Hello fellow climbers! Welcome back to another blog post. Today I wanted to focus on a topic that we have talked to many climbers about: caffeine before climbing. Is it beneficial or not worth the risk? Let's dive in!
Caffeine before climbing. Is it a good idea?
This is a very in depth topic, but to give the short version in my opinion no. Caffeine has a variety of uses and can be beneficial at specific times in your day, but before climbing or training, I don't believe is one of them. The health concerns associated with high caffeine consumption are just not worth it for the minuscule benefits it has. There are better and healthier options for energy. Don't believe me? Well lets dive in and take a look together!
Let's say you have to drive a long distance and need a stimulant to keep you awake, or you need a pick me up in the morning to get your day going, these are great uses for caffeine and can be very beneficial to your day. After doing some research I came across studies that show consumption of a small dosage of caffeine can benefit performance, but there are a few questions we have to ask when reading these studies.
- Who funded the study?
- At what point in the day did the study take place?
- How much caffeine were they consuming?
- What type of activity were they engaged in?
You may not be able to get all of this information since a lot of it isn't always mentioned or easily accessible. Which can make it difficult to determine if caffeine is something you want to consume before climbing.
Back in the day, before I knew any better, I would drink a cup of coffee to give me that kick in the pants I needed to get to the gym. I know many people use this method. Sometimes this worked, but most times it left me feeling drained and shaky. This was especially present when I tried more concentrated sources of caffeine, like those found in most pre-workouts.
The negative side effects of caffeine
Caffeine has a variety of side effects that you may already know about:, headaches, dehydration, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, jitters, crash etc. However, there are some that you may not already know about.
Health Canada recognizes the negative side effects caffeine has on an athletes’ health within their supplement regulations. They will not allow supplement manufacturers to make the claim "aids in the maintenance of good health" if the manufacturer includes caffeine in their formula. They also require supplement manufacturers to put the following caution and warning on their label if the supplement contains caffeine with a daily recommended dosage of 200mg or more of caffeine.
"Caffeine has been shown to reduce blood flow to the heart muscle during exercise which might lead to cardiovascular complications such as chest pain, and irregular heartbeat even in healthy individuals. If those symptoms occur, stop use and consult a healthcare practitioner//health care provider/health care professional/doctor/ physician." Here is a link to Health Canada’s website for you to learn more about their regulations.
Now you may be thinking "this is only in products containing 200mg or more of caffeine per day”, but remember this is a daily amount and you might not realize how much caffeine you are actually consuming on a daily basis.
A cup of coffee will run you anywhere from 80mg of caffeine to 100mg of caffeine. A bottle of Coke has roughly 40mg of caffeine. Most pre-workouts contain anywhere between 150mg to 500mg of caffeine!
The above claim we referenced is required by Health Canada if a supplement contains 200mg of caffeine or more per day. For example, if one (1) serving has 150mg of caffeine and the manufacturer recommends two (2) servings per day or more, that is 300mg of caffeine! This amount of caffeine is well into the range of possible heart complications EVEN IN HEALTHY INDIVIDUALS! Considering all the other sources of caffeine you had in that day, it's just too dangerous.
When we came across this in our research, I vowed to never add caffeine to our products no matter what. I will not put a person’s health in danger. We are here to provide our community a better, healthier option, not put their health at risk!
Why we decided to stay away from caffeine
We don't use caffeine in our Climber Pre-Workout+ and it is for the above health concerns as well as the below points;
- Caffeine is a stimulant and does nothing to help the body and muscles create and develop energy. It basically stimulates the nervous system, like a starter of a car, but if there is no gas in the tank the car won't go very far!
- It only provides temporary energy in the form of a huge spike and a huge "crash" after the effects wear off. Every claim on a Canadian manufactured supplement must say it "temporarily does something" Temporarily being the key word.
- Caffeine can create a "cloudy" mind and give you the "jitters", neither are good for a sport like climbing which requires you to problem solve and have a calm, focused mindset.
- Caffeine dehydrates your body, which can lead to cramping and make you more susceptible to finger injuries.
- It's cheap. Other pre-workout manufactures use caffeine because it is the cheapest ingredient to add. As a stimulant, it is used to make you think something is working. In reality though, the only thing that is working is the caffeine.
Caffeine is sometimes necessary in our everyday lives. With work, school, travelling, and just the hustle and bustle of our day. Consuming a cup of coffee or two can help us get through the day, but when it comes to your health and performance, consuming caffeine, especially in large quantities before exercise, can have negative side effects on your body and mind that are just not worth it.
I created this post because I wanted to share some of the knowledge I have acquired while on the journey to develop our product. I want to ensure our community knows the risks associated with consuming certain products and if you decide to buy one of these products at least you are informed and can make an educated decision.
Please read the labels of any product you are looking into and please make sure you are aware of how much caffeine you will be consuming daily. There are many more reported side effects of using caffeine that we didn't mention here and I encourage everyone to do a little of their own research before deciding to buy a product containing caffeine.
Your health needs to be your number one concern, because if you are unhealthy, no training tool, pair of shoes, or training program will help you. You have to start at the core, your health!
Thank you so much for reading and I hope this little look into caffeine and its effects will help you when deciding to buy your next product. Let me know what you thought about the blog post and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask below!
“NutriClimb is dedicated to helping climbers be the best they can be and perform their best every time. Through information, motivation, and high quality great tasting products. Join us on a journey to better performance!”