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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 11-23-10, 06:23 PM   #1
sknhgy 
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Any ex-caffeine users here?

How has giving up caffeine affected you? The reason I ask is that I consume a fair amount of caffeine every day. Two cups of coffee and 2-3 cups of tea in the course of a day. I feel like sometimes it affects my sleep. My grown daughter drinks zero caffeine and she sleeps like a log. I realize there are other factors involved, but I would like to hear how giving up caffeine has affected people.
Thanks.
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Old 11-23-10, 07:13 PM   #2
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I find that if I train every day, or almost every day, and don't drink coffee after 2pm, I sleep just fine. Otherwise, otherwise.
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Old 11-23-10, 07:30 PM   #3
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I've been caffeine free for five hours. Sorry, I'm no help.

Tack another 50 km per day and i'm sure you'll sleep fine.
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Old 11-24-10, 09:05 AM   #4
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I quit drinking caffeine once a year, like clockwork. The only difference I notice is that I don't get to enjoy my morning cup of coffee, so I always start again, and I never feel any different. I limit myself to one cup in the morning though.
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Old 11-24-10, 10:42 AM   #5
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I was a hardcore coffee drinker for a number of years. There was a period during which I drank coffee more than anything else and had developed a complete tolerance (drink coffee at 9:00pm, asleep at 11:00pm). In recent years I was down to 2-3 cups a day, an improvement, but I felt bothersome lulls in mental energy and motivation throughout the day.

I wanted to increase the energy I felt throughout the day, and subsequently stopped drinking coffee in August. I achieved this through a withdrawal period involving a week of irritability, tiredness, and headaches. There was also a longer period during which I had a strong desire for the taste of coffee. I got by initially with decaf coffee or green tea, and weaned off from there.

This isn't a scientific trial, so the results are subjective, but I feel more alert upon waking up and feel as though I have a more stable baseline level of mental energy (albeit not as high a baseline as I would like), less subject to the peaks and lulls experienced when I was drinking coffee regularly. Getting to sleep is about as easy as it was before, and I can't say anything either way about sleep quality. It should be noted that these changes also coincided with a reworking of my sleep schedule, wherein I go to sleep earlier and wake up with the sunrise, which may have nothing or everything to do with my experiences.
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Old 11-24-10, 12:30 PM   #6
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If you decide to quit expect a blistering headache on the second day. Personally, I didn't enjoy my caffeine-free existence, I didn't notice any increase in energy. Sleeping patterns didn't really change, I only felt that I got a nice sleep after a hard ride regardless of caffeine status.

The only benefit was the fantastic buzz I got when I started back up ;-)
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Old 11-24-10, 02:59 PM   #7
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I went from drinking approx. 15 cups of coffee a day down to 0 caffeine all at once back in the late 1980s. 15 cups of coffee was way too much and it was having a very negative effect on me (migraines etc.), so I decided to quit cold turkey with the goal of not touching anything with caffeine for 3 weeks. I was miserable for the entire 3 weeks. Headaches, cranky, just generally miserable.

At the end of 3 weeks, I started consuming caffeine again, but since then (20 years now) for the most part I have kept it to under 4 cups a day, and in recent years I've discovered that it is better if I don't drink coffee after about 6 pm. That works well for me ... keeps me happy without bringing on the migraines etc.
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Old 11-24-10, 08:50 PM   #8
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I give it up a few times a year, but always go back!

I seem to get the most bang for the buck if I only have one caffeinated drink per day, and finish that before 10am. I get the pick-me-up without much of the let-down later.

When I've given it up completely, I do find it easier to have regular sleeping patterns. However, in my case, I find that avoiding anything that is a diuretic produces the most positive affect on good sleep, so sometimes giving up just the caffeinated drinks isn't enough.

For me I notice that caffeine doesn't really make it harder for me to go to sleep, but it is much more likely to disturb my sleeping patterns and cause me to wake up a few times a night. Off of the caffeine that disappears almost completely.

I found using smaller coffee mugs helps, too! The ones I like to use are a quarter pot each, so that's 3 'cups'. buzz!
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Old 11-25-10, 02:22 AM   #9
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caffeine is part of my energy/fat burning stack. I cycle it 8 weeks on, 4 weeks off. More than that, and you get no benefit at all from caffeine, besides recovering from lack of caffeine on your system .

A caffeine withdrawal headache is a nasty business, you are better off drinking less and less until you are completely off.
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Old 11-25-10, 03:13 AM   #10
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I've gone periods with and without. I can't say that I experience any major withdrawl symptoms or anything like that. I think I am a bit less "emotional" without the stuff, which can be both a good and a bad thing depending on the situation. So, the deciding factor for me is just the fact that I just really enjoy drinking coffee, more so in the cold, winter periods where it warms you up nicely. I only drink it in the a.m though - it just never seems to appeal after that for some reason. I might add, that if you want the performance benefits - don't go for coffee, get caffiene pills or similar.
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Old 11-25-10, 04:11 AM   #11
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big changes are more difficult to adjust to than little ones
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Old 11-25-10, 10:39 AM   #12
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This is a very interesting topic - I was a devout Diet Coke fan and my friend kept telling me how awful it was for me and got me to drink a morning cup of coffee to replace my a.m. Diet Coke.

Well now I'm stuck on the a.m. coffee, still drink up to 3 cans of Diet Coke a day, and find out later that D.C. has 38 mg of caffiene and coffee has 138!! (On average). Never again will I make a switch without researching the facts myself.

Anyway, I also quit caffiene off and on like clockwork, and I never get any desired effects except headache & less alertness. I don't smoke or drink regularly, and caffiene is my only vice. But still, I wonder if I should kick that one last habit...
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Old 11-25-10, 11:07 AM   #13
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Be careful about kicking that one last vice . . .

Moderation in all things, including moderation.
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Old 11-25-10, 06:15 PM   #14
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I quit regular caffeine intake a couple years ago. My only intake is a caffeinated gel near the end of long races, and that's a just a couple times a year. I drink decaf coffee (there's good stuff available from a local roaster) and decaf tea.

I didn't have any side effects from quitting, because I quit gradually over six months or so. I made half caf coffee, then when I was ready I went to 1/4 caf coffee, then full decaf.

I'm healthier off caffeine. There's less of an afternoon crash and I'm less tired. I don't have a problem getting up in the morning, even at 4:30, but I've always been like that.
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Old 11-26-10, 12:50 AM   #15
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I've quit caffeine many times over the years and the headaches from withdrawal are brutal. I'm currently back on 3 strong cups of coffee a day. As long as I finish them before 5 in the afternoon I can sleep at night.

Once a week I will go without coffee but I better have coffee soon after waking the next day. The withdrawal headaches after only 2 days are painful. Makes me cranky and short tempered.
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Old 11-26-10, 01:51 AM   #16
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I quit caffeine at the beginning of October. I had kidney pain, intense muscle pain, cranky as all get out. It was a solid 9 days of hell. Afterwards I had gained 5 pounds of water weight and improved my 4000 foot hill climb time by 8%. I also sleep much better. If you are up for it I would recommend quitting and then seeing if you also see the same performance gains.

--Colin
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Old 11-26-10, 08:37 AM   #17
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A few years ago, I got tricked by Folger's when they packaged a decaf product in a red can (traditionally, red is their color for regular coffee, and the green is for decaf). So for a few days I had been unknowingly drinking nothing but decaf . . and having constant terrible unexplained headaches! One morning I did a double-take, and was surprised to see on the red coffee can a little green box describing the 'decaf' coffee within. That explained my headaches: caffeine withdrawal. I didn't want to have an addiction! To get rid of the headaches I started making coffee 50% decaf 50% reg. After 2 weeks 75% decaf 25% reg. Eventually I cut the regular out completely, and now just drink decaf all day.

The best and most noticeable change of getting off caffeine is the morning fog is gone, and I feel good when I get up. There is no need for anything to wake me up, or get me going. I get to sleep fine, unless a life worry is weighing heavy on my mind.
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Old 11-26-10, 03:47 PM   #18
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Just have a cup in the morning.
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Old 11-26-10, 07:39 PM   #19
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I used to enjoy cigarettes. The pleasure was immense, but dwarfed next to the toll it had on my life.

I loooove sweats. I don't partake anymore, it works against my priorities. Heck, I didn't eat any candy in Halloween.

Fast foods, maybe every other month to please my girls and even then in moderation (can't muster more than a whooper jr, no fries, and a bottle of water).

Caffeine is a vice I enjoy. To paraphrase Sinatra, "I feel sorry for people who don't drink coffee. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day."
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Old 11-27-10, 04:06 AM   #20
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I'm suprised to hear so many get bad headaches from withdrawls. Every time i've cut it out, I just feel a bit slow/lethargic for a couple of days, but other than that i'm fine? Then again, I only drink two cups max per day. I am sipping here on a nice cup while it is snowing outside... ahh
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Old 11-29-10, 08:53 AM   #21
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I LOVE Diet Coke and drink a bunch every day (I also drink close to a gallon of water a day). I go through periods of quitting drinking it but always fall back off the wagon. One of the big side effects for me is it keeps my appetite in check - I have a huge appetite and can literally eat from the time I wake up until I go to sleep - it just curbs this a little.
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Old 11-29-10, 11:59 PM   #22
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I used to drink a 12 pack or more of Mountain Dew daily for a number of years. Quit cold turkey, and have been off of it for roughly a year now. I never got the caffeine addiction or headaches when coming off of it. I think I was more addicted to the taste than anything. One of my buddies used to drink way less than me, but if he didn't have one by noon he had a horrible headache. I could go days without and not get any headaches.

Either way, I'm way more healthy without that in my life. I lost some weight, while already being skinny, because obviously that is a LOT of calories I was missing, but I tried to make up for most of those calories in real food rather than the liquid. I'm not nearly as outgoing or hyper all the time, but I don't have the mood swings I used to get either. I also seemed to have horrible time going to sleep sometimes, but it seems most of the time I fall right asleep now, even when I'm well rested.

It's best to lay off the caffeine, but if you really can't, make sure to have it early and limit the amount you have and you should be fine.
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Old 12-02-10, 02:23 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by cyclokitty View Post
I've quit caffeine many times over the years and the headaches from withdrawal are brutal. I'm currently back on 3 strong cups of coffee a day. As long as I finish them before 5 in the afternoon I can sleep at night.

Once a week I will go without coffee but I better have coffee soon after waking the next day. The withdrawal headaches after only 2 days are painful. Makes me cranky and short tempered.
Here's a tip: drink A LOT more water when you're trying to cut back on coffee. Coffee dehydrates you (obviously) and it's really hard to tell just how dehydrated you are because your urine can still be clear. I've found that what I used to call caffeine withdrawal was mostly intense dehydration.
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Old 12-02-10, 05:45 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by madprofessor100 View Post
Here's a tip: drink A LOT more water when you're trying to cut back on coffee. Coffee dehydrates you (obviously) and it's really hard to tell just how dehydrated you are because your urine can still be clear. I've found that what I used to call caffeine withdrawal was mostly intense dehydration.
That doesn't make any sense. For one thing coffee doesn't dehydrate most people. If it did and the headaches were caused by dehydration, heavy coffee drinkers would get headaches.
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Old 12-02-10, 06:20 PM   #25
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Why Quit?

excerpt:

A growing body of research shows that coffee drinkers, compared to nondrinkers, are:
  • less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and dementia
  • have fewer cases of certain cancers, heart rhythm problems, and strokes
“There is certainly much more good news than bad news, in terms of coffee and health,” says Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.
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