Every athlete strives to be better every time. Whether that is about breaking personal records or improving form, athletes try to learn and relearn as much as they can about their chosen path. They read up, get into the latest trends, and try to supplement their active lifestyle with good sleep, a healthy diet, and a range of supplements to boost their game.
For thousands of years, coffee has been used in many ways: initially as an aphrodisiac and a bean for the privileged, it has evolved into being a morning habit, a multi-million industry, a source of livelihood, and, in many ways, a means of exploitation for developing countries.
As an athlete, drinking coffee first thing in the morning seems to be a good option if I’m looking for that extra boost when it comes to training and competitions. For years, I’ve been a coffee addict. Every place I go, I make sure I pack in my rubber shoes, bananas, shades, and, my 3-in-1 coffee as it is more convenient than the smoother and bolder brewed for my very active lifestyle. Not only does it give me that edge physically and mentally; it also regularizes my digestive and bowel habits, freshening me further before going for my morning training.
There were times when I’d take three to five cups a day as I personally thought I needed. When I have to finish my work and I have to rush it over, I drink coffee. When I’m sleepy from last night’s insomnia from drinking coffee late in the afternoon, I drink coffee. When I’m flushed out and soaked up in the afternoon due to lack of sleep and too much coffee in the morning, I drink coffee. When I want to hang out with my family and friends, we go to a local coffee shop and drink iced coffee. When I visit a home or an office, I am offered coffee and I can’t resist the urge of drinking it. Coffee, it seems, has occupied a great part of my life.
Because I was young, active and healthy, I thought I could do anything possible. I was pushing myself to the limit while trying to gain my ground in another newly found career after graduation. Yes, I was sleeping and waking up early, getting my eight hours of sleep a day, eating very healthy, and avoiding alcohol and all those vices. But I had this one vice I failed to think of as a vice: coffee.
After training so hard to give it a go for my first marathon on July, and after having overloaded myself with years of coffee addiction, my adrenals finally bogged down and lost their sanity. In an instant, I became hypothyroid. It was the complete anti-thesis of my years of active lifestyle: I gained 10 pounds in two days even if I lost my appetite, I couldn’t wake up in the morning without nausea, I couldn’t even walk 500 meters without feeling tired, and I became irritable, lethargic, insensitive and depressed. The suddenness of everything frustrated me a lot, finding myself crying in the wee hours of the morning. Everything that I have painstakingly worked for crippled down in a matter of days.
Lab tests have shown my adrenals became so much used up because of too much coffee. Having an active lifestyle is downright fine and commendable; but, pairing this up with adrenal-exhausting beans can certainly spell disaster. It’s ironic that 21st century populations are trying to cope up with the demands of life with coffee, all the while putting themselves in a cycle that they cannot get out of unless they cut the habit. People today drink coffee to boost themselves from lack of sleep from yesterday’s caffeine; and they drink coffee to awaken themselves from too much adrenal exhaustion from their morning cup. It’s an alarming trend we all have to be aware about.
It’s been two months and I haven’t tasted caffeine: whether that’s from a cup, a candy, chocolate, or an energy gel. And I can tell all the difference. I have now lost weight, gained my endurance, and is now back in training. My skin has cleared up, I have lost my perennial problem of too much acne, and I am now sleeping better, and waking up more alive. It’s been two months and without coffee, I have improved my running form and am now training for my first marathon.
I am finally free from addiction!