman EC, Wells RP, & Dickerson CR (2012). Relationships between psychophysically acceptable and maximum voluntary hand force capacity in the context of underlying biomechanical limitations. Applied ergonomics, 43 (5), 813-20 PMID: 22245635

Robb A, & Pajaczkowski J (2011). Immediate effect on pain thresholds using active release technique on adductor strains: Pilot study. Journal of bodywork and movement therapies, 15 (1), 57-62 PMID: 21147419