So, I gave up caffeine last December as part of my new, healthy diet. Prior to December, I was drinking at least one, if not two, 20-oz. bottles of diet soda a day! I was also an avid coffee drinker. My addiction had reached the point where I could drink a latte at 8 PM and still fall asleep at 10 PM--I was completely immune to caffeine's effects. After ready numerous studies regarding habitual caffeine use's negative effects on health and weight loss (like this, this, and this), I decided I needed to give it up!
Now, I've had to break some pretty strong addictions in my day (cheese addiction? hello!), but caffeine was the absolute worst! I gave it up during my winter holiday from law school, and I was laid up in bed for 7 days! No joke! I had the worst headache that I had ever experienced, and all I wanted to do was sleep and yell at people. That I was cranky would be an understatement! I'm so glad that's over.
So, I'll tell you the truth; I've had a couple caffeinated beverages between now and then. I treated myself to a couple sodas and a coffee or two while my darlin' and I were in Hawaii for my spring break. Can you see the take-out cup in my hand? I was trying to hide it from the camera!
I wasn't training then (we were hiking every day, but I wasn't running, biking, or swimming), so I don't really know how the caffeine affected my muscle performance after so long without it. I can say this, though--after a solid three months without the stuff, it definitely gave me a jolt!
Let's fast-forward to this morning! After reading many articles proclaiming the benefits of small doses of caffeine on muscle performance (like this one), I decided to add a little bit into my morning routine, just to see what would happen.
This morning, I forewent my usual soy yogurt and instead had a big mug of green tea (2 tea bags) with 2 tablespoons of agave nectar 30 minutes before my morning run. That's a lot of agave nectar for a mug of green tea, but I used the agave nectar to add in the pre-run carbs I need.
Verdict? I definitely felt more energized while running! I was a bit worried about how my muscles would perform after yesterday's running, yoga, and biking, but with the addition of the caffeine I was right on pace! I could tell that my muscles were responding better than usual, and I had a bit more spring in my step. I think I might keep the green tea in the equation for a bit, just to explore the possibilities. I'm curious about it's effects on hydration and recovery as well.