No Coffee? No Problem! 4 Quick Ways To Increase Your Energy Without Caffeine

You know that groggy feeling you have, first thing in the morning, when you wake up? You try to drag yourself out of bed after you've hit the snooze button two (ok, three) times and you still can't seem to find the energy to start the day.

After rolling out of bed, you stumble into the kitchen and start brewing your wake-up fix: coffee, the liquid gold that our modern society runs on. After a cup or two, you feel much better. Now you're ready to start the day.

Sounds familiar?

Coffee is one of the most enjoyed beverages worldwide with people in the United States drinking about 400 million cups a day! That's a lot of caffeine. But caffeine isn't only found in coffee. It's also found in about 60 plant species known to science like cocoa beans, kola nuts, and tea leaves.

While caffeine is the most common (and well known) compound in coffee, it certainly isn't the only one. Coffee contains more than 800 compounds like cholorogenic acid, a polyphenol which influences the taste of coffee, and kahweol, a diterpene.

While coffee has some pretty awesome benefits like increasing cognition and alertness, protecting against certain cancers like colorectal cancer, and lowering risk of diabetes[1], there have been some risks involved with coffee consumption, namely increased total and LDL cholesterol and increased liver enzymes[2].

Some people even report having coffee/caffeine induced anxiety and heart palpitations which can be due to the difference in metabolization of coffee and its derivatives based on individual genetics [3].

Personally, I have experienced an increase in anxiety, blood pressure, and headaches when consuming too much caffeine.

While there may be slight risks involved with caffeine consumption, overall there are more benefits especially if you limit your caffeine intake to 400mg/day (about 4 cups) and less than 200mg/day in pregnancy. Interestingly, the benefits seen with coffee seem to be due to the chemical compound of coffee itself and not just the caffeine because similar benefits were seen in individuals who drank decaffeinated coffee [4,5,6]. (Just in case, you don't want to give up that dark roasted goodness for ever).

So while drinking coffee isn't bad for you and can actually be downright healthy for you, maybe you've reached a point in your health journey where you feel that you want to cut back on it. Perhaps you're tired of needing coffee just to function or maybe you've gotten the dreaded caffeine withdrawal headaches and you've had enough.

Whatever the reason you're deciding to cut back or eliminate your morning cup of joe, if you've been struggling to get out of bed without coffee, then try these five easy tips to get the day started: no caffeine required.

HIIT Exercise

When it comes to improving fatigue, look no further than HIIT. High intensity interval training is enjoying a bit of the spotlight these days and for good reason. It has been found to have some pretty great benefits like improving fatigue and burning fat [7]. Studies have shown that HIIT causes your body to release a steroid hormone called cortisol.

Cortisol is released by your adrenal glands (that sit on top of your kidneys) and into your blood stream in a diurnal or daily fashion. It peaks in the early morning about 30 minutes after waking and reaches it's low at around 3AM when you should be sound asleep. Cortisol is an essential hormone and it has many different functions in the body from reducing blood sugar levels to decreasing inflammation, but it also helps to wake and arouse the body.

Caffeine increases the body's release of cortisol but the amount of cortisol released reduces with daily caffeine consumption [8]. This means that your initial cup of coffee gave you a huge cortisol jolt but now that you're enjoying a daily cup (or two, or five), your body isn't responding with as much cortisol release as it once did.

Further more, your body is probably in a state of elevated or unregulated cortisol in which your body is producing too much cortisol at the improper times.

While the caffeine cortisol boost may drop over time, HIIT has been shown to modify cortisol and testosterone production well into the next morning, especially if you add in resistance training [9]. What's even more interesting with HIIT, it was found to regulate cortisol levels when implemented over a week's time, lowering high cortisol levels in women with BMI (body mass index) of over 43, which would classify them as obese.

Regulating your cortisol production through HIIT, helps your body to produce the proper amount of cortisol at the proper time. This helps you to wake you up and give you an energy boost without the use of caffeine.