Whether it’s on your drive to work, or sitting home on a crisp Sunday morning, there is always that craving for a nice cup of joe. Some people can slam coffee down all day and are able to fall asleep the second their head hits the pillow, while others have one tiny bit of caffeine after lunch time and are up watching QVC at 3 in the morning ordering color changing-heated toilet seat because you
love having a nice warm light show party for your butt cheeks. Depending on your diet, sleep, activity levels, genetics, and other lifestyle factors, your body will react to what you intake differently than others. To go along with most decisions in life, anything in moderation can be a good thing.
Benefits of Coffee/Caffeine:
- Increase mental energy
- Aid cognitive function
- Can elevate mood and relieve anxiety
- Increases Resting Energy Expenditure (calories you burn with non-activity)
- Tastes delicious
- Enhances physical performance, sorta
This post is not directly related to the usual ‘fitness’ post I make, but it has a purpose, wait and see. According to the National Coffee Association survey in 2014(yes, it’s a real thing), 83% of American Adults consume 3 cups of coffee each day. 587 million cups are consumed per day in the United States, 587 million!! It’s like coffee is the human version of gasoline. There is talk about if coffee is good or bad for you, but anything we consume can be both good and bad.
There’s a Time and Place for Everything…
When to drink coffee is a big factor many people don’t take into account, myself included. Let’s be honest, if you wake up and sluggishly shuffle yourself into the kitchen, holding onto the last ounce of sanity you have UNTIL you drink your cup of coffee, there might be a tiny little issue; PUT. THE. COFFEE. DOWN! When we first wake up in the morning, our body’s cortisol levels are getting ready to gear up for the day. By drinking coffee, you are interfering with the natural process of your body adjusting to being awake and cognitively preparing for daily tasks. Putting elevated caffeine levels from coffee into your system too early, your cortisol levels are placed on steroids essentially. When you don’t get that ‘fix’, you can begin to be fuzzy, disconnected and ‘out of it’ if you go a few mornings without . Instead, go pack your bag, do a some body-weight movement or kettlebell complex (yeah!), take a shower and try to wait about one hour before grabbing that hot,steamy cup of gold. Your body’s cortisol levels reach their full potential between 12-1pm and about 5:30-6:30pm, so try to avoid having some around those times to prevent interference. A good way to allow your body to readjust is to drink your coffee about 20-30 minutes later on each morning. This can both allow caffeine to be more effective without drowning yourself in multiple cups before making it to lunch time.
Caffeine and Fitness
For athletic purposes, sports like Olympic Lifting, Sprinting, Power Lifting/Power Sports can see performance benefits when caffeine is used as a supplement. Yes, there are some NCAA and professional sport organizations that deny the use of sugar or caffeine pills, but that usually means you can’t consume them right before competing. Team sports generally last too long, which means a big burst of energy and focus happen in the beginning of the game, but by the second half be ready to crash hard. It can be a good replacement for pre-workout supplements. Sure, it wont give you that crazy adrenaline power rush (from C4, jack3d, or 1MR), but they can become expensive after a while; not to mention the laundry list of chemicals on the label. But anyway, caffeine can be used to get you really amped up for when you need to hit a PR…or just to do infinite bicep curls.Now, there is a difference between getting a nice hot cup of coffee, or ordering a Fat-Free Caramel Quad Shot Latte, Upside Down, Extra Caramel…clearly. If you own a Keurig like most people, it can get to be expensive buying the K-Cups over and over again. Try finding a reusable one that you fill in with your own coffee grounds to save some money, and to get the exact flavor you are looking for. The less you put into your coffee, the better it will be for your overall health. If black coffee isn’t quite your style, try substituting your sugar and milk with;
- Stevia (usually a granules or liquid)
- Sugar in the Raw
- Soy, Rice, Almond milks (low sugar content)
They can keep your coffee tasting great while making your belly happy! But for all of you marathon running metabolism fiends, homemade bulletproof coffee might be the trick. The quick and simple recipe is;
- 2 Cups of Coffee
- 2 Tablespoons of Unsalted, Grass-Fed Butter (Kerrygold is my favortie)
- 1-2 Tablespoons MCT oil
And that’s it. The difference with this is the added MCT oil and unsalted butter. For those of you who may not know, MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides, which are the good fatty acid extract of Coconut or Kern oil. By adding the elevated fat levels to your morning body routine, it can aid weight loss since your body is triggered to burn fat deposits rather than the carbohydrates you would eat. That process is called ketosis; a metabolic state occuring from a lack of carbs, causing our bodies to utilize fats as a fuel source. It can fight those sweet, carbohydrate cravings like muffins, bagels or cereals which don’t provide what our engine really wants; dietary disciple must beat temporary mouth pleasure to be successful (80/20 rule). Also, it can replace breakfast for some, although I don’t think that’s a great idea all the time. Again, anything is acceptable in moderation. I absolutely can tell the difference between a normal cup and a SUPER CUP, and that morning fogginess seems to turn into mental clarity much quicker. I feel my hunger satisfied with less desire to stuff my face full of food right away in the morning. Now, this is NOT a meal replacement, it’s more of a boost to your morning routine. Plus, I found that it holds my caffeine buzz a little longer than usual, and even helps get mentally quickly for early teaching or lifting. I am by no means a coffee connoisseur, but by making some simple adjustments to your routine can make a noticeable difference in your daily life!