The most popular beverage (part 2)

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Did you know that legendary boxer Mike Tyson never had a cup of coffee in his life? Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting to totally stop drinking coffee. However, it would be good to know and understand some health consequences that coffee may lead to, and as always make your own decision. 

As I mentioned in my previous column, coffee can be addictive and harmful for some people. Caffeine begins to work as soon as 10 minutes after consumption and has a half-life of about 3 to 5 hours — which means that after that time half of the caffeine has been metabolized by the liver. Caffeine’s effectiveness and how long it stays in the system varies greatly among individuals but typically takes about 24 hours to be completely eliminated from the body.

On the other hand, used at correct time and dose it can be helpful. For example, I am a slow metabolizer which means that because of my genetic profile I tend to digest coffee very slowly. This can cause sleep disturbance, irritability and tiredness especially if I consume more than one cup. So if you consume two cups of coffee or other caffeinated beverages and your focus and performance actually declines then probably you are a slow metabolizer too. Some people show different side effects such as being able to sleep immediately after coffee, which is also a sign that you are a slow metabolizer. Confusing, isn’t it? 

Reasons why sometimes drinking coffee can make you feel sleepy include caffeine blocking the adenosine receptors that promote sleep, dehydration that coffee can cause, sugar crashes particularly if the coffee is sweetened, contamination from mycotoxins, stress from caffeine stimulation, and symptoms from caffeine withdrawal. To counteract this sleepy feeling, consider moderating your caffeine intake and ensure you stay hydrated. Avoid adding sugar to your coffee, of course try to manage stress levels, and if you’re planning to reduce caffeine consumption then do so gradually to lessen the withdrawal effects.

Of course there is never only a single reason for side effects. Over time, regular consumption of caffeine can lead to increased tolerance which means that the stimulant effects of caffeine diminish as the body becomes more accustomed to it. Then, caffeine will have a less pronounced effect on alertness. But genetic differences can also affect how quickly a person metabolizes caffeine, and those with faster caffeine metabolism can drink coffee and experience diminished effects more quickly than those who metabolize it slowly. Thus, fast metabolizers may not feel the stimulating effects as intensely or for as long, allowing them to sleep soon after consuming caffeine. The sensitivity to caffeine also varies greatly among individuals. Those with low sensitivity might not experience the same wakefulness or alertness that others do, making it easier for them to sleep after consumption.

The body’s internal clock can influence how caffeine affects us too. For some, consuming caffeine close to their normal bedtime might not disrupt their sleep pattern significantly, especially if they are used to consuming caffeine at that time. In some cases, stimulants like caffeine can have a paradoxical calming effect, particularly in individuals with ADHD or other neurological conditions where stimulants help to manage hyperactivity and promote focus. This can actually then make falling asleep easier.

Recognizing a coffee addiction, or more specifically a caffeine dependency, involves noticing the physical and psychological signs that suggest you might be overly reliant on caffeine. If you find yourself consuming increasing amounts of coffee to feel its effects, this might be a sign of building tolerance which in turn is a sign of addiction.

If you rely on coffee to perform daily tasks and feel unable to function without it, it could indicate dependency. One of the clearest signs of caffeine addiction is the presence of withdrawal symptoms when you don’t consume it. Common symptoms include headache, fatigue, irritability, depressed mood, and difficulty concentrating. Experiencing strong desires or cravings for coffee can be another sign of dependency and often going over the limit of what you planned to drink in terms of coffee can indicate a lack of control over its use. If this sounds like it could apply to you then as an experiment try going without it for a little while, even just waiting a few extra hours at the start of your day before drinking your first cup and see how you feel. You may be surprised!

In part 3 of this series I will talk about some practical applications if you wish to quit or reduce your coffee intake, as well as possible plant toxicity.

References:

Balance Coffee. “Coffee Consumption Statistics (Simple Stats For Journalists)”. https://balancecoffee.co.uk/blogs/blog/global-coffee-consumption-statistics

Food and Beverage Insider. “Coffee consumption hits record high in US”. https://www.foodbeverageinsider.com/beverage-development/coffee-consumption-hits-record-high-in-us

NCA. “NCA releases Atlas of American Coffee “. https://www.ncausa.org/newsroom/nca-releases-atlas-of-american-coffee

Alcohol and Drug Foundation. “What is caffeine?”. https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/caffeine/

Kids Health. “Caffeine”. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/child-caffeine.html

European Food Safety Authority. “Scientific Opinion on the safety of caffeine”. https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4102

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. “Caffeine and bone loss in healthy postmenopausal women”. https://ajcn.nutrition.org/article/S0002-9165(23)18480-2/abstract

AmeriSleep. “Six Reasons Coffee Can Make You Sleepy”. https://amerisleep.com/blog/coffee-makes-me-sleepy/

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competition history

Ayda competes regularly in fitness competitions and is currently preparing for the 2023 North American championships.

NPC North American Championships, 2022
NPC North American Championships, 2022
NPC North American Championships, 2022
CPA Toronto, 2021

You’ve probably heard so many people say “I love what I do”, BUT in my case I can truly say it from my heart. I’ve competed in sports all my life, but it wasn’t so long ago that I really understood that actually I can only ever compete with myself.

“You are perfect, until compare yourself with someone else”

I started contest prep in 2011, and since then I didn’t stop competing. In some competitions I got first place, in some it went not so well, but every competition that I prepared for taught me something more about myself and helped me take the correct direction, which I believe has shaped my work and my life in such a positive way.

When I competed in my first bikini competition I had just moved from my home country Turkey to Canada, and was getting used to the Canadian lifestyle — and, of course, the language too, which was the hardest part for me. I always wanted to do a fitness or bikini competition, but when I was still in Turkey the work and cultural differences made it so hard to do.

So I was in Vancouver BC, working at Steve Nash Fitness Club, and one of my co-workers, who was a competitor herself, asked me “why you are not competing?” I started asking myself and questioning if I could do it? I’d never done anything like it before… Maybe you’re asking yourself the same questions right now! Of course I told myself “absolutely, I can’’. And my competition journey began!

Each show that I competed in gave me more knowledge about my body, and how I can improve. Of course, it’s not easy to correctly identify what’s missing with training and nutrition, and this learning process and all of the experiences pushed me to learn more… I’ve been a personal trainer since 1993, but I wanted more and began my nutrition studies. I finished my Comprehensive Nutrition and Sports Nutrition degrees.

And yes, I am still competing! You can see a list of all of the competitions that I’ve competed in further down this page. And right now, AGAIN, I am getting ready for my next show…!

I’ll warn you right now, it wasn’t easy at all. The easiest part was the training, which was already part of my daily life. But posing, dieting, supplementation, getting a bikini, finding a trainer… This was much tougher, not the mention the cost for the registration, jewelry, tanning, hair and make-up, they cost a lot too. 

But I wouldn’t let anything stop me, and right after my first show — WBFF in May, 2011 — I immediately started looking for the next show to compete in. I was hooked!

I am so happy to be able to help other competitors who are willing to work and improve their mind and health at the same time. My goal is to create healthy and happy bikini competitors, who want to challenge themselves and put in the work that needs to be done to reach their goals. There is really no easy way to get there… But there is a smart way.

I look forward to working together and sharing my knowledge with YOU to get you in the best shape of your LIFE!!!!! 

AYDA HAS COMPETED IN

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