Experimenting with Caffeine Results – Week 1

So I’ve been reducing my caffiene intake across the day for a week now and here are the results:

Monday: 

Work was fine, I had a cup of tea and two coffees from the vending machine in work. These are half coffees so I’ll probably attribute the two coffees to be one cup when doing the charts. I drank about 3 x 750ml flasks of water throughout the day.

No withdrawal at all and no feelings of needing a cuppa. Didn’t really know what to do with myself when I got home and sat down in the living room. Ended up gardening, buying squash to drink instead and then going for a run. I don’t think the run was impeded by the lack of afternoon/evening caffeine.

I still struggled getting off to sleep before 11 but that could be because I was wired from the fairly late run and cooking time.

Tuesday: 

Managed to get up and have breakfast at home today. Nespresso and Cheerios to start the day. Settled on the idea that 11am would be the best time to have a mug of tea in work as well so it was all over by 11:30. Same 3 flasks of water drank throughout the working day.

At 6pm I’m feeling like I’ve got a bit of a headache. Almost like there is a bit of pressure on either side of my head.

Swimming at 8pm was a tough set of 100m at sub 1:30 pace for 14 reps as well as warm up and cool down. I did not feel significantly drained without caffeine. The headache had subsided by the time I was in the car.

Tomorrow is a rest day fitness wise and today hasn’t exactly been intense having only hit 6.5k steps and a relatively intense 1 hour swim (although short at 2450m).

Wednesday:

Routine established. Nespresso with breakfast. Tea at 11am, today made for me by one of the kind assistants in work.

No headaches at all. 

According to my fitbit data, I’ve been sleeping deeper but not longer or better. According to me, it hasn’t helped at all yet. I’ve not been able to get off to sleep easier. 

I may be a tad over trained as my heart rate  has been slowly rising over the past few days. I’ve taken today as a rest other than some light walking. Day 4 tomorrow, supposedly when it starts to get hard if you go full cold turkey. Hopefully I will be alright.

Thursday:

Routine adhered too yet again. I had a headache by 6pm again but then cycled into town to see my brother for dinner. He very obviously was not involved in this experiment as he had a cappuccino for starter before exclaiming he should have had a flat white…

The extremity of the headaches that people suggested would happen hasn’t happened just yet but that could be down to the fact I’m still consuming in the morning. Quite tempted to go full caffiene free next week.

This was my second rest day as I’m still hoping to get my resting heart rate down.
I managed to head to bed a bit earlier and a managed full nights sleep and had the benefit of a lie in due to working from home this Friday. 
Friday:

Awoke feeling fresh and at home for work. Routine has once again been adhered to. Probably not going to get as much water in today as the water cooler is 3 miles away 

Heart rate seems to be stabilising so exercise can start again. 

Ended up going to watch the Cardiff Blues and having a few too many beers. Was out of the bar by 1am as feeling incredibly tired. I didn’t stop for a coffee at Mcdonalds on the way home as I often do. I think the beer negated any negative feels from not having caffiene.

Saturday:

My last coffee capsule with caffiene in was consumed whilst feeling slightly ropey from the prior nights antics. That was that for the day however another night of drinking was due for a friend’s birthday. 

No headaches and tried to stay up for the boxing which was funny because I fell asleep before the McGregor / Mayweather fight…

Sunday:

Awoke feeling fairly fresh despite a lack of sleep and a few beers. My friend made me a single cup of tea and that’ll be it for the day.

Lunchtime was a bit of a test as I visited a good coffee shop in Bath with my parents. Luckily they served some tasty craft beers so my father and I indulged.

Conclusion:

Overall giving up after noon hasn’t had a huge effect either way.  I don’t think I’ve been sleeping any better or feel particularly  refreshed. I think the culture is what I’d miss most if I gave it up completely. Not having a coffee with my brother the other night and choosing a beer isn’t always as easy as it was this week. I’ve also missed the diet coke but I don’t think that’s a bad thing to give up. Next week I’m going to give it up completely. Perhaps only until Saturday but we will see how it goes. 

Experimenting with Caffiene

As a Brit, Tea has long been a staple in my daily hydration schedule. It has formed part of my daily routine perhaps since I was 7 years old and over time, the addition of coffee has fueled an intake of caffeine to the point where I’m unsure if I’ve become reliant on it.

Never one to drink instant coffee, it wasn’t until the American style coffee chains started rolling out across the UK that I became a coffee drinker. In fact, the first time I ever had a coffee from a takeaway was when visiting Botson in my early teens and buying a Venti Americano for $1 from a Starbucks. Nowadays I love a good “quality” coffee from some of the better independent stores in the country and have also been known to have a weak spot for the blended iced beverages that change names on a weekly basis.

On a daily basis, I wake up to the Nespresso machine, place the pod in the compartment, push down and listen to the dull hum of pressurized water being forced through a small aluminium capsule of ground joy. I know many coffee lovers would have me crucified for enjoying Nespresso but much like how I think Starbucks is the McDonalds of coffee, and therefore even the most pompous of connoisseurs secretly love it, I think it’s alright. Convenient and better than the hassle of grinding at home.

Following the morning coffee ritual it’s into the office, where I would consume between 3-5 cups of tea over an 8 hour period perhaps with a truly vile vending machine coffee. At no point do I need these beverages. They are just nice to have, break up the day a little and warm me up a little bit. I’m not chasing the buzz. I’ve never chased the buzz and I’ve never said “I can’t do anything in the morning until I’ve had my morning coffee”. I don’t actually understand those people.

It is likely I would then drink 1-2 cups of tea in the evening at home. This would be at any time between 5-9pm. Now I know absolutely nothing about this but I’ve decided to do the maths and mess around with my intake to see if I can get on without it. I don’t have a problem with it at all, in fact I quite like tea but I’m interested either way.

Potential benefits:

  • Performance enhancement – When I really need it it could pay dividends (i.e Triathlon/Half Marathon/Race Days)
  • Sleep – All I know is what I’ve heard, I’ve never done the digging but apparently you sleep better.
  • Money – I don’t buy coffee out that often, 33p a day on Nespresso is next to nothing. Tea is a human right. This is probably the one I care about least.
  • Diet Coke – There is no way this stuff is good for me but I love it. Avoiding Caffeine means avoiding Diet Coke.
  • Teeth – Again, don’t care, if they go too gross I’ll just save and get them fixed

Downsides:

  • Headaches and withdrawal – Apparently after 4 days off caffeine or with a significant change to routine you get withdrawal and get antsy and angry. I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens to me.
  • The Social – Tea and Coffee are sociable drinks. Going out and drinking a water with someone is awkward for everyone. I’ve found the same as I’ve dramatically reduced my alcohol intake. People think I’m boring.
  • Warmth and taste – I’m sure this can be addressed with Decaf but as I mentioned before, I like tea and coffee and they are great winter warmers.
  • Something to do – Sometimes when I’m bored I just make a cuppa because it’s nice. Most of the self help people who recommend giving up caffeine tend to be the same people who want you to have nothing nice in your life at all.

 

Plan:

This week I’ve already started and will report back in the next post about how it’s going. I’m going to reduce so that I have no caffeine from mid-day every day for this week and then aim to potentially reduce further after that. Because I like coffee so much and have a nice machine sat upstairs waiting to be used I’m not sure I’ll ever give up the first morning Nespresso but a reduction from my current intake seems like a good idea. I’ll be looking at reducing by at least half in the first week.

 

Current intake (Spread between day):
180mg = Tea x 5
70mg = Nespresso x 1
13mg = In Diet Coke x 1

Total: 263mg

Target intake week 1 (All before noon): 
70mg = Nespresso x 1
36mg = Tea x 1

Total: 106mg