Using Caffeine to Optimize Mental & Physical Performance | Episode 101

December 13, 2022

Using Caffeine to Optimize Mental & Physical Performance | Episode 101

Topics of Interest

From 1:04:20 onwards

  • Delay Caffeine 90-120 minutes after waking up
    • Has immediate effects but also has a cascade effect that lead to better sleep and more wakefulness the next night and next day.

If you are somebody that likes to do very intense exercises:

  • It would make sense to ingest your caffeine before hand (not a problem)
  • Using caffeine and exercise will increase the intensity of the afternoon fatigue
    • For some people that's not a problem to take a nap or deep rest.

Getting out to that 90-120 minutes can be very difficult:

  • Push out/delay your coffee in smaller incrememnts (20 minutes at a time)
  • Drink half of your caffeine and then drink the rest an hour later.
  • e.g If you drink a coffee at 8am (100mg) that about 25% of that caffeine action will still be present at 8:00pm that night.

If you ingest caffeine on an empty stomach that will increase the potency of it. That will also tend to increase the level of jitteriness that caffeine has on your system.

  • Take 100mg of Theanine as a way to offset that jitteriness.
    • Some energy drinks and caffeine manufactures are starting to put it in their drinks as a way of getting people to consume more.
  • tldr; If you want a more potent effect of caffeine, take it on an empty stomach

If you're someone who regularly ingests caffeine, defined as "If you've taken caffeine everyday for past 2 weeks, you're a regular consumer of caffeine". "2 and 4 times per week then you are not a regular consumer of caffeine, you're an intermittent".

  • The performance benefits of caffeine for regular consumers will be most beneficial if you have 2-3 days off of caffeine

Caffeine is a diuretic and excretes sodium

  • Make sure you consume at least an equal amount of water in volume (if you can add a pinch of salt or an electrolyte that's beneficial)

Ingestion of caffeine can increase sex hormone bonding globulin and can slightly reduce overall levels of testosterone and estrogen


  • Not a good idea to ingest just prior to sleep if you're prone to nightmares/sleep walking etc...
  • Present in green tea
  • Non-protein amino acid
  • Tends to stimulate the glutamate and glutamine pathways and has alot of effects on the nervous system
  • General effect is to compete for the receptors for certain neurotransmitters, (all excitatory neurotransmitters like glutamate)
  • Tends to reduce our overall levels of alertness (blunt our excitatory pro-alertness actions)
  • 200-400mg to offset the jitteriness of caffeine
  • Upto 900mg can be safe (but that's a very high amount)
  • Daytime consumption: 17 days of ingesting Theanine at 200-400mg 1-3 times per day can reduce depression and anxiety
  • Can increase quality, duration, and depth of sleep
  • Don't need to take Theanine every time you ingest caffeine. It lasts much longer after ingestion

Myths around caffeine

  • It can cause osteoporosis
    • There is a relationship between calcium and osteoporosis (reductions in bone density) and caffeine can extract calcium from certain tissues
    • There is no direct connection between caffeine and osteoporosis (provided people are getting enough calcium through their diet).
  • Caffeine will reduce testosterone levels (or estrogen levels)
    • studies are difficult to do as most adults consume caffeine
    • There are no increases or decreased in testosterone in men and women with the consumption of caffeine
  • Caffeine will increase testosterone or estrogen levels
    • studies are difficult to do as most adults consume caffeine
    • There are no increases or decreased in testosterone in men and women with the consumption of caffeine


Overall Levels of Mood and Mental Health

  • 2019 paper - Psychiatryresearch inverse association between caffeine intake and depressive symptoms in US adults.
    • Caffeine Psychostimulant properties appear to protect against depressive symptoms (additional studies are needed)
    • Don't consider caffeine a treatment (at least on it's own)

Sleep and Caffeine

  • Avoid caffeine intake in the 12 hours prior to sleep
    • If you cant do 12 hours, try and limit as much as 8-12 hours before sleep.
    • Slow-wave sleep (mundane dreams), also the sleep that's associated for growth-hormone release and is also critically attached to your immume system.
  • Try and restrict caffeine intake to before noon (12)
  • Try and limit afternoon caffeine
  • Quarter-life of caffeine is 12 hours (25% of it's effects will still be present at midnight)

Caffeine and Positive Affects on Performance -1:31:40

  • Across the board, caffeine intake at a level of 1-3mg per kg of bodyweight improves reaction time
    • Reduces the amount of time to take a physical action or to answer a question correctly with a verbal response
  • It can also improve coordiation
  • It can also improve memory
  • It can also improve mood
  • It can also improve alertness
  • It can also increase power output
  • It can also increase endurance and overall feelings of wellbeing during exercise and exertion

Caffeine is an incredible performance enhancing tool.

The way in which caffeine is taken is important

  • Because 90% of adults take caffeine, it can be hard to find control studies

Caffeine, Performance, and Menstrual Cycle

  • 2 studies
    • Caffeine consumption and menstrual function
    • 2020 - Ergogenic effects of caffeine on peak aerobic cycling power during the menstrual cycle
      • Caffeine increased peak cycling power in the early phillicular, pre-ovulatory, and gludial phases of the menstrual cycle
    • Caffeine increases performance regardless of the phase of the menstrual cycle

Tool: Memory and Caffeine Timing: Adrenaline and Cold Exposure

  • Spiking your adrenaline AFTER your learning can greatly increase memory retention for the material you're trying to learn.
  • Deliberate cold exposure (cold shower, ice baths)
  • Spike your adrenaline by using caffeine AFTER sitting down to learn something
  • WHY: Increases in the catecholamines tend to lock in memories in preceeded the spike.

Caffeine & Naps [01:54:08]

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