Make Coffee Work For You

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

While reading my dad’s Men’s Health I came across a rather off-hand comment in there that really struck home with me. While I rarely read the articles in Men’s Health, I do like their recap of nutrition studies and the small blurbs of information in the beginning of the magazine.

These blurbs often inspire blog post ideas and research to look into, so I find it very helpful. In the case of this off-hand comment, it was about coffee consumption. While I don’t recall who made the comment, it was simple but brilliant and made a lot of sense.

It said something to the effect of only using coffee in small bursts to help you get through your day. 8-12oz at a pop will provide you with plenty of caffeine to power through for hours. When you need another pick-me-up, another 8-12oz is all you need.

While seemingly simple, how many people actually only have 8-12oz in one sitting? How many people only get a small coffee at the drive though, in the cafeteria or at home? Most of us do the traditional American thing, if some is good more must be better!

The fact is that having 20oz of coffee will certainly provide you with more caffeine, but there comes a point of diminishing returns. Once you get past the 8-12oz mark, you are simply just making yourself more jittery and jacked up rather than alert and focused. And if you do this 2-3 times per day, the problems are just compounding!

The more coffee you drink, the more you will feel you need. Plus drinking a ton of coffee and caffeine can disrupt sleep patterns, decreasing sleep quality and increasing your need for coffee! It can be a vicious cycle.

Research shows you get the majority of coffee’s health benefits with the least amount of potential side affects with roughly 24oz per day. So three 8oz, or two 12oz servings would be perfect. Any more than that and you start to trend into the territory where excess coffee consumption tends to cause some issues.

Have small bursts of coffee to get you going and enjoy its health benefits without going overboard. Plus you will save money. This will also allow you to get in more tea during the day. It’s a win win win.

In my mind this set up will allow a nice 12oz of coffee at breakfast, say 5:30am. Then another 12oz in the mid-morning, say 9:30am. Well now you are carried through into the afternoon, unfortunately this is where some people can get a little sleepy. Unless you absolutely are crushed, I recommend against coffee in the afternoon, as that much caffeine then can interrupt sleep patterns.

Instead you can have a delicious cup of green tea after lunch at 1:00pm, which has the added bonus of keeping you satisfied for an increased amount of time (another tidbit picked up from MH), preventing snacking before dinner. Then another green tea at 3:30 or 4:00pm to finish out the day strong.

While green tea does have some caffeine to help perk you up, it also contains calming elements like L-theanine which will help you focus, and won’t disrupt your sleep patterns like coffee will. Not too mention its plethora of other health benefits.

Now you get the best of both worlds with a smart and efficient method for increased energy and focus. Let me know what you think!

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Posted on August 24th, 2011 by Brian St. Pierre


  1. Bethany Rae Saindon Says:

    My doctor, just today, had me remove caffeine from my diet completely. And last week, I began taking L-theanine supplements as well.

    I always enjoy reading your blog,

    Hope you are well,


  2. SB Says:

    Good thought! what numbers do you have on the caffeine content of green tea? how does it compare to coffee?

  3. Coach’s Corner: Getting Ready For LB(A)NC in October | Mad Dawg School of Fitness Says:

    [...] is another good post regarding coffee and green tea. Quitting or reducing coffee is not part of the October LB(A)NC, but [...]

  4. Articles. « Killsession Musings Says:

    [...] Make Coffee Work For You [...]

  5. Sleep – Are your athletes getting enough of it? by Joe Giandonato, MS. CSCS Says:

    [...] Limit your consumption of caffeinated beverages throughout the day. A couple of months ago, Brian St. Pierre, formerly of Cressey Performance, broke down how to manage your caffeine intake during a normal day. Excess caffeine and ingesting it too far along in the day can alter your sleep patterns. Research suggests you should avoid cease all caffeine consumption six hours prior to bedtime. Check the blog post here. [...]

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