To Coffee or Not to Coffee, that is the question!

Me and Jessie after a coffee!!!:) haha

This is the question i feel most fitness folks ask all the time....Coffee...good or bad for you?

So i did a little research and found this great article by Brian St. Pierre. He does a great job of answering all the questions you. Within the article i learned alot of things that surprised me:) As a strength coach for over 32 years i've heard it all...terrible for you, it dehydrates you big time, you need 4 glasses of water just to even out 1 cup of Joe, it's a diuretic versus it's essential before workouts, it reduces perceived exertion levels, it helps lower blood pressure, it reduces risk of major disease and more! 

Because of all of these questions it made sense to look into it a bit as honestly i was never a coffee drinker, my sister Juli was always happy after she drank coffee, my Jessie loves coffee in the am so what was the deal? So about a year or two ago i thought "yeah, i can try it out and see how i like it...and you know what? I did and do like it:) haha It gives me a good pick me up, not too much and definitely helps my workouts. BUT sometimes some days it gave me the jitters or made me feel bad during my workouts...this usually occurred when i hadn't slept well...but why was this sometimes good, sometimes bad? 

Well all these points are answered and more in Brian's article. So what i thought i would do here is show sections of his article and then in CAPS write out my thoughts and maybe you can relate to them or comment back on them....either way it's interesting and very enlightening:) 

Brian i've never met you but great job on this article!!:)

All About Coffee

Summary: "Coffee is among the most consumed — and controversial — beverages in the world. While coffee should be treated with care and avoided altogether by those who metabolize it poorly, it also provides health benefits to many people. Read on to find out what they are – and how to drink coffee responsibly."

Coffee’s risks

Research on coffee’s safety is mixed, for several reasons: THIS INFO IS VERY INTERESTING!!
  • "Metabolism matters. People vary genetically in how well they can process caffeine and coffee.
  • Coffee interacts with many hormones and neurotransmitters in the body, such as cortisol, acetylcholine, and insulin. These relationships are complex, and often depend on timing, amount, and people’s individual makeup."

What about my metabolism?

"One reason that evidence on the health effects of coffee is so mixed is that people clear caffeine at different rates. Caffeine is broken down and cleared by the liver, and our genetic makeup shapes how quickly and effectively we can do this." SO SOME FOLKS GOOD, SOME NOT GOOD!!
  • "On one hand, “slow” metabolizers of caffeine don’t process caffeine effectively. These are people who are adversely affected by caffeine, get the jitters, and are wired for up to nine hours after consumption.
  • Others just get a boost in energy and alertness for a couple of hours; they are considered “fast” metabolizers of caffeine."
"Research in the emerging field of nutrigenomics shows that about half of us have the gene variant that makes us “slow” metabolizers, while the other half enjoy the gene variant that allows them to get away with quad-espressos."

"On the plus side, low caffeine consumption still seems relatively safe for most folks, so a few daily cups of tea or squares of dark chocolate shouldn’t harm you (and in fact, may greatly boost your well being!)."
And fortunately, not everyone is adversely affected. For those lucky enough to be fast metabolizers, there is good news – and lots of it. Fast metabolizers don’t show the same association between coffee and disease — if you’re a fast metabolizer, coffee might even improve your health!"

What about cortisol? 


"Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It increases blood pressure, spikes blood sugar and prepares the body for “fight or flight” mode.
Coffee and caffeine tend to transiently increase cortisol levels; however, this depends on several factors, including when you drink coffee, how often you drink it, and whether you have high blood pressure.
Cortisol is normally high in the morning, so if you drink some coffee at 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., you should be fine, as cortisol is naturally elevated at that time of day anyway.  However, your body may not appreciate coffee as much in the afternoon or evening, when cortisol normally drops. At that point, consider tea or something decaffeinated.
Again, there’s individual variation: Habitual consumers of coffee seem to be less affected by the cortisol bump, while those with hypertension seem to be more affected.
If cortisol levels are a problem for you, keep your coffee intake to first thing in the morning, and otherwise consume more tea. (Not only does tea have less caffeine, it also has other beneficial, calming compounds such as L-theanine. For more on this, see What You Should Know About Tea.)" THIS LINK TO TEA IS EXCELLENT AS WELL!

Coffee’s benefits


For years, fitness enthusiasts worried that coffee would dehydrate them. However, a recent review of 10 studies found that consuming up to 550 mg of caffeine per day (or about five 8-oz cups) does not cause fluid-electrolyte imbalances in athletes or fitness enthusiasts.
In another review, researchers concluded that consuming caffeine-containing beverages as part of a normal lifestyle does not lead to fluid losses exceeding the volume of fluid consumed (intake and output were roughly equal), nor is it associated with poor hydration status.
Take-home: Don’t drink coffee as your only beverage, and drink enough water, and you’ll be fine.

Coffee & performance

Let’s be honest — that first morning coffee can transform us from beast to philosopher (or at least, slightly more awake and nicer beast). Coffee, and more specifically its caffeine content, provide many noted mental and physical performance benefits.
Caffeine reduces our rate of perceived exertion, so it doesn’t feel like we’re working as hard as we actually are. People who regularly drink coffee perform better on tests of reaction time, verbal memory, and visuo-spatial reasoning.
Another study found that women over the age of 80 performed significantly better on tests of cognitive function if they had regularly consumed coffee over the course of their lifetimes.
Take-home: A little bit of coffee/caffeine before important tasks requiring alertness and energy can be a good thing. WITHOUT QUESTION THIS IS TRUE FOR ME AND MANY ATHLETES SUPPORT THIS FACT. LANCE ARMSTRONG BEING ONE OF THE TOPS.

Coffee, antioxidants & cancer

While dark chocolate and green tea gather a lot of acclaim for their antioxidant content, coffee actually outshines them both in this department. ON THIS POINT I WONDERED ON THE FACT THAT THERE ARE ALL TYPES OF COFFEES FROM FOLGERS TO ORGANIC BLUE MOUNTAIN COFFEE MADE IN JAMAICA (THE HIGH END STUFF). I'M GUESSING THE HIGHER END, THE BETTER, THE MORE ORGANIC, LESS TOUCHED BY MAN THE BETTER!
In fact, the antioxidants in coffee may make up as much as 50-70% of the total antioxidant intake of the average American! (Which is not necessarily a good thing, because it means that there are a lot of vegetables not getting eaten…) YEAH THIS IS A SCARY FACT!! SO IF YOU'RE GONNA DRINK COFFEE, FOLLOW A PLANT STRONG PLAN AND EAT LOTS OF GREENS!!!!:)
Despite some general worries about the health effects of coffee, coffee consumption is associated with an overall decreased risk of cancer.  In particular coffee consumption has been shown to be associated with a lower risk for oral, esophageal, pharyngeal, breast (in post-menopausal women), liver, colon, and aggressive prostate cancer.
When it comes to the prostate, researchers recently found that men who drank the most coffee (6 or more cups per day) were nearly 60% less likely to develop advanced prostate cancer than non-coffee drinkers.  Other research has shown that people who regularly consume two or more cups per day may have a 25% decreased risk of colon cancer.
Again, the research is mixed in part because of the variation in response to coffee.
Take-home: Coffee may lower your cancer risk, but don’t count on it as your only health strategy. And eat some vegetables already. AMEN BROTHER!!!

Summary & recommendations

Coffee’s not for everyone. And it’s not a magic bullet. Still, it seems to have significant health benefits for those who can tolerate it. This includes:
  • better athletic and mental performance
  • possibly lower rates of some types of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and Type 2 diabetes
  • possibly some prevention of premature mortality and cardiovascular disease

In general, it appears that drinking some coffee is good, but more might not be better, especially if you are a slow metabolizer.  For those who are greatly affected by coffee and caffeine, avoid it altogether or cut down your consumption. NOTE HERE, PAY ATTENTION TO IT'S EFFECT ON YOU! JITTERY OR WIRED...CHILL OUT ON IT:)
Want a quick and easy test of your coffee consumption? Ask yourself how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally a few hours after you drink some… as well as if you miss your daily dose.
Also, go black if possible. Pumping your coffee full of cream, sugar, and other exotic additives reduces any potential health benefits by adding unnecessary calories and artificial flavours and sweeteners. (And Frappucinos or chocolate covered coffee beans? C’mon.) GREAT POINT!! TOXINS LIKE CRAZY!!
Taking all the data into consideration, it seems that your best bet is about 1-3 cups of coffee (8-24 oz) per day. This will maximize the benefits while minimizing the risk.
And keep this in mind…while there is positive data on coffee, these benefits don’t necessarily include things like energy drinks and caffeine pills.  There are many antioxidants and bioactive compounds in coffee that are interacting with its caffeine content to provide the benefits.  So, unfortunately, Red Bull doesn’t count.


Hope you guys get as much out of this as i did:) Lots of great points!

Tell me what you guys think okay:)




  1. Hi Jon, Glad you found such thorough source. Personally I can't help to question if one's state of cleanliness; and I'm specifically talking about the liver, would have a stronger impact on the type of effects of caffeine, than even the mentioned gene. That would explain why sometimes it affects us different than others, whereas if it was mainly a gene thing, you'd think it'd be a consistent reaction. Well, I can say I'm in the jittery group so based on my aforementioned conclusion, I will do a liver cleanse soon and I'll be curious to see if my reaction would be milder. I've also been told by the Urologist that coffee (and chocolate) aren't recommended for anyone with any prostate concerns, this article basically points to the opposite. Either way, I know people that not only enjoy it but also seem very calm after drinking it, so good for them. Peace & buzz...

  2. Great information, to read with a nice coffee ...hehehe...


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