Caffeine Part Deux

In case you were a little upset about our first caffeine post on Wednesday, we have compiled some positives of caffeine for you!

Some good things we get from Caffeine:

  • Feel good/ Wake up
  • Assist in training- Caffeine has been shown to improve athletic performance in both strength and endurance athletes.
  • Coffee/Tea is a social drink and helps people get together and enjoy each others company.  Much like another drink we have talked about.

Some Not so good (BAD) things we get from Caffeine:

  • Excess use (more than a cup of coffee/day) can over stress the adrenals and cause issues skirting past just having a cup of coffee (Lethargy, headaches, adverse effects from caffeine consumption, lightheadedness…)
  • The effects of Caffeine lasts up to 8 hours in the body, so any caffeine consumed after noon could likely interfere with sleep.
  • Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor which means it constricts your blood vessels and raises your blood pressure (Right Cindy?)
  • Excess consumption actually decreases blood flow to the brain, not a good thing when you are trying to focus on something important.  (I borrowed this straight from Whole 9)

Over time the same small cup of coffee doesn’t do the trick and you will need more and more to get the same effect.  My recommendation is not to give it up completely but as an experiment, take a month off any form of caffeine.  You may rethink your dependence on it after a couple days but i assure you, those headaches and foggy head will go away (Cold showers help).  Once you have taken a month off, accept the fact that caffeine is a powerful drug and use it with caution routinely taking time off.  I recommend taking a week off every month to reset things.  After your month off, DO NOT jump back in at the same level you stepped out of.  Start with a small cup of coffee or Green tea and ease your way back in, hopefully keeping your consumption lower.

Take a deep Breath, the world is not going to end!

- Dutch Lowy

*REMINDER: No 5:30 pm Strength & Conditioning class tonight!*

Friday S&C Workout:
Box Jump for Height,
Suitcase Carry x5;

5 sets:
10 Burpee Box Jump,
Rest 90 sec

Caffeine as a Drug

Being the middle of the week, where you may already be behind on sleep or trying to get in those extra hours at work, you may be searching for a local caffeine shop. Today I want to talk about why that may or may not be a good choice.

First of all, caffeine is a drug. Try to argue with me and I will take it away for a week and you tell me if you have withdrawal symptoms. You may notice things like headaches, foggy headedness, feelings of lethargy, constipation, etc… If those are not symptoms of drug withdrawal then I don’t know what is.

Caffeine acts on the central nervous system to stimulate the release of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that affects the way our body regulates adrenaline and noradrenaline. Adrenaline is the main hormone released during acute stress responses and gives us the energy to “Fight or Flight.” Over stimulation of this hormone over time can exhaust the adrenal glands (the little guys responsible for adrenaline). Over time the need for more caffeine to get the same response is increased and as a result over time people end up drinking more and more caffeine for the same effect… Sound like any other drugs?

This is a problem for the adrenal glands which have trouble regulating the adrenaline response due to over stimulation from caffeine. Basically, when you need the adrenaline, it’s not there, or at least not in the amounts you need. As a result, you may feel that without caffeine you cannot wake up or that you find yourself more lethargic.

Over time the additional stress (on top of life, work, exercise etc…) placed on your adrenals can wear them out resulting in more advanced issues that are not cured simply by removing caffeine. This has been referred to as Adrenal Fatigue. More about that later.

We just talked about some of the hormonal affects of caffeine which explain much of the issues that may arise from consumption. Friday we will discuss the negative and positive effects of caffeine in your daily life.

Wednesday S&C Workout:
Dragon Walks x3,
Waiter’s Carry x5;

7 sets:
5 pushups,
8 BB rows,
rest 45 sec

Rest and Relaxation

It may seem odd that we are telling you to rest, but, at BlackBox Fort Worth, we are more interested in you being healthy than anything else so, today, we will talk about rest and relaxation.

Training is one piece of the rest puzzle and if you are not resting enough between training sessions you will quickly over reach and eventually over train. Some people push for this and in fact strive to push through it for the adaptation you can get from it. In fact the high level athletes that use this method are usually very successful. Unfortunately, none of us are those people. We make up the 99% of recreational exercisers who have other things going on in their lives so training is not priority number one. As a result, the above training model is not ideal.

Training is simply another stress on the body and those of you that work full time jobs, have kids, drive a car and go out in the hot Texas sun can add those to your already long list of stresses as well. Its important to have a really good balance between all of these stresses and rest and relaxation can play an important role in moderating stress.

When we talk about rest, we don’t simply mean the absence of formal exercise but the deliberate act of resting. Resting means literally doing nothing physically active and if you want to get really specific, nothing that would cause you stress. Many times we see people come in the gym after taking the weekend off only to look more run down. A weekend partying or doing yard work is NOT considered Rest. Rest would be a weekend sitting at the lake, or on a beach. It is a time when you can recharge your hidden stores of social energy.

Some people gain energy from being around others, while some people recharge their energy through being alone.

Next time you feel too beat up to train, take a rest day. Even better, plan a rest day each week when you are free to relax, enjoy yourself and do NOTHING.

S&C Thursday Workout:
SL Bounds x4,
Wt Step ups x6;

KettleBell Swings,

What it’s like to Compete.

And Why Everyone should do it!

Upon completion of our weightlifting meet this past weekend, I feel that this is a good time to talk about competing.
Competition, although contrary to what most people believe, is not about winning, but about performing your best. In the sport of weightlifting it is an even greater test of ones self as you are all alone on the platform. No one can help you.

That is a sobering thought especially for someone who has played team sports their whole life. I also had a good run as an individual on the handball court, but even with individual sports like that you have time to recover from a mistake during the game. On the platform you have one chance to get it right and only a split second to make it perfect. For me, the toughest part of this sport is not the heavy squats or hard work you put in before the competition, it’s stepping out onto that platform knowing that you only have one chance to successfully lift the weight that is going to put you on the podium or prove to be your Personal Record and will set the stage for your training for the next couple months.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the pressure. It is certainly something you have to get used to as the weights get heavier and you start reaching outside your comfort zone, but I think it is very rewarding to get up there and show everyone what you are made of regardless of your potential to win.

Stay posted for future weightlifting competitions. As a Strength and Conditioning participant, you can compete against your own weights and times. Blake’s assessment tests last week, are the perfect way to start tracking your progress throughout your training.

SL Box Jump x4,
FS x5;

3 sets:
15 Thrusters,
Rest 1 min