Caffeine…What is it good for?

Caffeine…What is it good for?

Caffeine…ahhhhh….I think to myself as I sit here and write. I have never been much of a coffee drinker. Even in college, I never really got into it. I’m already hardwired to be hyper, so adding caffeine to the mix seemed like a bad idea. Whenever I did have coffee or green tea or anything with caffeine in it, it would make me shaky and run around like a crazy person, and even if I had it at 6am, I wouldn’t sleep that night. As I got into running and triathlon, I started taking in caffeinated nutrition products on long workout days, especially when I have trained for Ironmans. But, still, I wouldn’t sleep very well that night, but I wasn’t sure if that was simply because of the Ironman itself or the caffeine. 😛 Anyway, I don’t know if it’s age or what, but I was seeing that my ability to become distracted had increased, and my productivity and desire to get up and get going started to decrease. I have so many things I want to accomplish every day, and the motivation is always there, but sometimes it was taking a bit to get going.

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About two weeks ago I started trying caffeine with my training again, which I hadn’t done in a long time. Partially why was because I didn’t really like the affect of running around like a crazy person, I enjoyed having my down time, but there’s no time for that right now. haha. So, after my workouts I want to be able to still get things done. Topher had a product by GQ6 called “Energy“. You can get it here. I put it in my pre-workout water bottle with some Gatorade Endurance before each of my workouts on Saturday and Sunday. It allowed me not only to tackle my workouts at a harder effort, yet somehow my heart rate was lower? And then also continue to be productive throughout the entire day. I was amazing that there was no “crash”. I then didn’t have any caffeine M-F, and then again last Sat and Sun had it in my pre-workout drink again. It was awesome. I then decided with a full time job, wanting to blog full time, and needing to product photography/content/post on social and work on other projects, I might try caffeine during the week. I went M-W with no caffeine, and then on Thurs was like OK – you don’t like coffee, but you love Chai Tea. But, my tummy doesn’t like hot drinks very much, so I ordered an “iced chai tea latte” from Starbucks. I have never really ordered a drink from Starbucks, so if you can imagine me standing in line waiting to order and reading the menu and seeing in the “Hot Drinks” menu – “Chai Tea” – but then looking over to the “Cold Drinks” menu – and not seeing “Iced Chai Tea” on there. I started to panic. Could they make it for me? Do they have it? I was feeling so nervous, as I stepped up to the register as everyone else flew through their order like they were regulars. I mean it is Starbucks after all. So, there I was, and then I remembered they don’t do “small” “medium” “large” at Starbucks. Crap. What is a small? I look up and see “Tall” – oh yes, that’s right. The man asks me what I am having and I say can I have a “Stall iced chai tea latte” with a big smile, and he chuckles and replies “yes” – you could almost feel that he knew I had no idea what I was saying or doing. I mean Katie, “Stall?” Really? I mean – Small was about to come out of my mouth and so the S caught as I said “Tall”. How embarrassing. Okay. Move along.

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I got my “Stall Iced Chai Tea” and began sipping. Electricity ran through my body, and I was revved up and ready to go! Holy moly! Let’s do this! And my day began. (That was yesterday). With my background in Sports Medicine/Athletic Training, I always was weary about using too much of anything. Vitamins, NyQuil, Caffeine, etc. I always want my body to run on what it was made of, and I hate that feeling of becoming “addicted” to something. And I don’t like building up a tolerance to things, where then I want more of it. And that is definitely my fear with Caffeine. I know it’s good. I know it works. But, I don’t want to rely on it. But, damn it’s so good!

So here I am writing this blog post because I think it’s important to chat about the benefits of caffeine and the challenges with caffeine, as I begin my caffeinated journey. 😛

What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a stimulant (which is a substance that raises levels of physiological or nervous activity in the body) and can be found in coffee beans, tea leaves, cacao beans, kola nuts, guarana, yerba mate, and yoco.

Challenges with Caffeine

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as headache or fatigue
  • Jitters and shakes
  • Nausea
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Upset stomach
  • Increased urine production causing dehydration
  • Irregular heart beats
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness
  • Dependency

Ok now that we’ve gotten that out of the way. What is it good for?

Benefits of Caffeine

  • Increased in sports performance
  • Increased alertness
  • Weight loss (appetite suppression and calorie burning)
  • Prevent Cognitive decline
  • Decreases risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Increases memory, especially long term memory
  • Guards against certain skin cancers

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There are different sensitivity levels with Caffeine. Learn about your sensitivity level here.

Most research that I’ve read says that our sensitivity to caffeine increases with age, yet, for me, somehow I have developed the enzyme needed to metabolize caffeine? Not sure why, or maybe my sleeplessness with caffeine in the past hasn’t been directly related to caffeine but other things? I can’t quite pin point what it is, but caffeine is officially my friend. 🙂

Curious to know your alls experience with caffeine. Leave a note in the comments and let me know!

Want to learn more about Caffeine? Read this.

  • Katie Morse

    haha. I love hearing this though! Isn’t it interesting how different caffeine is for all of us? Wow, you and my dad might be the only two people I know who love their coffee black. Impressive. Yes, I’ve noticed since drinking caffeine that I pee A LOT more. Holy moly. Staying on top of dehydration is super important, as I can see. On the weekends, I really like adding the GQ-6 energy with gatorade and drinking that before workouts so that I get the jolt of energy and I stay hydrated before my workouts. But, either way – woah does caffeine make me pee!!! haha!

  • Ashley

    Hmm I would say my relationship with caffeine is extremely co-dependant haha. I need coffee to function, and the coffee producers I love like kicking horse and starbucks need me to stay in business. I justify my problem by drinking it black so I know I’m not adding fat and sugar to my daily intake, and only drinking 2 cups a day but OH MAN do I love them 2 cups haha. Interesting to hear you’ve gone so long without caffeine in your daily routine! I went off of it during my pregnancy and it was tough, especially because I really honest to goodness love the taste, not just the jolt of energy. Anyways, what I am trying to work on now to make my habit more healthful is to drink more water to balance it out and not get dehydrated. On Saturday morning I made the mistake to have a mug of coffee and NO water before heading out for a 1hr45min run, and that did not feel good. Way too dehydrated! I have to work on that.