T Nation

Caffeine Side Effects


Hi, I train at home in my garage with an olympic set I got from a garage sale, welded up my own bench, chin bar etc. Everything I am doing is on a budget. I'm currently 215 lbs at 6'0 and about 12% bf.

Anyway, I was trying different things to get jazzed before workouts, I do get plenty of sleep but am at college and have a part time bar job and train after work.

I have tried stimulant stacks, but just can't warrant the cost, my budget goes on food and a few supplements like Grow!.

I have experimented with having several tea bags in a small pan and creating a kind of superbrew which gets me jazzed for the workout but gives me rapid heartbeat and I have trouble sleeping later. Same as with instant coffee. Strong enough to warrant a boost in energy and it keep me up.

I read some stuff about filter coffee being less prone to side effects but giving you the same boost. Is this right? I may invest in one of the caffetiere coffee presses (they are cheap) if this is correct.

Thanks in advance



Spike, order a bottle, you'll be a happy man.


Here's some advice:

I've had a bottle of 100 capsules (200mg each) that's lasted me for years. It cost me a whopping 7 dollars. You can buy it in bulk too and get it really cheap. If you're looking for just caffeine don't waste your money on coffee or your super duper ultra filtered tea concoction.

BTW 8oz of coffee is 120-180mg of caffeine, and a general serving of tea (I forget how much) is 60mg. Green Tea has half of that.

So either PM me and ask me for a link to a place where you can buy caffeine tabs cheaply or do a web search for it.


Caffeine (a xanthine) is what's doing the stimualtory duty in coffee, but tea contains another xanthine too called theophylline used sometimes is used as an asthma palliative. Tea doesn't contain loads oh theophylline in fact usually not much, but if you start creating these 'superbrews' by steeping a load of teabags in a pan you can end up with a larger dose of theophyline that you might care for.

I've had this discussion with Biochem bods before and stuff and they come out with lines like 'theophylline won't affect you at the dosages contained in tea'. But the point they miss is theophylline has a narrow therapeutic range and high interindividual pharmacokinetic variability. In English this means that it effects everyone differently.

If you are the sort of person who goes off on one after a few too many cups of tea you are more susceptible to the effects of theophylline and probably caffeine too.

Onto coffee, I have more bad news, instant coffee certainly gives me anxiety rather than freshly prepared coffees. I'm not sure exactly why though, but I think that the beans used in instant coffee are inconsistant and generally of lower quality than beans used for making filter coffee and contain undesirable residues from harvesting. I should really investigate this to find out.

Coffee presses are pretty much the worse way to prepare coffee. A perculator with paper coffee filters will take out the lumps of coffee solids but also will remove the oils present in coffee which contain alcohols called diterpenes.

A coffee press does NOT remove the oils and subsequently these diterpenes.

These diterpenes along with some other chemicals have the ability to raise levels of alanine aminotransferase.

Alanine aminotranferase levels in elevation point to stress on the hepatic (liver) system. They can as much as double if you regularly slurp 'pressed coffee' Secondary effects of diterpines are increases on LDL levels.

Filtered coffee does not have the same effect as the filter catches the oils and these diterpenes. So filtered coffee would be much better for you.

Better than that would be trying green tea, green tea whilst having more of a gentle stimulating effect than coffe also contains catechins which are potent antioxidants.

I do know quite a bit more about caffeine and xanthines and the effects and processing methods so can offer a bit more info if needed.


Thanks for the replies. In particular, Victor what is the best source in your opinion then, and how do you know all this anyway ?


Have you tried Power Drive? It is cheap, and for me, it works without side effects.


aint no side effects.. . one week I gave up coffee and put on an inch on my gut.. . Im never doing that again!


I used to drink pressed coffee and filtered coffee. I now feel much, much, much better after giving that up. Granted, I love the taste, aroma, and initial buzz but the adrenal fatigue was kicking my ass. I am inclined to state that if you need a "lift" pre-workout, you may need more inspiration


Pressed coffee seems to be not that good reading the thread. There is usually coffee going at my house, parents big coffee drinkers. I prefer taste of tea, I'm usually tired when I have to train because I've been studying then working.


Then that is when committment and self discipline come into play. Drink coffee, you'll stay awake much longer and be even more tired the next day. Stick with a schedule, drop the caffeine, and you'll adjust. Read the thread on ADD and pay attention to the parts where diet was adjusted to negate the effects of energy levels


I used to try and time my coffee intake with training but I gave up.. . I tend to have one in the few hours before training but thats just because I want one.. . Im under no impression that it does anything for my training. ..

btw I hear caffeine has a better effect on training intensity when its used by people who dont take it regularly.. . which rules me out. ..


You may be better off using something suggested here like Spike rather than just loading up on tea of coffee. I used to be a big fan of Ultimate Orange, but not sure if its available even the later version.

The first lot had Ma Huang in it (Ephedrine) and the later one had Sida Codifolia (Country Mallow) which was similar to Ephedrine but sourced from India. Funnily enough I never used it post workout much, I always used to mix some up before going out on the beer or something, liked to go out wired to the hilt.

Other ideas are taking some Tyrosine on an empty stomach or with carb powder, that would help and its relatively cheap.

You can get this stuff in the UK called, 'Chest Eze' which contains Ephedrine,Theophylline and Caffeine, not sure how they get away with selling it (as Ephedrine is class A drug her now like Amphetamine), but its supposedly for old giffers to clear their chests after a liftime of mining, seafaring, farming and smoking.