The caffeine experiment!
10 days ago, I randomly decided to see if I could limit, or restrict, caffeine. Restrict caffeine I did and still am.
If you’ve been a loyal follower of mine (much love!), you’ll know I’m extremely partial to experiments. I’ve tried numerous diet approaches, lifestyle ‘hacks’ and workout strategies. I just love analysing and dissecting the results!
(Example: My experiment with the principles from Chris Kresser’s book: Your personal Paleo Diet)
I’ve given up many common ‘Achilles heels’ and actually find I’m quite gifted in that department (probably the only thing the good lord gave me) and I use it to my advantage. The coffee/caffeine experiment is one of the few left to try, and you may be wondering……..
What’s wrong with coffee? You’ve promoted it many times before!
Ah, you do read my stuff then! Yes, I do think coffee can be beneficial, but again, it’s context dependent. Recently, I sat and thought………….do you know what, I’ve been consuming caffeine for the vast majority of my life. I’d never thought of that before.
How dependent on caffeine was I? My results/progress lately has been satisfying to say the least. Would it have been as good without?
Then there’s the sleep/fatigue aspect. Working in the fitness industry is basically a life sentence to shift work and just general awkward hours. That’s not a compliant, more an acceptance. But switching from 10 pm finishes to 6 am starts isn’t so fun. Trying to get to sleep at an early enough hour for any degree of sleep worth having is harder than adding 20 lbs to your bench press without gaining any bodyweight.
Thus I thought…………….I wonder what my sleep would be like without any caffeine?
Obviously the research and science on caffeine is concrete solid – it improves performance, strength and overall focus. BUT (and the but is that big) it’s notorious for affecting sleep quality. Having a hard time getting to sleep is not the ticket when you’re alternating from early starts to late starts, and vice versa.
What I’ve found:
- I sleep better and for longer.
- I’m tired easier (it felt like I was never tired before)
- I’m much less tense. There’s little that can harm me it seems.
- My scalp is clearer (less dandruff)
- I’m hungrier (we all know caffeine is an effective appetite suppressant. Accept it.)
- My strength is much THE SAME. I was braced for this to take a real hit.
- I’ll confess, I am slightly less motivated to train without caffeine than I was with, but it’s just a matter of searching deep and finding your own reasons.
Being naturally very energetic, it makes sense that caffeine would potentially push me over the ‘edge’. At the end of the day, having all the energy in the world but not knowing where to focus it is like taking control of the playboy mansion for a night whilst suffering from severe erectile dysfunction – pointless and useless.
It’s been different and I’m not quite sure if I’ve been ‘converted’; it’s still early days. I’m going to try and add many more days to my ‘streak’ and see. I guess reintroducing caffeine at some point in the future will really tell me a thing or two!
I know many bloggers have tried this before with great success, some of them went over a year and never looked back. Maybe I’ll join the team?
Have any of you had experience with caffeine withdrawal, habitual use, or what do you make of caffeine in general? Is it your knight in shining armour?
Let’s chat down below!
JR @ Straight-Talking-Fitness View All
The 'brains' behind StraightTalkingFitness, a site all about discovery that leads to strength in all formats; fitness, mental, emotional and spiritual. Everything starts from within and projects outwards. Master the body, master anything and everything.
I gave up a lot of stuff, all of it bad for me. I’m holding on to coffee because I love it. 😉
I love coffee too :/ but you know hat they say………..if it’s meant to be, we’ll be reunited! 🙂
I gave up coffee while reading Kimberly Snyder’s book awhile back but I went back to it, I don’t drink that much coffee anyways and I don’t feel that it’s really necessary to give up coffee to be healthy. Unless you drink tons of it, that might not be so great but then I would suggest cutting down rather than quit altogether. Did you get a big headache when you first quit?
Which book is that? I love a good book reference! I generally agree, if you can moderate it, it should be fine. Being caffeine free is pretty much the only thing I’ve not tried, so I couldn’t resist! Haha.
I actually didn’t get a big headache when I stopped, I just felt more relaxed – a feeling I certainly wasn’t used to. Now I’m finding I’m getting tired 2 hours earlier than usual too. I’ll stick at it though and give it a fair trial.
Kimberly Snyder’s book is The Beauty Detox Solution. There is a lot of emphasis on looking beautiful, I could have done without that part. For instance, stop eating this and start eating that and you will have gorgeous hair or beautiful skin. When you look past how gorgeous we’re all going to look the actual meat and bones of her program is pretty good and some of her ideas work for me, some, not all because she gets a little too healthy for my taste in the end but overall I liked a lot of her ideas. Also, her book is so geared towards women that she excluded half her potential audience when men would benefit from her program as well. I thought that was a little strange. Good luck with your experiment, it certainly doesn’t hurt to give up coffee. Do you drink herbal teas or anything?
Oh I see, I’ll check the Amazon reviews and see what it’s all about. Thanks for putting another book on my radar.
Yes, I drink a large variety of herbal teas………chamomile, peppermint, rooibos, bamboo, rose and quite a few others. I’m not afraid to try anything really! I did love green and white tea, but alas, they’re caffeine containing – so off the menu for now.
Nice! I always enjoy a relaxing cup of herbal tea tea. Might Leaf brand is my favorite.
I had to cut back years ago because it was causing acid reflux during my workouts. I have one cup a say now and I’m good and can push it hard w/o problems.
Do you have one cup everyday? Maybe that’s your ‘perfect dose’. I’m still enjoying being caffeine free, but I’m definitely more tired and generally hungrier……..but it’s to be expected I guess…..
Yes. I do. I think it is way better. I don’t really think I need it though. It’s more like a ritual I guess. Get up… check my stats… put on the coffee to brew… put boiled eggs to boil… pack my cooler… drink a cup while I get ready. Ya know!? I once thought I needed preworkout, but I’ve learned to control my mind and bring the beast out regardless. Mental for me. :). Happy Monday? 🙁
Hahahaha, that sounds eerily similar to my routine! I used to do it like I was on auto-pilot. It also used to keep hunger at bay – which was great for intermittent fasting! I’ve now mastered the art of ‘bringing out the beast’ too…….hahaha. It’s easier than people think 🙂
I love this! I gave up coffee, not because I wanted to, but due to a switch in my medicine, I found that I no longer desire it. One day I was driving to work, drinking the coffee that had always gotten me through the morning and its taste literally repulsed me. Ever since then I haven’t had coffee on a regular basis, just with friends at a coffee shop or something. I feel better not being “injected” with a caffeine buzz every morning!
I can confirm, as of February 11th (today), I’m STILL completely caffeine free and loving it. Way less tension. The only blip I’ve had is increased hunger – but I was braced for it.
So you literally just grew to dislike coffee one day? Maybe it was a subtle message from your body. Genuine energy will always trump artificial energy…….anyday!
Thanks so much for getting in touch and sharing your experience 🙂
I am a coffee lover. Recently discovered cold-brewed coffee, a new healthier version. Regarding coffee and much of the rest of life – moderation is usually the answer.
I love coffee too Tony. I’ve not broken up with coffee for good, just trying to rack up some time in a decaffeinated state, as for 95% of my life, I’d been a caffeine junkie!