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Is a caffeine habit really so sinful? This is how to check whether your intake is boiling over
Cool your boots, Lewis. As vices go, a taste for the bean isn’t quite up there with a crystal meth habit, so don’t be too quick to ditch your double espresso. Instead, examine why you might be using caffeine as a prop. If it’s the only thing keeping you alive after repeated nights of missed sleep, we’d advise attending to the source of the problem (our feature “How the World Forgot to Sleep” on page 70 is a good place to start). But if, like many men who take their fitness seriously, you simply enjoy the taste and use it in place of less salubrious vices, you probably have nothing to worry about.
In fact, by cutting out caffeine altogether, you could be doing your workouts a disservice. “A pre-training coffee is proven to improve strength, agility and even lower your perceived effort,” says performance nutritionist Ben Coomber. “However, drinking it all day can diminish your caffeine sensitivity over time, which negates its performance benefits.” It also keeps your body in a continuous state of “fight or flight”, depleting your adrenal glands. So, rather than steadily draining a cafetière over the course of your nine to five, use it wisely and time your hit ahead of your HIIT.
The government recommends a daily caffeine limit of 400mg – around four cups. For a pre-workout stimulant, Coomber advises 100-400mg. Should you exceed this, rein in the shakes with our anxiety-curbing hacks ( right).