Today’s question is about Cytosport Fast Twitch and the drawbacks of caffeine in sports drinks and supplements…

I’ve been reading about caffiene online and can’t find any real evidence that supports it having negative effects. I’m considering supplementing with Cytosport’s Fast Twitch. It has 200mg of caffiene per serving. Can you tell me why this is “bad” for me for a pre-workout drink?

Thank you,
Caffeinated Christopher

Hi Christopher,

Before receiving your email, I was unfamiliar with Cytosport’s Cytomax Fast Twitch. I’ll get to that, but let’s talk caffeine first…

Caffeine: Good or Bad For Sports Performance?

It seems that whatever you want to think about caffeine, there’s a study to support it. If you like caffeine, just read the studies showing its performance enhancing benefits. If you don’t like caffeine, just look at studies showing that caffeine has a diuretic effect.

Quite a few of the studies I have seen are unreliable or too biased (in my opinion,) so I don’t even bother with them. But there certainly are a number of studies showing that caffeine has a positive effect on performance in more ways than one. I don’t doubt it.

From my experience, caffeine certainly has a positive benefit in the form of increased mental awareness. I haven’t really noticed increased strength or endurance, or noticed that it spares glycogen in favor of burning fat, but it’s possible that those improve with caffeine, but not quite enough to really notice it unless you’re doing somewhat of a scientific test.

Other claimed side effects, such as dehydration and caffeine withdrawal, I have not noticed. That doesn’t mean they’re not there, but they must be minimal.

So I don’t have a problem with caffeine.

However, I like to limit my caffeine intake to avoid building up a caffeine tolerance. My caffeine intake is usually limited to green tea and a few energy gels with low levels of caffeine.

The reason is so that I can get a big energy boost when I do take caffeine. As it stands, I can get a significant energy boost from one cup of coffee (about 80mg caffeine) or an energy gel containing 100mg caffeine.

I like it like that, because I don’t want to have to drink three cups of coffee during a bike race to get an edge.

Also, some of the latest studies show that even small amounts of caffeine (like 40mg) are enough to boost performance. That’s interesting.

My opinion on using caffeine is something like this: Once you test it and find it has positive results, save it for race day and other big workouts.

So that leads me to a couple questions for you…

The first question is, why do you want the caffeine? Will you take it before weight training? Or before bike rides?

If before bike rides, what kind of bike ride? A sprint workout? A long endurance ride? A race?

Some of the benefits would be better for certain types of workouts, so think about that.

Cytomax Fast Twitch: Good or Bad For Sports Performance?

Next question, what draws you to Cytomax Fast Twitch?

I looked at it, but I can’t see any reason to use it. Sure, the marketing is great and makes it look great for weight lifting where you’ll use your fast twitch muscle fibers and aim to increase muscle size.

But you know what’s better and cheaper – creatine monohydrate. It is time-tested and proven. I don’t see a need for “nitric oxide amplifiers” which is just a buzz word designed to sell products.

But that’s if you are weight lifting. If you’re biking or running, you rarely use fast twitch muscle fibers. Only if you’re doing a sprint workout would that have an effect. And even then, spinning a big gear on a bike is not the same as doing heavy squats.

I guess the “endo-thermogenic” selling point would apply to anyone. But… any kind of food you eat has a thermogenic effect. Eat some broccoli and guess what happens – your body digests it, creating body heat and raising your metabolic rate.

No need to pay extra for the buzz words.

What I’m saying is that I think this product is 90% marketing, 10% useful. For endurance sports, it’s pointless. For weight lifting, stick with basic creatine and you’ll save money and get the same results.

And as far as the caffeine, 200mg in one serving seems too high for my liking. Personally I’d stick with a lower dose of caffeine, and I’d spend my money on healthy foods (such as organic fruits and vegetables) and more useful supplements, like fish oil.

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  1. I agree. Caffeine is what you make of it. Only you can tell if it benefits your workout. We do find athletes using Realife plus Energy. With only 80mg of caffeine it can be added to any workout drink without affecting the taste.

  2. I disagree. There is a large difference in creatine vs buffered creatine. If only purely in how it makes you feel, fast twitch is better. There is basically (at least in my and the few I know that took fast twitch) no itching feeling that many get with creatine. Also, if someone is doing a pre workout mix for electrolytes as well, Fast Twitch has that. It is pricey, but I would say its more like 70% useful, 20% semi useful, and 10% marketing. Saying it is 10% useful shows a lack of understanding I think. Everything in the bottle is useful. And…I take it you have not done a workout with a NO because that gives much more energy to your workout and the science is there. Because of your stance on NO and the rating on the usefulness of a decent product, I would say the information you provide is likely not that great. There are better products for different aspects, but fast twitch is great for someone that say only wants to take a pre workout and some added protein.

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