EVERYONE knows caffeine and its effects. Nearly 90% of the westernized society consumes it daily in some form. Shocking isn’t it?1
The whole world is on this drug.
That’s why it makes total sense to learn something about it. And how could you do that any better than within a brief infopost? 😉
Caffeine as society’s beloved drug
In the beginning, caffeine* was widely unaccepted and even prohibited by law. Nowadays, this drug couldn’t be deeper rooted within our society:
- You go on a date to drink coffee – even if this might be a shallow pretext – at least from time to time. 👿
- You meet to talk about business while drinking a cup of coffee.
- You socialize and meet your grandparents to coffee and cake2
Or differently said – caffeine is a solidified part of many’s day-to-day lives.
Plus, various people are seriously addicted to caffeine. Just consider how many aren’t in the mood to talk one sentence before having a cup after waking up. I’ve been there, too 😀
Could you imagine a life without coffee, energy drinks, or even tea? I seriously couldn’t.
Although it is a drug, caffeine is the single most, widely accepted drug worldwide. A beautiful stimulant, the fuel of our economy.3
Caffeine’s hard facts
Teein, found in tea, accompanies us, humans, now for quite a while, especially in Asia and South America. Coffee seems to be the new kid on the block.
Caffeine is nothing more than a stimulant. As a supplement, caffeine increases performance, tightens your blood vessels, and ups your heart rate.
The Adenosine Cycle
All these reactions happen within your sympathetic nervous system. Caffeine blocks the receptors of adenosine.
And blocked adenosine receptors mean that more adenosine can remain between two neurons – within the synaptic gap.
Ok – now you might think, what’s adenosine good for?
Glad you asked! Adenosine signals your body his energy levels. The longer you stay awake the higher these levels will rise and signal your body that you are tired. That’s the mechanism know as sleeping pressure.
How caffeine fucks this cycle up
By consuming caffeine you fuck around within this tightly-knot cycle:
- By blocking the adenosine receptors your body thinks it is still fit and ready to do stuff
- Even if you aren’t and your adenosine levels normally would tell it to slow down.
This is why coffee lets you feel wake. You can’t play this game forever – if there is too much adenosine there is simply no amount of caffeine that could win this battle.
Ever tried to stay 2 nights up in a row just aided by caffeine? Each cup helps less and simply makes you a more confused mess.
Funnily your body is a genius. It copes with caffeine and simply builds more receptors to bypass this inhibitory process. Bloody genius, isn’t it?
That’s the reason why you quickly get used to caffeine and can tolerate more and more. You simply need a higher dose for an equal effect. As with any drug, Paracelsus law is valid – the dose determines the effect and creates the poison:
- Our body gets used to this substance and even needs it to fill all these additional receptors. You get addicted. And sometime later you can drink 2l coffee for breakfast while feeling slightly awake.
- Your colleague drinking rarely a cappuccino would get killed by that dose or tear off his breakfast table, trying to stuff breakfast cereal trembling into his mouth.
One last important fact to know is caffeine half-time of 5-8 hours, depending on the individual. That means that if you down 200mg of caffeine 5 hours before bedtime, you still got 100mg of caffeine actively within your bloodstream pumping you up.
How does this whole lot help me to use caffeine effectively?
Don’t be an addict
Check that your tolerance is in an acceptable range. If you can drink 1l of coffee and feel slightly awake or each coffee just adds to your overall confusion – it is time for cold withdrawal.
Take a week off and consume NO caffeine – no coke, no green tea, no black tea. After this week, your body will reduce its total amount of receptors, back to the norm.
And – it’s not that bad. Some headache, a bit of confusion, that’s it. Life can happen without caffeine – wouldn’t have thought that, too!
No coffee past 14:00
If you wanna transition well into sleep and have the best out of doing so, try to eliminate caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime.
Think of its half-time. If you have a total amount of 300mg caffeine within your body at 18:00, at 00:00 these will still be 150mg of caffeine. That’s the equivalent of a whole can monster energy.
Plan roughly your caffeine intake per day
Drinking your caffeine each day at roughly the same time enables you to plan your intake well.
For example, drink 2 coffee in the morning and 1 after lunch. This way you are productive in the morning, not totally dead after eating, and can sleep well.
Prefer teas to coffee, coffee to energy drinks, energy drinks to pills
Coffee and energy drinks, as well as pure caffeine pills, have a place as quick wake-up kicks. You can get the most out of them if you use them before working out.
Many studies have shown that caffeine is THE performance increasing supplement. And this day in, day out. It is safe to use, has no severe side effects, and being caffeine-addicted is by any means better than being addicted to any other drug.
Tea contains caffeine, too, but in a slightly different form. It is bound, that’s why teein’s effect is softer.4 It awakens like coffee but keeps you calm. I found this effect great to work focussed.
Caffeine and its effect as a supplement on athletic performance
Caffeine is the single-greatest performance increasing supplement for the everyday athlete.5 It is very compatible and increases performance, as well as focus on a comfortable amount.
I would take around 100-200mg prior to your workout. Start slowly and look at how much caffeine your body can sustain. Having way too much caffeine prior to your workout is no fun!
If you are used to it and really feel drained or wanna hit a PR the upcoming session, caffeine can be a really great motivator. Although solely relying on it and pushing through each time you are fatigued, isn’t the right thing to do either.
One final tip is to combine the intake of caffeine with the same amount of L-Theanine. I found this combination* very useful, as I am not a big fan of this stressing caffeine rush. L-Theanine* calms the caffeine’s effect and turns it more into a deep focussed state. That’s where the scientific name of this combination came from ‘calm focus’.
How do you handle caffeine?
I hope you could take something out of this post for your very own use of caffeine. Although it is a widespread drug it stays what the name suggests – a drug.
And likewise every other drug you should at least know what it is, to estimate your usage wisely. No one would (hopefully) down every pill their doctor gives them without informing oneself what this freaking pill exactly is.
How is your personal usage of it? Is caffeine in your trusted supplement arsenal to increase your performance when it’s needed?
While statistically there should be a few people who don’t consume caffeine regularity I had a hard time finding one – besides my brother. Are you in team caffeine, too?
Alright and till then my dear junkies,
- For more information on how common caffeine nowadays really is – check this interesting article out!
- Ok – maybe not in this weird corona pandemic times.
- Oh dude, I could find 1000 aphorisms for coffee and fill this entire post just with them.
- This is so for a few reasons. Part of it is the bound caffeine, another is the occurrence of l-theanine within tea leaves, as well as catechins.
- Within this giant meta-analysis the effects of targeted supplementation of caffeine on performance were researched.