Is Caffeine Good For You? Can It Help Your Workouts?

There seems to be a new study out every few weeks stating that yes - caffeine is good for you. Then another comes out a few weeks later and says no - it is actually detrimental to your health. Yet there are plenty of other studies that say caffeine is just fine, but only in moderation. Well, which is it? We all have a gene in our livers that makes a certain enzyme capable of breaking down caffeine. However, for some of us that gene breaks caffeine down quickly, where others it is broken down slowly. For those people where caffeine is broken down quickly, they will see an improvement in health. In these people caffeine is processed and removed quickly. If it is in the form of coffee, the antioxidants will protect against free radicals.  However, for those with the slow enzyme, caffeine remains in their systems for a longer period of time, which is not healthy, and these folks are more likely to experience health related issues. How do you know if caffeine is good for your body then? Well, how well do you tolerate caffeine? Are you super sensitive to caffeine or does it not seem to bother you at all? Do you have more than 3 cups of coffee a day? Are you drinking several bottles or cans of caffeinated soda a day – as that is not good for any body! Coffee gives me the jitters and I do not like the way it makes me feel. My husband on the other hand can drink a cup of coffee before bed and still sleep without any problems. Do you feel jittery, nervous, or a bit on edge from coffee or caffeine? Or are you one of those that it simply gives you a little pick me up? Regardless, even for those who tolerate caffeine well, it means 1-3 cups of coffee a day, not an unlimited amount. Too much - even for those who break it down quickly - can still experience unwanted symptoms:
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Stomach upset
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Muscle tremors
So keep the amount you have in check. One of the best times to consume caffeine (one serving) it pre-workout. Many studies have shown that this can in fact improve your time, performance and/or endurance. One side caution about caffeine though - it is addictive and the effectiveness lessens over time. So you may find that you need more than you did before. Be careful not to fall into that trap. If you decide to quit caffeine, withdrawal symptoms are likely including: headache, nausea, irritability, drowsiness and possibly joint pain. Symptoms of withdrawal normally peak at 48 hours and then taper off. Feel free to follow me on my Facebook page or check out more from me on my blog at

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