Now that we’ve gone over why you should or shouldn’t quit caffeine..let’s go ahead and provide you with the strategies to wean yourself off that substance. Keep in mind this is the bodybuilder’s guide…so some of these may not apply. Make sure to check out the end as well on how to heal the adrenal glands after you’ve cut out the caffeine.
1. Substitute your Pre-Workout for Caffeine Free Substances
If you’re like me, modern advertising had you addicted to pre-workouts before you knew better. Things like NO-Xplode, Jack3d, MP Assault have boat loads of caffeine in them. Eventually, you’ll become so used to these preworkouts you can hardly feel them. In addition, you might be consuming soda/coffee/other caffeine laced substances on the side which will only push your tolerance higher.
Fear not, there’s a way to wean yourself off these preworkouts without losing some of the effects that you crave!. Make a switch to a caffeine free one.
- Dymatize Xpand
I haven’t tried all of these, but from the two that I’ve tried, Hemavol was fantastic and if you like the convenience of pill-form then nitrix does a great job as well. If you don’t like pre-workouts because of the price, but still want a pump try combining Armatine, Ctirullin Malate, Beta alanine, and or Glycerol for a cheap substitute.
Granted, you’re not going to feel as much of a “buzz” from these. You’re also not going to feel as much of a rush. This is the whole point. A lot of times drug addicts are addicted to a substance specifically for that instant effect. It’s the reason methadone for heroine addicts is effective…it removed the rush, but still had the same effects. Obviously, caffeine isn’t even in the same ballpark, but you get the idea.
2. Wean yourself off the caffeine slowly
This one is a bit trickier. Another issue I had was energy drinks. I told myself that I didn’t drink soda’s, but for some reason I didn’t count energy drinks within that same spectrum. Energy drinks contain extremely high doses of caffeine and the rush is almost as instant as a pre-workout drink. By stopping energy drinks you’re going to save yourself a ton of money and also lower your caffeine tolerance. Here’s how to do it.
- First, track your actual energy drink/caffeine consumption. These two are interchangeable. Track coffee/soda intake/energy drinks/whatever you take that has caffeine.
- Second, reduce your consumption to 1-2 a day and make the switch to a caffeine free pre-workout if you hadn’t already.
- Third, substitute your energy drinks for a bottle of soda like pepsi that contains caffeine, but in a lesser dosage.
- Fourth, Slowly make the transition to smaller can soda.
- Fifth, Eventually switch over to a caffeine free soda that will still TASTE like you’re getting the caffeine. I prefer A & W diet root beer.
- Finally, Stop drinking soda.
I know, I know. Doesn’t sound that complicated or scientific, but this is how I did it. I was regularly taking in about 2-3 energy drinks a day and then adding a pre-workout when I got home. My general anxiety levels were THROUGH THE ROOF. I swear my TMJ had flared up so bad I could barely think, but I was super addicted to the rush of caffeine. I slowly started transitioning to full bottles of soda and then to can soda…then onward to caffeine free soda. It helped kick the habit. If you’re a coffee addict just do the same thing I mentioned, but in coffee form. Track consumption, shrink your coffee mug (buy a new one that isn’t as big), switch to decaf or a blend of decaf until you make it to decaf entirely.
3. Switch over to a caffeine PILL
The primary addiction of caffeine comes from that abrupt “I’m super awake” feeling you get when you drink it. Take away the rush and we lose half the problem. I bought some caffeine pills when I first started cutting caffeine that worked WONDERS for me. However, because I already had begun to cut caffeine my tolerance was so low it was a step in the wrong direction, but perfect for those just beginning their journey.
Here’s the one that I used.
Another great benefit of using the pill is that you can really control your dosage of caffeine. You can break off half if you think 1 is too much…or take multiple if your tolerance is high and then work your way down to none.
4. Drink 16 oz. of water as soon as you wake up
In the morning you’re dehyrated as result of going 7+ hours without a drink. Drink a glass of water the second you wake-up or during your morning shower and you’ll find yourself in a far better mood. I wasn’t able to find a good study to summarize the effect, but just give it a shot and you’ll see. In addition, a study by some German Scientists showed that drinking 16 oz. boosts your metabolism by 24 percent for 90 minutes afterward. Could potentially help you burn some fat as a welcome side-effect.
5. Calculate the cost of your addiction
Sitting down and writing out how much I was spending on caffeine was eye opening. Pre workout: $40 a month. Energy drinks average $4 dollars a day x 7 days a week x 4 weeks = $112. Caffeine pills, sodas, and anything else on the go only added to that cost. I’d say it was a welcome $120 dollar boost to my bank account by quitting caffeine. Try it yourself…coffee, sodas, energy drinks, and pre-workouts ain’t cheap.
Hopefully these tips help you kick the caffeine to the curb. Go ahead and accept that there will be set backs. You may accidentaly drink that vodka redbull late at night or just need a pick me up. Keep trucking a long and even if you do fail once or twice don’t give up entirely, get right back into the routine. You’ll sleep better, feel better, and save a ton of cash.
One final recommedation. Get some adrenal support vitamins.
Your body will thank you SO MUCH for taking some adrenal support. Try finding some in your local vitamin or supplement store. You will literally feel better within a week.
Learn more about adrenal fatique as a result of caffeine:
This book is phenomenal for teaching your more about the stress and anxiety problems that caffeine causes.