From my personal experience, caffeine intake right before exercise affects exercising in the following ways:
- heart beat much faster than normal
- weakness in limbs— especially if you drink Ceylon tea prior to exercising
- sometimes headache
The signs are felt more strongly especially if the caffeine dosage is high, for example in latte or expresso. I felt these signs even though I am so used to caffeine that I have no problem sleeping even right after a latte from Starbucks at night.
And if you are tea drinker (the teh tarik or Ceylon tea like Lipton, Boh or Ahmad tea), you may notice that after drinking the tea, your limbs seemed to have no energy. In Chinese medicine, Ceylon tea is believed to be very cooling and high intake may result arthritis in later years. This is because the effects goes straight to the bones, and long term intake is detrimental, especially for women. However, societies that incorporate lots of spices in their diets such as in Indian and Malay food would not show such effects because spices, being heaty in nature require the counteract effect. In Chinese diets, which does not consist of much spicy food, if tea alone is being taken, it may cost element imbalance in the body.
I had tried a few times where I was running in the treadmill after drinking a cup of 3-in-1 Lipton and found that my limbs felt heavier and that I had less energy. I have exercised long enough to know that it is not due to overtraining or muscle sprains.
Caffeine also have a direutic effect, ie it draws water out from your body. If you are exercising, staying hydrated is very important. Therefore, you really need to drink lots of water (even if it means more visits to the washroom) especially after a cup of coffee or tea.
If you notice the following symthoms in you, cutting down your caffeine intake and drink lots of water would be the best:
- knee or lower back pain
- pain at the back of the waist area, around the kidneys, especially after drinking a cup of latte
- heart palpatations
- painful menstrual cramps (strictly do not take tea few days before, during and after your periods)
- gastric/stomach pains/acid reflux
- jittery feelings, or hands that jitters
Nowadays I learn to be in touch with my body and I am well aware that taking caffeine weakens my body. It is very clear when I perform vigorous cardio exercise- and that if I take proper food (like Ensure drink, apple, bananas) prior to workouts, my energy levels are higher. But if I take coffee, tea, cookies, cake, rice, heavy meal, oily food, white bread, junk food, I would need to push my body to work harder because my limbs felt heavier and my energy levels are lower.