Caffeine improved cycling trial performance in mentally fatigued cyclists, regardless of alterations in prefrontal cortex activation

Paulo Estevão Franco-Alvarenga, Cayque Brietzke, Raul Canestri, Márcio Goethel, Florentina Hettinga, Tony Meireles Santos, Flavio Pires

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15 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Purpose: To verify whether caffeine (CAF) could increase the prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation
and improve 20 km cycling time trial (TT20km) performance in mentally fatigued cyclists. Methods:
After preliminary TT20km, twelve recreational cyclists (VO2MAX of 58.9 ± 6.2 mL∙kg∙min-1
)
performed a familiarization with a cognitive test to induce mental fatigue (MF) and psychological
scales. Thereafter, they performed: 2) a baseline TT20km; 3) a mentally fatigued TT20km (MF); 4 and
5) a mentally fatigued TT20km after CAF (MF+CAF) or placebo (MF+PLA) ingestion, in a doubleblind, counterbalanced design. Performance and psychological responses were obtained throughout
the TT20km, while PFC electroencephalography (EEG) theta wave was obtained before and after the
mental fatigue test. Results: The mental fatigue-induced increase in EEG theta wave (↑ ~ 4.8 %)
was reverted with CAF (↓ 8.8 %) and PLA ingestion (↓ 4.8 %). CAF improved TT20km performance
in mentally fatigued cyclists by reducing time (p = 0.00; ↓ ~1.7 %) and increasing WMEAN (p = 0.00;
↑ ~3.6%), when compared to MF+PLA. The RPE-power output ratio was lower (p = 0.01), but
affect (p = 0.018), motivation (p = 0.033) and emotional arousal (p = 0.001) were greater
throughout the TT20km in MF+CAF than in MF+PLA. Conclusions: CAF ingestion improved
TT20km performance and psychological responses in mentally fatigued cyclists, despite the unaltered
PFC activation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-48
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Volume204
Early online date10 Feb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2019

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