coffee
October 21, 2013 posted by

Why And How To Cycle Your Coffee

Why And How To Cycle Your Coffee

This post was supposed to be “is coffee okay?” but, since I’ve been getting heaps of questions about my coffee cycles we’ll cover that primarily, but also hit on the original question.

Is coffee okay?

Those who know me (and follow this blog) already know the answer but I’ll start with some numbers. As of today there are 26,670 published studies on caffeine and 9,735 on coffee and that are overwhelmingly (95+% based on estimates, though I have not counted them all) positive. The benefits of this elixir are enough to give it a magic monicker. They range from improved sports performance and brain function, to reducing the risk of cancer, diabetes, depression, and suicide, etc, to the point where you can virtually pick an ailment and know that coffee serves a reasonable chance in improving it. All is not golden in the coffee work, mind you. It has a dark side, mainly in that it can inhibit sleep, something more much ergogenic than coffee will ever hope to be, and that’s pretty big. It also tends to be too bitter for many folk’s palates, making it a base for mixtures of all sorts of horrible concoctions that are coffee in name only. Anyway, if you have issues with coffee , chances are you’re having it with, well, something other than coffee (which isn’t to say everyone can drink it because some can’t, including my wife who is fine with caffeine in tea but coffee gives her headaches, so always keep in mind that while coffee may be healthy you certain don’t need it, like pretty any healthy food there are plenty of options).

You can click the above links for more info and numbers or read this article, which lays most of em out (except the most recent as rarely does a month go by without a new study coming out citing benefits of coffee).

10 Things to Like and Not Like about Coffee

and, heck, here’s another that came out on Friday:

11 Reasons to Drink Coffee

Anyways, so coffee’s not just okay, but great, for most people. So much for that. I’m not exactly sure why it’s so often vilified except to say that it’s fallen victim to a puritanical psychological game that surmises holding out against things that are pleasurable will somehow make you a better person, more appealing to a divinity figure, or happier in your next life. Like abstaining from sex and giving up goals and dreams in order to work in a coal mine because “it was good enough for dad”, eliminating coffee unless it affects you poorly (in which case you absolutely should)  doesn’t make a ton of sense.

However, as in all great things, you can have too much. Something like 300 cups in a day can kill you and, while that’s highly unlikely,  drinking too much coffee over the long run reduces its effectiveness. And that’s just sad.

Yep, many of the benefits of coffee decrease as you build a tolerance for it. This means that if you want the full effects, rather than drinking more, which is limited in potential scope, the best action is to curtail it at times in order to increase its effectiveness. While that may sound unpleasant, I’ve come up with a strategy, perfected over many years of experimentation, that makes it down right easy. I do often streamline this cycle if I didn’t plan far enough in advance. The shorter the cycle the harder it is, and the less long its effects last, but there are many variations that work. Even cold turkey.

The Coffee Cycle

Week 1

I generally don’t regiment my coffee drinking, though I rarely drink it towards evening because it can affect sleep and I hate not being able to sleep. When I begin a cycle, I generally start by capping consumption at two cups per day. This is easy and, basically, only means that I don’t opt for coffee during every social or work encounter throughout the day. The physical withdrawal is zero. I also get in the habit of drinking two glasses of water everyday first thing after waking up. You might be amazed how alert this makes you all on its own.

Week 2 is one cup per day. Again, there is absolutely no physical effect. I simply want more coffee because I like it.

Week 3 I move to black tea but don’t set limits (though I only have it once a day). Again, there isn’t really a physical effect as you’re getting caffeine but the desire for the taste of coffee is there and hard to resist. I like tea, especially good tea, and when I’m in “tea countries” like England and India I switch with no effect, so I think this is cultural. Tea definitely is mellower, however, in the amp department. You feel slightly different but it’s very little. Again, the hardest part during this week is the I miss the taste of coffee because, well, I love coffee. Black as midnight on a moonless night.

Week 4 I cut tea down to one cup a day. Again, it’s mainly easy.

Week 5 I go off of caffeine and juice in the morning, meaning that I make a veggie juice chocked full of nutrients (never a sugary juice, which can make cravings worse). While water mostly eliminates a need for caffeine, juicing veggies gives you so many condensed nutrients that you also get the energy rush of coffee. I can’t say it’s easy, exactly, since I love the coffee ritual. Juicing is not damn good coffee, nor hot, but it works very well and there are no real physical impairments.

I maintain this state as long as I feel like it. Then, when a big event is coming up, I’ll go back on coffee just before. When I do, I find that one cup of strong, black coffee will give me all the ergogenic effects I need with no side effects and jitters. Then I let the magic happen.

Steve’ 53rd Birthday Challenge

Join the Challenge and win stuff!

Beachbody Workout of the Day

Stretch X – Sometimes it’s good to slow things way down and do a slow stretch. I warm-up (workout, actually) before doing this workout but before a long weekend it feels fantastic.

ssues with coffee , chances are you’re having it with, well, something other than coffee (which isn’t to say everyone can drink it because some can’t, including my wife who is fine with caffeine in tea but coffee gives her headaches, so always keep in mind that while coffee may be healthy you certain don’t need it, like pretty any healthy food there are plenty of options).

You can click the above links for more info and numbers or read this article, which lays most of em out (except the most recent as rarely does a month go by without a new study coming out citing benefits of coffee).

10 Things to Like and Not Like about Coffee

and, heck, here’s another that came out on Friday:

11 Reasons to Drink Coffee

Anyways, so coffee’s not just okay, but great, for most people. So much for that. I’m not exactly sure why it’s so often vilified except to say that it’s fallen victim to a puritanical psychological game that surmises holding out against things that are pleasurable will somehow make you a better person, more appealing to a divinity figure, or happier in your next life. Like abstaining from sex and giving up goals and dreams in order to work in a coal mine because “it was good enough for dad”, eliminating coffee unless it affects you poorly (in which case you absolutely should)  doesn’t make a ton of sense.

However, as in all great things, you can have too much. Something like 300 cups in a day can kill you and, while that’s highly unlikely,  drinking too much coffee over the long run reduces its effectiveness. And that’s just sad.

Yep, many of the benefits of coffee decrease as you build a tolerance for it. This means that if you want the full effects, rather than drinking more, which is limited in potential scope, the best action is to curtail it at times in order to increase its effectiveness. While that may sound unpleasant, I’ve come up with a strategy, perfected over many years of experimentation, that makes it down right easy. I do often streamline this cycle if I didn’t plan far enough in advance. The shorter the cycle the harder it is, and the less long its effects last, but there are many variations that work. Even cold turkey.

The Coffee Cycle

Week 1

I generally don’t regiment my coffee drinking, though I rarely drink it towards evening because it can affect sleep and I hate not being able to sleep. When I begin a cycle, I generally start by capping consumption at two cups per day. This is easy and, basically, only means that I don’t opt for coffee during every social or work encounter throughout the day. The physical withdrawal is zero. I also get in the habit of drinking two glasses of water everyday first thing after waking up. You might be amazed how alert this makes you all on its own.

Week 2 is one cup per day. Again, there is absolutely no physical effect. I simply want more coffee because I like it.

Week 3 I move to black tea but don’t set limits (though I only have it once a day). Again, there isn’t really a physical effect as you’re getting caffeine but the desire for the taste of coffee is there and hard to resist. I like tea, especially good tea, and when I’m in “tea countries” like England and India I switch with no effect, so I think this is cultural. Tea definitely is mellower, however, in the amp department. You feel slightly different but it’s very little. Again, the hardest part during this week is the I miss the taste of coffee because, well, I love coffee. Black as midnight on a moonless night.

Week 4 I cut tea down to one cup a day. Again, it’s mainly easy.

Week 5 I go off of caffeine and juice in the morning, meaning that I make a veggie juice chocked full of nutrients (never a sugary juice, which can make cravings worse). While water mostly eliminates a need for caffeine, juicing veggies gives you so many condensed nutrients that you also get the energy rush of coffee. I can’t say it’s easy, exactly, since I love the coffee ritual. Juicing is not damn good coffee, nor hot, but it works very well and there are no real physical impairments.

I maintain this state as long as I feel like it. Then, when a big event is coming up, I’ll go back on coffee just before. When I do, I find that one cup of strong, black coffee will give me all the ergogenic effects I need with no side effects and jitters. Then I let the magic happen.

Recovering from the weekend so no numbers today.

Steve’ 53rd Birthday Challenge

Join the Challenge and win stuff!

 

A Few Challenges of Yore

2000 – 40 Days of Hell
2003 – Get Back To Reality
2006 – This is Gonna Hurt
2007 – My Blood Must Be Fully Replaced Each Year
2010 – Birthday Tribute from 67 friends
2012 – Making Lemonade

2 Comments

  • The title of this post should be “deja vu”. As I was finishing it, I kept thinking I’d read it before.

    Here’s how I cycle coffee:

    1) stop drinking coffee
    2) wait 6 weeks
    3) start drinking coffee

    It’s not fun, but I have something to look forward to. Like Christmas.

    ~Agent Cooper

    • I’m sure you have heard it before. Of course you’re not drinking coffee, so life itself is then a constant state of deja vu.

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