Use of stimulant based products (diet pills, coffee, and even pain meds)
A stimulant is classified as a drug that increases the level of mental and/or physical energy affecting the body’s metabolism and ultimately, its ability to maintain homeostasis. Homeostasis is the name given to explain the system within the body that maintains a working balance of all its processes.
Stimulant based substances like coffee, nicotine, or ephedra have the ability to disrupt the balance within the body and manipulate those processes to impact the nervous system giving the user the perception of increased energy, focus, or pain tolerance. Whatever, their form stimulants are highly addictive and easily abused.
Overconsumption can create a dependence which begins a cycle where the body becomes less affected therefore one must ingest more of the substance to gain the desired effects. In turn, this cycle of abuse results in the negative outcome on one’s health and metabolism.
The consumption of caffeine recommended by the FDA is 400 milligrams per day – this equals about four to five cups of coffee and is easily controlled by most however, in our society there are many hidden sources of caffeine that can easily increase our daily levels above the FDA’s recommendation. Protein bars, pre-workouts, sodas, ice cream, yogurt, chocolate, and fancy waters are just a few of the hidden sources of caffeine. This substance over time or in large doses can be detrimental to our health and even cause death.
Another example of a more dangerous stimulant based substance wreaking havoc on our health is Ephedra (Ma Huang). It was initially used in many diet products throughout our society due to its properties to increase the body’s ability to burn calories which made it highly popular for weight loss aides. The alkaloid form was banned by the FDA in 2004 after momentous evidence that it caused severe disruption of the body leading to illness and death. Several companies have attempted to manipulate the form of the Ma Huang herb and use it in fat burning supplements. The results are still the same and cause several adverse side effects not limited to but including severe skin reactions, irritability, nervousness, dizziness, trembling, headache, insomnia, profuse perspiration, dehydration, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, seizures, heart attack, stroke, and death.
Damaging or manipulating your metabolism with supplements whether they be over the counter or prescribed can be a dangerous way to obtain your physical or mental goals. The body is designed to work in harmony and when we are not patient or willing to gain our results by hard work we jeopardize that natural balance and place our health in the danger zone. No pill or powder is going to replace the effects of effort over time.
Each of us should evaluate the intention behind our search for an easier way to reach our fitness or physique goals and address that issue instead of the outward dislike of our current status. There is no one to weigh yourself against except your own integrity and the champions on the top of the leaderboards only maintain that position by the hard work and sacrifice given to earn that place rightfully.
At the end of the day you are the one who must look yourself in the mirror. Shaving points, miscounting reps, taking drugs or steroids, weigh on your mental wellbeing as does stimulant based supplements on your health.
Choose a better way and believe in yourself, for all things are possible with proper nutrition, technique, consistency and intensity over time.