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Energy Drink Abuse?

Energy Drink Abuse?

Energy drinks

So the other day I had one of my dedicated students Ali come up to me and ask me to do a post on energy drinks. “Well what about them? I asked. Evidently he witnesses a great deal of athletes prior to coming into the gym drinking them like water. To my amazement I was like “What the hell?” Needless to say it supplied me with more content for this blog post so keep on reading if you are interested in learning more about the current energy drink frenzy.

Energy Drink Overload? 

So as anything goes in today’s society people can’t just moderately do things and make smart choices at certain times. There are always those few due to either ignorance or stupidity (and who am I to judge whether it’s one or the other?) that just can’t handle something simply for what it is. Some people just have to go way overboard and end up doing themselves more harm than good. Hopefully you understand that anything in excess can potentially be bad for you.

So I kind of paid attention to my very astute student of strength Ali and the other day I stopped in at the local QT (Quick Trip) station up the street to fuel up the Jeep. I walked inside to get myself a bottled water to witness a couple of teenagers clearing the drink shelves of Red Bull. Wow, I thought I sure hope they are buying for others because they are not going to sleep for a week. I guess there is a slight energy drink craze going on. Can you say…

So what about these energy drinks? Are they good for you? Bad for you? Do they make you have wings (as the Red Bull commercial says)?  Well I don’t think they make you have wings, but they can give you a jolt and depending on who you are potentially heart palpitations as well. Energy drinks are full of stimulants such as caffeine and some people simply have more of a sensitivity to stimulants such as this.

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Like Ali was pointing out to me though he had seen some other people consuming some of these drinks prior to training which can also potentially be risky if one is not aware of how to consume something and the effects it can have on their body. There have been studies associated with the overconsumption of energy drinks along with the potential negative side effects. Here are a few:

1. Palpitations/Tachycardia

2. Tremors

3. Restlessness

4. Upset stomach

5. Chest pains

6. Insomnia

7. Dizziness

8. Headaches

Now several of these drinks contain more than just a single ingredient that can have a wide arrange of effects on the body. Caffeine, B vitamins, taurine, sugar, L-carnitine, and Gingko Biloba tend to be a very common theme just to name a few. Several of these have the potential to cause many of the same negative side effects such as upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and dizziness and heart palpitations.

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I’m not saying that energy drinks are all necessarily a bad thing, but I am pointing out that they have the potential to be and that there are better options if you’re just simply looking for a good boost prior to a workout. Look I just wrote an article about how coffee (which contains  caffeine) can be a great ergogenic aid to your athletic performance (you can view that article here).

The problem is not the energy drink alone, it really has more to do with the individual drinking it. You see chances are if you are a relatively healthy individual you could withstand a single energy drink, or at least a portion of one, without any negative side effects. The problems that are generally associated with overconsumption of these energy drinks arise because of OVERCONSUMPTION! In addition to this it doesn’t just have to be the overconsumption of an energy drink either. An individual throughout the day could have an excess of coffee, sodas, tea, and then pile an energy drink on top of all of that and then wonder why they are crapping their pants and tossing and turning all night long while trying to catch some Z’s.

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You see I’m not writing this post just to beat up on the energy drinks, but I am pointing out the almighty power of individual responsibility. Too many people lack that trait this day and age. Look, with trying to juggle long work hours, a family, a business, and trying to take care of ourselves life can at times drag us down. I’m all about shooting down a couple shots of espresso before throwing around some iron, but I am also very aware of everything else I put into my body day in and day out. Long term I expect to be better off too from a health standpoint and you should do the same.

The side effects of long term use of energy drinks is unclear, but you can burn out your system with the overuse of stimulants. Make sure to limit your intake and don’t overtax your adrenal system by taking in too much caffeine. If you start feeling tired after the consumption of caffeine then you have done just that so this is a sign that you should back off on your caffeine intake instead of going full steam ahead by consuming more.

If you are interested in learning some more great training tips as well as getting an edge on your health with a smart nutrition plan then you need to get yourself a copy of my Brandon Richey’s Better Than Steroids ebook right here:

Oh and one more thing. If you have any questions about my Brandon Richey’s Better Than Steroids ebook then you can email me at any time. You can do this whether you are an existing customer or if you are thinking about becoming a new one! I will respond as soon as possible to all inquiries.

In addition to this I will do the same if you leave any questions, comments, or thoughts in the comment box below. Speaking of which Do you have any pre-training ritual you go through prior to a ball busting training session? I’m about having an iced coffee with a shot of espresso and a dynamic warm up to get the body moving! What about you? I would love to hear about your ritual in the comments below! Keep training smart my friend.



I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. This is a great article, hopefully I will be able to help many people before they get heart attacks because I know so many who drink them just because its popular to do so and most of them don’t even workout or train or nothing just drink them like water because its fun.

    1. Amen Ali! I was surprised at how many people you were telling me abused the hell out of these things. Remember that “individual responsibility” line in the article? That is so true! Moderation is the key and a good ole shot of espresso will do just fine! 🙂

  2. Richey I agree with you when you said. It is the individual person who has to know what their limit is when it comes to using any kind of stimulant. I personally do not like to use stimulants as even a small amount consumed early in the day keeps me wired well past my bed time. Keep in mind that I am talking about the use of energy drinks and energy supplements, not tea or coffee. When I do use them, I use them in small amounts and I don’t use them every day.

    1. You see Karis you have been blessed with that missing link today known as “common sense!” 🙂 You are smart b/c you know your body and listening to your body is the key. Like I told Ali, recognizing what works is the key and a good ole shot of espresso prior to training has always worked well for me. Abusing those drinks though are rough on the body, the kidneys, the adrenal system, and potentially the cardiovascular system. Plus a lot of younger teenagers don’t understand this. That in and of itself can present a danger.

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