Energy drinks often get a bad rap in the mainstream media, mostly due to irresponsible teenagers or just plain annoying people. Thankfully, the International Society of Sports Nutrition analyzed dozens of studies on energy drinks and declared that they indeed have value for hard-training athletes and gym rats.
The ISSN found that energy drinks, which are typically composed of carbs, caffeine, B vitamins, and the amino acid taurine, significantly aid performance in both endurance events and weightlifting when taken prior to exercise. Improvements in mood, alertness, and reaction time have also been documented.
Energy drinks seem to benefit classic bodybuiding-style weight trainers the most. They have been shown to have no benefit in tests of power and didn’t help athletes perform better in a series of repeated agility drills. Zero-calorie products have been shown to impart a slight surge in fat-burning through increasing resting fat metabolism, but the full-sugar versions negate that small benefit.