Caffeine, Not For Every Situation…

There’s no denying that caffeine plays an important role in the daily grind of many people. Most will start their day by reaching for a steaming cup of joe… and will usually follow up by consuming two or three more cups throughout their day. I, personally start my day with an energy drink. I enjoy the fact that energy drinks are cold and can be consumed easier than hot coffee, first thing in the morning. And the B Vitamins sure add some kick to my day.

But as with all things in life, there’s good and bad to every situation. And the consumption of caffeine is obviously included among that concept. Recently, I’ve noticed that getting through a cardio workout after consuming an energy drink or coffee is difficult. I’ll often feel sluggish, start sweating long before hitting my peak and will be exhausted, even when I’m only at my halfway point. Are they just bad days? Maybe if it was only one of these on very rare occasions, but I’ve come to notice that I’ll usually have an energy drink on the go prior to the sluggish workouts in question. Is there a correlation?

I decided to look into if it was possible that a beverage meant to stimulate me and make me feel more awake and alert could be causing me to feel sluggish and affect my workouts. I found a bunch of different information, although the bare bones information didn’t make for a definite answer. This is why I won’t be citing any sources, since I couldn’t find anything certain. But here are some things I know about caffeine that could have something to do with it.

  1. Caffeine Can Dehydrate You: It’s no secret that consuming large amounts of caffeine will cause dehydration. If you experience even mild dehydration, it can cause bodily pain, headaches, sluggishness and profuse sweating. Imagine all that WHILE trying to run, cycle or perform some level of cardio?
  2. Caffeine Is A Diuretic: Your workout will be cut pretty short if you have to take a piss every five minutes. Increased levels of caffeine will cause you to urinate frequently. And if it isn’t bad enough that blood sugar fluctuations will cause that to begin with, downing coffee or an energy drink before your workout may have the same effect.
  3. Coffee And Caffeinated Beverages Can Cause A Wide Variety Of Symptoms: Stomach pains, headaches and upset stomachs are only some of the symptoms you might experience while working out, if you’ve consumed significant caffeine beforehand.
  4. It Can Have An Effect On Your Heart Rate: Some people will feel an effect on their heart rate when they consume caffeine. This is one of the reasons why you’ll be told not to consume caffeine before a stress test or a fitness test. Imagine, for a moment that your heart rate can be measured on a scale of one to ten, where one is at rest and ten is where you die because your heart give out. Let’s assume that an average run gets you to a seven or an eight, depending on your age and overall health. This would be normal, right? Your heart rate will increase the more your exert yourself. But if consuming an energy drink or caffeine already gets you to a seven or an eight, then you add cardio on top of an already elevated heart rate, I’m sure you can do the math and see where the problem comes in.

As with all things, caffeine is best enjoyed in moderation. The key point for me, will be trying to resist the urge to gulp some caffeine before a run because I’m already feeling like shit. The lesson here is that all you have to do is get yourself going. Once you’re in the groove, you may find you perform just as well as you would with caffeine on board. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my caffeine. I may simply have to re-examine its use during my fitness routine. now if you’ll excuse me, it’s early and I need a coffee… ☯️

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

2 thoughts on “Caffeine, Not For Every Situation…”

  1. I meant to post something similar to this post when you did the original caffeine post weeks back. I was in a bad place though and didn’t feel I could word it properly.

    Caffeine is definitely bad for you in anything more than small doses. It’s also addictive. It’s only a minor problem with energy drinks, etc… Harsher stimulants and other garbage put in for flavoring, color or heightening the existing stimulants are all really bad news. The biggest problem people run into with this is the addiction factor, caused by adrenal fatigue. Add a sugar crash in there for some of the drinks too. It’s the same general reason folks that are heavy coffee drinkers can’t get going in the morning until that first cup.

    At any rate, all stimulants (even mega doses of B12) kick the adrenal gland into overdrive. It can only handle so much though and eventually starts to “burn out”. I’ve heard of severe cases of energy drink abuse where the person’s adrenal gland shriveled like a raisin.

    I’m speaking partially from personal experience here also. Years back, I abused the hell out of energy drinks. It took me about 9 months to detox, during which time I was taking bovine adrenal supplement tablets from Vitamin Shoppe. Nastiest damned tasting supplement ever BTW, but it did the job.

    Adrenal fatigue is hard to get good info on. I’m pretty sure the coffee companies and energy drink makers try to keep the info buried. It’s out there though if you do enough research.

    Like

    1. I’m inclined to agree. Caffeine is SUPER addictive… When I first joined the Force, I’d start a full coffee pot as I got ready for work and have it done by the time I was ready to step out of the door. Then, I’d grab my large coffee at Tim Horton’s drive thru and sip it down until about 10 o’clock when we’d go to coffee. Wash, rinse and repeat. It’s been a few years that I’ve been tapering off and trying to reduce the amount of caffeine I consume in the course of a day. It’s been going pretty good. If I could go back to 20-something me, I’d warn me to stay away from coffee and/or caffeine in general.

      Liked by 1 person

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