October 08, 2020 3 min read

When I got started working out years ago, I had no idea what I was doing … but I knew one thing: I needed a kick in the butt.

So, the first thing I did was get something to help give me energy.

I wanted more motivation to get to the gym and workout harder!

Since that time, I’ve tried about every fat burner, pre-workout, coffee, and energy drink out there. The one thing that almost ALL them have in common? Caffeine.

Caffeine is the most widely used, and abused, drug on the planet. It’s readily available, cost effective and works!

There’s actually a lot of benefits of supplementing with caffeine … Here’s just a few: 

  • Reduces fatigue during exercise
  • Increases aerobic capacity and improves performance in cardiovascular exercise
  • Increases power output (lift more weight)
  • Increases fat burning and heat production (burn more calories)
  • Improves mood, alertness, reaction time and sense of well-being

In fact caffeine is SO good at all those things it's banned at the Olympics in higher doses!

Now if caffeine is so great, why don’t we all drink it all day every day?

There are some drawbacks with caffeine, especially in larger amounts:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased nervousness and anxiety
  • Decreased blood flow
  • High doses can increase the stress hormone cortisol

But what is the MAIN reason you should watch your caffeine intake is that all those benefits listed above? The benefits decrease over time, and you have to increase the amount of caffeine you take in.

You’ve probably been there before.

That small coffee to wake up in the morning turned into two 20 oz coffees to feel energized in the morning.

1 scoop of pre-workout didn’t cut it anymore, so you took a heaping scoop which eventually turned into 2 scoops to get enough motivation to hit the gym.

That in itself wouldn’t even be the worst thing ever, but caffeine has about a 4-6 hour half-life … meaning that pre-workout at 5pm is in your system until 9pm or later.

If you consume caffeine, there’s a decent chance that you won’t ever TRULY have caffeine out of your system.

You may never even feel the “crash” of caffeine because we’re cracking open an energy drink before those 20 oz coffees from the morning even wear off.

You may even struggle with winding down and sleeping … or you may get to sleep but not hit proper REM because caffeine is still in your system.

There comes a point where instead of adding more caffeine in … you should actually bring your dose down, or completely remove it from your diet for a bit.

Remember, more isn’t always better. 

Taking a break from caffeine can be hard, but there are alternative supplements you could try to help with energy.

I’m not even saying you should stop taking in all caffeine, because I promise you that no one loves caffeine more than me! 

But you should pay attention to your caffeine intake and be aware of all the pros … and cons.

If you are struggling from low energy and need help with a plan reach out to one of our Certified Sports Nutrition Specialists and we can help you with a customized plan to get you feeling your best.

*This post was written by Wes Osburn, who is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist.