I Take My Performance Enhancing Drugs Black
Whether or not you’re a sports fan, it’s hard to ignore the massive media attention of performance enhancing substances and athletes. For many people, performance-enhancing drugs are often how certain athletes are remembered.
But is that really fair? Sure, rules are rules, and if an athlete breaks them they should pay the consequences. But too often I think the argument is one-sided.
Former competitive cyclist Lance Armstrong has recently been stripped of 14 years of accomplishments, including his record seven wins of the Tour De France for allegations of using illegal performance-enhancing substances.
It is worth noting that Armstrong has never tested positive for an illegal substance, nor has he admitted to using them. He and a few others will only know whether or not he, in fact, cheated.
That being said, every day thousands of Americans start off their day with the worlds’ most popular performance-enhancing drug – caffeine – and no one bats an eye.
Imagine the increase in headaches and decrease in productivity America would experience if suddenly we couldn’t obtain this powerful substance. Caffeine has become so engrained in our society that we do not see it as performance-enhancing, but that’s exactly what it is, the 9 to 5ers’ form of steroids.
Let’s not forget the positive effects that many of these allegedly enhanced athletes have on our society. In the case of Armstrong, his Livestrong Foundation has raised nearly $500 million for those affected by cancer and has undoubtedly served as inspiration to many different people.
Obviously, caffeine, anabolic steroids, blood doping, etc. are incredibly different in respect to their effects on the body, but the goals of each individual is identical – to perform better at their jobs.
Like many other nutrients or substances, caffeine falls in line with its huge misunderstanding by the general public, typically, with two extreme sides. One side swears it is the cause of all the world’s problems and the other chugs energy drinks like they’re water and think it gives them special powers. And like most topics in nutrition, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Most people, especially college students, who consume caffeine do it for the increase in alertness and higher energy levels. Why? Because it works! Although sometimes we indirectly consume caffeine by choosing our favorite vices, such as a delicious pumpkin spice flavored treat or some elegant dark chocolate. So watch out for the hidden calories.
With caffeine there is a tolerance build up, which means you’ll have to consume more and more to get the same effect. This can be limited to some degree by using caffeine in moderation. So in short, the less often you consume caffeine the more effective it’ll be when you do. Which may come in handy after you decided to play Halo all weekend instead of study for that Monday morning quiz.
Acutely, caffeine can slightly aid in fat loss by increasing overall caloric expenditure. One cup of coffee or soda yields 60-100mg of caffeine. Caloric expenditure could increase roughly 100 calories a day when 500mg is consumed. This will fluctuate slightly on body size.
Long-term research has been inconsistent, but overall has trended towards habitual coffee/caffeine intake being beneficial when used in moderation. Coffee may contain separate substances beneficial to one’s health. Once again no secrets – caffeine isn’t the big bad wolf and could probably help you take better notes during those 8 a.m. classes we all love. Cheers!