it's early morning and you're craving that burst of energy to kickstart your day, or it’s 2pm and you need a pick-me-up. What's your go-to solution? For many of us, it's caffeine. Whether it's a cup of coffee, a refreshing tea, or an energy drink, caffeine can be a super useful tool. What some people don’t realize, though, is that caffeine overuse can have negative health effects. We’re not hating on it, we’re just showing you how you can reap the benefits of caffeine without overdoing it - exploring its benefits, potential downsides, and how to maximize its benefits.
the good: boosting energy and focus
- caffeine works by blocking your adenosine receptors - the receptors in your body that tell you you’re tired. It can help you power through that early morning workout, stay sharp during a long day at work, or provide an extra burst of concentration during study sessions.
- caffeine also enhances physical performance by increasing the release of adrenaline, which can aid in endurance activities. A more energetic workout typically is more effective, helping you make greater progress!
- caffeine can improve symptoms that many women feel from pms, like headaches and fatigue.
- coffee has substantial antioxidants that help improve your health and reduce your risk of diseases.
the bad: potential side effects
- excessive consumption or sensitivity to caffeine can lead to unpleasant side effects: restlessness, jitteriness, increased heart rate, digestive issues, and difficulty sleeping.
- when caffeine is regularly over-consumed, it raises cortisol, our stress hormone. when cortisol stays high for long periods, this causes health complications since it down-regulates other essential hormones.
- too much caffeine can have implications on heart health and blood pressure.
- having caffeine too late in the day (past noon-1pm for most people) causes sleep complications.
- dehydration: caffeine is a mild diuretic which contributes to dehydration if it’s not paired with adequate water intake.
using caffeine as a tool, not a crutch
now that we've covered the good and the bad, let's talk about how to make caffeine work for you as a valuable tool in your health and fitness journey, rather than relying on it as a crutch.
- know your limits: start by understanding your own tolerance to caffeine. pay attention to how it affects you and be aware of any negative side effects. if you notice that caffeine disrupts your sleep or causes undesirable symptoms, it may be time to cut back or adjust your consumption.
- timing is key: did you know caffeine stays in your system for around 8 hours after consumption? cut it off by noon-1pm so it doesn’t impact your sleep. delaying caffeine intake in the morning can also be helpful! your body goes through a cortisol spike in the morning, so when you delay caffeine 60-90 minutes, you’ll feel it’s more effective.
- moderation matters: the recommended caffeine limit is 400 milligrams per day (see caffeine guide below!) everyone's caffeine tolerance is different, so find the right balance that works for you but aim to stay below 400 mg / day.
- hydration is crucial: caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it can increase urine production and contribute to dehydration. counteract this effect by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. stay hydrated to maintain optimal health and offset any potential negative effects of caffeine.
- explore alternatives: if you find yourself relying too heavily on caffeine, consider alternatives to give you focus without the caffeine. beam’s non-stim pre-workout is an incredible option here! it is totally caffeine and stimulant free, but still has ingredients to help you lock in during your workout. the amazing flavors won’t do you wrong either 🙂
- brewed coffee (8 oz): 95-165 mg
- espresso (1 oz): 63 mg
- instant coffee (8 oz): 30-90 mg
- decaffeinated coffee (8 oz): 2-5 mg (varies depending on the brand)
- black tea (8 oz): 25-48 mg
- green tea (8 oz): 25-29 mg
- white tea (8 oz): 15-30 mg
- herbal tea (8 oz): generally caffeine-free, but specific blends may contain trace amounts
- most energy drinks: 200-300 mg
- diet coke (12 oz): 45 mg
- most pre-workout (per scoop) : 200-400 mg
beam’s non-stim pre-workout is a great option if you’re avoiding caffeine completely, but did you know our regular pre-workout only has 125 mg per scoop? this doesn’t mean it’s less effective! the lower caffeine paired with ingredients like taurine and l-tyrosine give you enough energy and focus for your session without overdoing it or causing a cash. beta alanine and l-citrulline also help with blood flow so you’re getting an awesome pump. you could even make your own blend by mixing some non-stim and some regular, to customize your caffeine intake!
caffeine is an awesome tool, it’s just important to monitor your intake so you’re not causing any health complications. whether you’re trying to cut caffeine completely or just want to be mindful, we’ve got options for you 🙂