Coffee, Caffeine & Fitness

Sitting in Black Sheep Coffee

When it comes to fitness, there is no denying that coffee plays a vital role in almost everything I do. When I’m cycling, my rides often begin with a coffee… they have a coffee shop interlude and are fuelled on the go with caffeine enhanced snacks. When I do long distance running (half marathons for me), I also fuel the run itself with my favourite shot bloks that contain caffeine. And on the odd occasion that I’m feeling low in energy before a workout, I will often use a caffeinated pre-workout but I tend not to use caffeine for my very early starts.

Generally,  I don’t have an addictive personality but I try to stick to having no more than one caffeinated product per day as well as not having caffeine every single day of the week. I kinda think that the moderation rule helps the caffeine to be more effective when I actually do consume it. Moderation is also important for me as caffeine limits the absorption of iron, and as someone who suffers periodically with anaemia, I need all the iron I can get!

In a talk at the Running Awards (April 2018) from the brand TrueStart Coffee, we were told that the levels of caffeine in coffee can vary from as low as 20mg all the way up 500mg in one single serving. And this can happen even if you use the same branded product… even the same jar… maybe this explains why sometimes your cup of java just does nothing for you when other times it has you swinging from the ceiling?? …I just tried a sample of TrueStart, which has a measured caffeine content of 95mg per serving, from my goody bag and I have no complaints!

How does caffeine affect you, according to your DNA?

When it comes to drinking coffee or tea, some people can drink several cups with little effect and others get jittery after one cup says myDNA. They created a personalised caffeine report for me after I submitted a mouth swab for analysis. According to the report, I am a normal metaboliser which means that about 45 minutes after drinking caffeine I will feel more energetic and alert. For most people with my results, the kick from caffeine may last 6-8 hours.

Did you know that it’s possible to speed up the rate that you metabolise caffeine? You can do this with some natural substances known as inducers. However, this only works if you have a particular gene variation (which I do not have). Some things that can speed up the metabolism of caffeine are: cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, bok choy, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, horseradish, turnips, watercress, wasabi); tobacco smoke; certain drugs; charcoal-grilled meat.

For some reason, the caffeine conversation always fascinates me especially when it comes to being active and your health. It’s even more fascinating to know that you’re born with specific DNA that affects how caffeine works for you…

Are you a coffee / caffeine fan?! 



p.s myDNA provided my reports free of charge with no requirements to share whatsoever but it was a good fit for this little post about caffeine, eh? You know me, all thoughts and opinions, as ever, are very much my own! ;)


  1. April 23, 2018 / 20:16

    I definitely love my coffee! I won’t make any before working out if I’m sweating first thing in the morning, but it has to happen shortly thereafter, for sure.

    • Elle
      May 3, 2018 / 20:04

      Same here… especially if I am teaching! Need my brain to function well rather than running off on caffeine lol

  2. April 23, 2018 / 15:46

    That is really interesting!! I really love coffee but I know that if I have any caffeine (other than what’s in chocolate or weak green tea) after about 2pm sleep won’t be my friend. So I keep coffee before noon and any other caffeine before 2 except when I know I’ll be up late.

    • Elle
      May 3, 2018 / 20:05

      oh wow, 2pm is quite early! At least you know your body now though! …also, I forgot that chocolate naturally contains some caffeine!

  3. April 23, 2018 / 12:16

    This is really fascinating! I am definitely a caffeine addict. I used to drink A LOT more than I do now, and it was to the point that I would get so jittery from it (plus having an anxiety disorder doesn’t help! lol). I’ve toned down the amount drastically, for my own good. But definitely can’t go without my morning coffee!

    xx Lauren

  4. April 23, 2018 / 11:58

    I absolutely love coffee (black, no sugar)! I have a couple a day, usually in the morning. I did try to give it up a while back, but I was unbelievably cranky :S

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