51418 On Caffeine
You might have seen the title and thought, "Oh NO! What is he going to say about my favorite thing?!?!?" Don't fret, I use caffeine and right now I don't plan to stop. This post is more about having a conversation about the purpose behind the not-food substances we put in our body.
Caffeine is a drug, specifically a stimulant. It is widely drank, eaten and used. Actually, it's the most widely consumed drug in the world. It can be added directly to things like Soda and energy drinks. You can take it in pill form. It occurs naturally in Coffee, tea and chocolate. (a bag of m&m's has about 5mg) It is a regularly supplemented performance enhancing drug. Another important thing to note is that it's effects are felt very quickly. You can do your own research about the benefits or uses of caffeine or it might be another blog post. Caffeine a stimulant could provide energy if only you understand the difference between energy and fuel. Fuel is food. There isn't a metabolic pathway where caffeine goes into your quads and helps you squat. Finally though, we build a tolerance to Caffeine which may help us gain good insight as to it's place in our life.
With many drugs, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, thc/cbd, tylenol - to name a few used by you guys- the more you use them, the more you tolerate them and they either have diminished effects or require a higher minimum effective dose. And as that dose rises, it may make it to the place of dependency. That can sound scary, and it is with alcohol, nicotine, pain killers, and other drugs, but I've only seen one Dateline NBC about a family torn apart by a Mt. Dew addiction. Dependency just means that rather than a minimum effective dose, there is now a minimum required dose.
Like in order to act normal, you need to consume caffeine. So now there's a spectrum where at one end, caffeine can be a useful tool and performance enhancing drug, in the middle somewhere there's responsible and moderate intake, and at the other end, caffeine is as necessary as brushing your teeth. I'm not a scientist but I don't really think the needle can really fall in all those same places at once. Think about it, your tolerance can potentially be so high that some caffeine before work or a workout makes you perform at your.... minimum potential?! I have read that you may still benefit from caffeine even if you don't "feel" it, but even then, what if you have an application where you actually do need to feel it? (driving? studying?) It's ineffective if your tolerance is too high. If your needle was closer to the middle or if you had really no tolerance at all, then caffeine could potentially be a really potent and special performance enhancer. We should speak similarly about alcohol. If you drink for a head change, but your have a really high tolerance from a lot of consumption, just to catch that buzz might mean an extra 1000 calories or more!
Take an honest look at where these things fall within your fitness and lifestyle. Is your tolerance super high? Maybe you could benefit from cutting back. Maybe cutting yourself off of caffeine cold turkey isn't wise for your family or co-worker's sake, so lowering your intake slowly would be a better strategy. Get off the sauce for a time or season if only to lower your tolerance so Caffeine could actually be of some use.