Coffee Perks! Athletes, Coffee, and Performance

Who knew two shots would lead to a professional sports victory

Imagine a top tennis star, Serena Williams, after a long trip, jet-lagged – and playing a tennis match and then between sets asking for a double espresso.

It happened.

She had lost the first set 0-6 to Italy’s Flavia Pennetta. Asked for the double espresso and then won the next two sets 6-3 and 6-0.

According to, Williams told reporters, “I am a coffee drinker. I didn’t have mine this morning and I was just feeling it, so I just had to get some coffee into me.”

That double shot of espresso has about 125 mg of caffeine. A cup of coffee has about 100 mg of caffeine (so two cups of coffee has more caffeine than a double shot).

Anyone who has ever had to stop drinking coffee may have experienced a headache, feeling sluggish, not quite as alert. Your body has adapted to the coffee.  Take a test in school without a cup of coffee and you won’t do as well with your regular cup of joe.

“Caffeine may help boost athletic performance by increasing muscle strength and physical endurance while decreasing feelings of fatigue,” says Marisa Moore, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Having caffeine during activity may give that second wind.”

Coffee – its good for athletes, its good for taking a test – but remember, it cannot substitute for sleep, nutrition, and preparation. But without it…

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and went to medical school. Dr. Simpson, a weight loss surgeon is an advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he believes teaching people to improve their health through their food and in their kitchen. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcolm Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska and in 2013 Dr Simpson won the National Indian Health Board Area Impact Award. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit

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