I love coffee. Literally love it. I don’t believe in the saying that too much of a good thing is bad for you. In fact the more of a good thing the better. But as much as I hate to admit it, coffee is an exception. Here it would be more appropriate to say that a little bit of the bad thing is good for you.
Coffee’s antioxidant content, its ability to elevate your heart rate, improve neuromuscular responses and increase mental acuteness are positives when put in context. Such properties are advantageous in many sports and can equally improve the effect of body conditioning training of recreational fitness enthusiasts. Likewise a morning coffee can energise a sluggish system, charging you for the day ahead.
But there is a flip side when drinking too much:
1. Addiction – increased intake of coffee deconditions the effect of caffeine on your metabolism. Eventually a little is simply not enough and you start to drink more and more to reach the same effect.
2. Heart strain – by putting unnecessary strain on the heart too much coffee has the potential to result in unfavorable cardiac episodes: fibrillations, skipped beats etc. Not good!
3. Sugar release – a range of biochemical pathways result in release of sugar into your blood stream. This can effect insulin levels and resultant blood sugar fluctuations that may cause dips in energy shortly after the lift.
4. Diuretic – excess coffee consumption causes increased urination and consequent dehydration. This is partly why in Italy you get your coffee served with a glass of water.
5. Stress to Fat storage – too much caffeine, or even a little at the wrong time, may increase the production of cortisol and adrenalin (stress hormones) that eventually lead to storage of fat around the middle.
6. In addition to physiological changes, over consumption of coffee can reduce your ability to concentrate and make make you feel distracted and irritable.
7. Each or all all of the above may eventually lead to a disturbed sleeping pattern: sudden wakefulness during the night, inability to fall a sleep in the first place, struggle to stay awake during the day. Read more in the sleep post for why this causes you to store fat.
So despite the talk of coffee’s antioxidant properties (not always a good thing btw), and other benefits, it’s ergogenic properties outweigh the advantages when too much coffee becomes a habit (read addiction).
The simple fact remains that I LOVE coffee. Here is a blueprint to drinking coffee without falling onto the flip side.
1. Have small coffee before a workout to improve your session. Half an hour before has been shown to improve athletic performance and the ability to do more during an exercise session.
2. If you can’t let go of drinking at all, restrict yourself to a morning cup and stop drinking in the afternoon and evenings.
3. If you are a “coffee junky” I have an insult coming your way – DECAF!
4. Substitute your afternoon coffee with the decaf or switch to teas – green, camomile, other infusions etc.
5. If you are an “All or Nothing” person then I’m afraid its nothing for this month!
Limit your coffee intake and you will see a noticeable difference in your stress levels and fat distribution. More importantly you will appreciate the cups of coffee you do have.
With healthy wishes,
Day 12 – Exercise improves your appetite response.
Day 13 – Consistency over intensity
Day 14 – Add cinnamon to your diet
Day 15 – Energising morning fix
Day 16 – Active rest
Day 17 – Holistic fitness.
Day 18 – Minimise muscle loss.
Day 19 – Don’t forget steady paced cardio
Day 20 – Eat plenty of fibre
Day 21 – Take up a physically demanding hobby.
Day 22 – Hire a qualified and an experienced Personal Trainer
Day 23 – Eat Cake
Day 24 – Don’t forget that the feeling of hunger is the best cue for when to eat
Day 25 – Tune in to your training
Day 26 – Sort out the calorie density of your meals.
Day 27 – Eat more grapefruit
Day 28 – Eat within an hour after your workout!
Day 29 – Stay in the low range of Glycaemic Index and Glycaemic Load
Day 30 – Cycle crunches.
Day 31 – Learn to listen to your body