This post is about coffee & training for high altitude climb. Ever since I have started to work out, I have also been reading a lot about consuming coffee on high altitude treks, its effect on the heart, knees, mind and such like. Thanks to the internet today, there is plenty of information available – but the question is what sources should you trust?
Particularly, I have been looking for effects of caffeine on the body – during training at sea level or consuming it at high altitudes. From my own experience when training for Mt Kilimanjaro, I remember being told to “avoid” coffee as much as I could, even when training and especially at high altitudes – to prevent dehydration and increased heart beat. I did follow that routine and I managed fine. Now, I don’t really know what would have happened had I continued with drinking the amounts of coffee that I was at the time – so, I do not have pros and cons from my own experiences to write about.
But, I have recently read that, in small amounts, caffeine consumption before a work out increases the output, by making you more awake and alert and energized – the deemed effects of caffeine. I think I am going to try that in small measures.
But I do know that high does can make you jittery, jumpy – not the best condition for training or even at higher altitude (though, realistically no one is going to consume that much caffeine all at once at a higher altitude for various reasons). But too much of it at an altitude is likely to cause headache and heart palpitations.
I remember asking my guide of Mt Kilimanjaro why coffee was bad and he told me that consuming coffee in the evening was likely to cause insomnia and who in their right minds wanted a sleepless night when there was 7-8 hours to reach camp the next day? Sounds reasonable!
I suppose, caffeine can potentially enhance your training and climbing performance, but an overdose is likely to ruin your performance. The key is to experiment with and understand caffeine’s effects on you.