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Should I give up caffeine?

Original Post
Danny Poceta · · Calgary · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 61

Like most of you, I am super addicted to caffeine. It has been almost ten years since I went a single day without coffee, and I typically feel the headache comin on if I don't drink it within about an hour of waking up. But, I also LOVE coffee aside from the caffeine.

But sometimes I feel a little bad about being so dependent on a drug, even a fairly harmless one. I've always thought about what it would be like to try to detox from caffeine, and if it would even be a positive thing. and with the COVID stuff, I currently have no work, no climbing, and no obligations of any kind. This is probably (hopefully) the only time my life will be so open, so its hard to imagine a better time to try.

I'm curious to hear from people who have quite caffeine cold turkey and what it was like, if it affected your climbing, etc. Convince me to do it! or to not.

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,647

I have no experience quitting coffee, I just don’t drink it in the first place (a few times a year).

But I just wanted to say that right now may not be a good time. People often need distractions/redirecting when quitting, and sitting at home, with your coffee right there, and not much to do... that would be hard. 

J-- Kaiser · · Southern California · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 85

If you quit Caffeine cold turkey you should expect persistent headaches for about two or three days, with day one being the worst of it. 

Artem Vasilyev · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 125

Have you tried switching to methamphetamine? 

J-- Kaiser · · Southern California · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 85

If you stay physically active, caffeine withdraw is less noticeable.  

Wannabe Trad Daddy · · Nampa, ID · Joined Aug 2019 · Points: 0

You should could try it. I limit my caffeine intake due to anxiety so when I quit cold turkey there was quite a noticeable difference

jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 5

Yes cut down, dependence sucks. No reason you can't use in moderation for an occasional kick in the ass. 

Chuck D · · Dallas, TX · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 31

Recommend reading/listening to the Michael Pollan book "Caffeine", recently listened to it and its helped me develop a more healthy relationship with coffee/caffeine and honestly its made my life better.

If u don't want to read it, he basically recommends still using caffeine when you need it and not using it when u don't need it. He presents a lot of cool arguments for both sides of the argument that may cause you to come to a different conclusion though, so I definitely recommend giving it a read.

Gumby the White · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2019 · Points: 172

I personally can't imagine a world without waking up with caffeine or the sweet nector of coffee (I love the taste), nor do I want to. As long as I am not over doing it and it's not affecting my life/sleep I see absolutely no reason to quit.

That being said I always make sure I have a caffeine source if I am doing a long climb that could take longer than 24 hours and most of my friends who are animals in the mountains do the same.

Just my 2 cents.

mbb · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 0

I would ask, what is wrong with being dependent, as you say, on caffeine?  Coffee has been shown to be very healthy in moderation  (drink it black).  Caffeine is a performance enhancer, both physically and cognitively.  Coffee is easily available throughout the world. And it is delicious.  I can't imagine a good reason to quit unless it is for a specific health issue that is worsened by caffeine intake.  

Just my two cents... got to go make a coffee now.

Nick C · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 267
jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 5
mbb wrote: I would ask, what is wrong with being dependent, as you say, on caffeine?  Coffee has been shown to be very healthy in moderation  (drink it black).  Caffeine is a performance enhancer, both physically and cognitively.  Coffee is easily available throughout the world. And it is delicious.  I can't imagine a good reason to quit unless it is for a specific health issue that is worsened by caffeine intake.  

Just my two cents... got to go make a coffee now.

Not turning into a dysfunctional monster when you run out of Via packs. If you always carry way more than you need and/or the kind of climbing/other activities you're partaking in involve little risk of running out of caffeine/other civilized niceties then it matters less. 

Patrik · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 30

Being un-dependent on coffee and anything else (incl beer, whiskey, nicotine, chocolate, designer-bagels, ...) is actually a huge relief that gives lots of freedom. No matter where I am or where I go, I can always find food/drink that satisfies my need for staying alive. Give me a bag of carrots and a loaf of old bread and I'll be happy for a couple of days.

R 3 · · San Diego · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

Five-ish years ago I made the switch from 4 to 5 cups a day down to 1 or 2 a day of decaf. 

I'm happier for it. Still get to enjoy the flavor and warmth without the dehydration and heart palpitations. Withdrawal wasn't bad at all, the decaf still has about 10% of the caffeine of a normal cup and is enough to take the edge off. The other benefit is when I really need to stay up, a cup of regular coffee absolutely hits - I'm wide awake for hours. 

skik2000 · · Boulder · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 5

I quit for a month recently after being pretty obsessed over the last 5+ years.  The first week sucked from a physical stand point (headache, cranky, etc).  After that, the second week was still somewhat difficult just due to missing the habit of making and drinking it.  After that it was fairly easy.  It's crazy how fast the craving comes back when you re-introduce it.  I started by drinking it two days in a row and then skipping the third day.  That lasted maybe 7-10 days before I wanted it everyday.  My plan is to mainly stick to 1/day whereas before I was drinking 3-4/day.    

Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 331

Coffee is dangerous. PM me and I'll give you my address to send for proper disposal.

Zach Anatta · · Visalia, CA · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 0

Good question.
I quit drinking caffeine last year for about three months. There was an initial headache about three days in, and then I completely forgot about it.
When I next drank caffeine (a few cups of coffee over one day), I felt like my ass had been fired out of a cannon. I couldn't sleep at night. The rush lasted about two days after that, untl my body got reset at its old baseline (6+ cups a day).
Now I do about three cups before 3PM, and I'm feeling good.
Long story short, caffeine is more of a drug than people think. You're probably better off quitting it.

Ned Plimpton · · Salt Lake City · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 116

"A man doesn't go to drink coffee after climbing, coffee is integral part of the climbing."

— Wolfgang Güllich

PWZ · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0
jdejace wrote:

Not turning into a dysfunctional monster when you run out of Via packs

your experience in not having a cup vs mine sounds very different, and I'm an all day every day sorta guy.
dindolino32 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 25

I quit every time before I go do a big wall. I’m a heavy coffee drinker. All I do is limit to one cup and sip on it throughout the day. I do it for a week. Then I dilute it in half and do the same thing, or switch to tea and do a cup a day. Then green tea for a week. It’s pretty painless and find that I end up sleeping better, wake easier etc... after the wall, I maintain it for a while but eventually start up since it’s so damn tasty

James S · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 84

I used to be addicted to coffee. Now I only allow myself a cup or two when I go outdoor climbing. So, roughly 30 times a year.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

General Climbing
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