When we talk about energy drinks we are talking about the most widely used drug in the world called caffeine. It is legal as well as completely socially acceptable to drink in public. With over 90% of Americans having coffee on a regular basis and over 30% addicted to energy drinks, it is a growing concern.
Because caffeine is digested faster when it is in a solid form most of the energy drink companies are legally able to add chemicals to the drinks that increase its absorption rate and therefore increase the 'kick'. An average amount of caffeine in a normal cup of coffee is around 150mg but there are some energy drinks that have as much as 500mg in the drink.
The side effects of too much caffeine have been well documented and include insomnia, headache and general nervousness. In some studies they have shown that an increased amount of caffeine can lead to tachycardia. Caffeine can negatively affect someone with high blood pressure or other heart problems.
One of the many studies that have been done on caffeine showed that the addition of caffeine increased the athletesí performance by 19%, which is why it is on the banned substances list of the IOC. It is important to note that these studies also showed no sign of any benefit for any and all anaerobic sports.
If you use energy drinks before a serious weight workout you will know that the shaky feeling that you get certainly does not make you stronger. You might have a lot more energy when doing the movements but you will not be stronger when high on caffeine.
The bottom line is that the bodybuilding experts agree that on a heavy training day you should rather just have a pre-workout protein shake and keep away from energy drinks. Some bodybuilders have used them as diuretics to lose water before competing but it is not recommended for normal training to build strength.
There are many pre and post workout shakes that include all the required ingredients plus caffeine because of the tangible effect it has on the person. Caffeine is something that seems to have very non-specific effects on different people, however it is now proven to not increase anaerobic capacity or explosive strength.