June 2013 Experiments

When I’ve done experiments in the past, I focus on one thing. For June 2013, I’m going to mix some past experiments together to see if I can get a synergistic effect. I’m also going to try a new idea, which I couldn’t previously test.

My goals this month:

  1. Reduce headache frequency and intensity.
  2. Drop 5-7 pounds.

First the headaches. My past experiments have turned up 3 ideas that measurably help.

  1. No grains, except white rice. Corn seems to be OK, but I will minimize it as well this month. Although I am excellent at avoiding gluten, this month I will be just as diligent avoiding what I call the secondary grains (sorghum, millet, etc). This means no Gluten-Free treats or anything that even looks grain dominant. I learned last year that I have a secondary grain intolerance, which I posted about in Results From My 30 Days Without Grain Experiment. Because the effects are less severe than gluten and random, I haven’t initiated a no grain policy. For June I will. 
  2. Reduce caffeine levels, especially coffee. The data is clear. When I went an entire month without coffee, my headache intensity dropped considerably. When I added coffee back, it increased lock and step with consumption.
  3. Minimize AM caffeine. I have noticed that my sleep is better when I have a single coffee post lunch or early afternoon. Having the coffee post meal should be better for my body than slamming coffee in the AM on an empty stomach. Plus I am a natural morning person. I jump out of bed with no alarm by 6 AM most mornings.

So in summary, avoid most grains, have some tea in the AM and a single coffee post meal in the early PM. This might be the secret sauce. It combines results from 3 previous experiments. By the way, I am not looking for new ideas at this time or yet another request that I see a doctor. Those comments will be ignored.

headache-coffee

For the fat loss, I have 3 ideas.

  1. Return to IF (Intermittent Fasting). I’m going to stop screwing around with trying to increase my body temperature by eating early in the AM. All it does is make me hungry all day long. Plus it isn’t working. I have more thoughts on that, which I’ll save for a future post. For the IF, my target will be 12 hours minimum, with most days between 14-16 and a random 20-22. In the past, I’ve used excessive caffeine to blast through IF, but I can’t do that this time (see above), so this will take some adjustment. 
  2. Only consume sugar rich foods on days where I lift weights or hike at least 2 hours. Those foods would be ice cream and pudding. On days over 80 F, maybe a single Mexican cola.
  3. Back in 2011, I reviewed the book The Shangri-La Diet in the post Flavor Signaling and The Shangri-La Diet, but I could try the ideas because I was already an optimal weight. I also was eating a super clean diet that had none of the foods that are considered hyper palatable. Well after a year of eating ice cream, I developed a sweet tooth, which I never had prior. So I will play with his ideas to consume foods with calories and no taste, such as Extra Light Olive Oil or diluted sugar water.

Exercise will stay the same. One to two machine based brief weight lifting sessions using a combination or slow movements and static holds. I’ll also continue urban hiking through Seattle.

The challenge for June will be the morning. Dealing with hunger with low caffeine is going to be tough.

Kefir, Caffeine and Trigger Point Therapy

I’ve got three health items on my mind today.

Is Dairy Kefir Anabolic?

About a month ago I started making dairy kefir again. I stopped making kefir a year ago when I started getting a reaction to water kefir. Then I learned about the high level of histamines, which may have been triggering some of my headaches. I started The Low Histamine Diet last May and did it for over a month. Seems I didn’t post a follow-up. The results were that greatly reducing histamine levels did not help with my headaches. I forgot all about kefir.

Then a friend of mine started making kefir. He offered grains to me. My initial thought was the headaches I got from kefir, but that was water kefir. I never had an issue with dairy kefir, so I started making the dairy ferment once again. And I am loving it. My kefir tastes great and I’m even mixing in a little half and half to get a thicker texture.

The interesting thing I’ve noticed in the last month is that I may have gained some muscle. This was unexpected, as my workouts have not been that intense recently. I’ve often read how milk is anabolic, but I haven’t really drank much since I was a child. Kefir should be equally anabolic. Who knows? I’ll keep drinking it.

Caffeine Might Be Making Me Jittery

It appears I am going to have to really cut back on caffeine again. My plan was to survive on a lower level until spring and then do a longer detox. Even though I’m consuming half the caffeine I did prior to my October 2012 detox, I am finding myself feeling jittery. I’ve never felt jittery on caffeine before.

The good new is cutting back on caffeine should be much easier than the last time.

Unsure about Trigger Point Therapy

In the post Help Me Fix My Neck and Shoulders, one of the ideas in the comments was Trigger Point Therapy. I am new to this topic, so I got a few books from the library. The books showed me where I could apply pressure to relieve tightness in my neck and shoulders. Although my neck and shoulders weren’t in terrible shape, I had been interested in loosening up that area to provide more free movement.

The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief, Second Edition
The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief, Second Edition by Clair Davies

Using the books, I was able to locate the points, apply pressure and feel what felt like knots loosening up. So at first, it appears this stuff was working. The problem I experienced was the tightness kept returning and it felt like it was getting worse. The more time I spent doing Trigger Point Therapy, the better I felt in the short term, but the tighter I felt later. This is when I thought about Dr. John Sarno and and my battle with back pain.

I posted on Dr. Sarno in The Psychology of Back Pain.

Dr. John Sarno specializes in patients that deal with chronic back pain. He believes that stress is the major cause of back pain. When we go through periods of chronic stress, the brain uses a diversion tactic to protect us emotionally. That diversion is to manifest REAL PHYSICAL pain, often in the lower back region. The pain is real. It is not in our head. The roots however are psychological.

One of recommendations Dr. Sarno tells his patients is to stop all forms of treatment, because that treatment is validating the physical manifestation of the pain. It does nothing to address its roots. When I began to suspect that Trigger Point Therapy was making my neck worse in the same manner, I stopped it. Within a few days, my neck felt better on its own. Not perfect, but back where I started.

I can see where Trigger Point Therapy might help with injuries. See Foam Rolling & Trigger Point Activation on Biohacks for one example.

Last Words

So I’m loving the dairy kefir, cutting back on caffeine and stopping the Trigger Point Therapy. Love to hear your thoughts.

Sarno, Back Pain and Coffee?

It has been a while since I did a post on Back Pain. Honestly, I thought I said everything I needed to say on the topic. For those new to the site, let me quickly recap my background with back pain. For many years I suffered with episodes of lower back pain. Then in 2009, I decided to make ending my back pain my number one health priority. Unlike prior attempts that all failed, I took the assumption that I knew nothing about back pain and did some serious research to discover the cause of my back pain.

My investigation took me to Dr. Sarno, whom I rediscovered over on Conditioning Research. Dr. Sarno believes the root cause of most back pain is psychological. This is a difficult concept to understand at first. The pain is real, but the root causes are based in stress. The back pain is a diversion tactic used by our brain to redirect our attention away from what it perceives as the greater psychological pain. For those interested in that topic, I did a more in detail post titled The Psychology of Back Pain.

With that long background out of the way, I want to bring up a topic I was unaware until a few weeks ago. There appears to be a link between excessive coffee drinking and lower back pain. At my local Farmers Market I was introduced to an acupuncturist. He was interested in my coffee detox experience. Then he volunteered that he tells all his patients with lower back pain to stop drinking coffee. I was puzzled. He explained that the adrenal glands are located in the lower back region. Stress the adrenals and you could trigger lower back pain. He had been an acupuncturist for many years and had a long track record of success with this advice. He himself only drinks a single coffee a day and believes tea is much easier on the adrenals and doesn’t trigger back pain.

When I got home I read Is Caffeine Causing Your Back Pain? on The Healthy Home Economist. From that post:

Here’s what happens as explained to me by a chiropractor friend.  Stressing out the adrenals all the time with an unchecked caffeine habit weakens not only the adrenal glands but the entire area around them which includes the lower back.   Weak adrenals also suck vital nutrients away from the ligaments and tendons as keeping an important organ like the adrenals happy is more important that strong connective tissue.

The body is very good at sending nutrients to the area that needs them most.   Trouble is, the less vital areas that get shortchanged in favor of the adrenals – such as the ligaments and tendons – suffer and over time, the first ligaments to go are typically the ones that support the sacroiliac joint which supports the weight of the entire body.

Fascinating. I instantly thought back to the times in my life when I had the most back pain. Sure enough it was the periods I was drinking the most coffee. So does the caffeine theory invalidate the Sarno theory? I actually think they are complementary. Sarno explains that people with control issues have the most back pain. The need to feel in control is very common with back pain suffers. This morning the idea popped in my head that one of the reasons I drink coffee and tea all day is to control my mood. Being below baseline is an uncomfortable feeling, because it represents a loss of control. But one coffee later and I’m back in control. The problem is this goes on all day long without breaks for years or decades.

In my post Medicating Mood With Caffeine, I refer to my caffeine breaks as pockets of joy. There is no doubt that caffeine can elevate mood, but it comes at a cost. Not only are you potentially causing lower back pain, but you might be masking the fact you feel out of control without stimulants. At least that is the thought that came to me this morning.

Did It! A Month Without Coffee!

I completed my most challenging health experiment to date. I went the entire month of October 2012 without coffee. No decaf either or any food that used coffee for flavoring, such as ice cream. For 21 days of that month, I went 100% caffeine free. My prior record was 100 hours set back in 1997. Despite having added an additional 15 years of caffeine addiction, I crushed my old record.

For someone that owns a website called INeedCoffee, this is quite the victory.

This morning I had my first espresso and boy has it made me jittery. Over two hours later and I can still feel it. This is what I experienced when I had my first green tea after 21 days without caffeine. Before the coffee cheerleaders and fear mongers add their opinion, I want to remind them that this experiment was primarily about developing caffeinated resiliency, not for health reasons. An ideal state is being able to perform at a high level with or without coffee. And this experiment is ongoing. I’m now in the caffeine resumption phase. I’ll be monitoring how I feel over the next few weeks as I dial in a new optimal espresso level.

The final write up of this experiment will be on INeedCoffee, probably in mid November. Once that article is ready, I’ll announce it here. Until then I’m just going to enjoy this win. Thanks to everyone that encouraged me during those times when I was ready to give up. And thanks to those who tried to get me to quit by testing my resolve. It was the perfect balance.

Welcome back old friend!

Wide Awake at 3 AM

I ended my no caffeine experiment yesterday exactly 21 days after it began. Around Noon I had a single cup of green tea. And then around 4 PM, I had about 1/3 cup more tea. The good news is I beat my goal by 6 days. Now for the bad news. By around 9 PM, I felt jittery, but I was still able to fall asleep easily around 10:30 PM. At 3 AM, I woke up still feeling jittery unable to return to sleep.

Uggh, I think I broke my caffeine metabolism. This isn’t good. Maybe I’m panicking, because I’m so tired and I can’t think straight. Now what?

Medicating Mood With Caffeine

I’m still on my caffeine free plus coffee free experiment. This is Day 21 without coffee and Day 15 without caffeine. My goal was to go 15 days without caffeine. I’ll hit that milestone in a few hours, but I’m planning on extending this test. I’m still experiencing symptoms, which tells me that my body is still healing.

This month my mood has been terrible. Things are slowly getting better though. Prior to the experiment I was consuming 3 or 4 espressos a day plus a few mugs of tea. These beverages were all high quality and tasty. I would spread out my enjoyment of these drinks from morning to early afternoon. Last week a thought came to me that these experiences were little pockets of joy. No matter how I was feeling at the moment, I could always rely on caffeine improving my mood.

Photo by Kristina Alexanderson

Going caffeine free has removed all these pockets of joy. Turns out I am not a happy camper. In addition to having great love for coffee and tea, I now can see that my habit was also my unconscious way of dealing with feeling down. The fact that coffee can improve mood is well known. My concern now is that my addiction to coffee has kept me from addressing the root causes of my low mood.

Maybe I’m over thinking this, but I continue to wake up most mornings between 3 AM – 4 AM unable to return to sleep. The energy surges and amazing recoveries that others have experienced after going caffeine free have not happened to me yet. The experiment continues.

Odd Caffeine Free Side Effect

Since going caffeine free just over a week ago, I have noticed an odd side effect. I’m super hungry. Even though I eat right before I go to bed**, I am getting massively hungry in the middle of the night. I tried to correct for this by eating even more before bed, but it isn’t working so far.

During my waking hours I have been eating more. My body is craving sugar, so I happily have been eating lots of ice cream. One would expect that this would lead to weight gain. It hasn’t. If fact, I’ve dropped a few pounds since this experiment started. So in summary:

  • No Caffeine has resulted in worse sleep. My 8 hours rested is now 6.5 hours tired.
  • More food and sugar has resulted in a few pound weight loss.

Nothing is making sense anymore.

Even though my sleep is still poor, my mornings are getting a little better. One positive  benefit I am seeing is more energy in the afternoon. This is usually the period of the day when I am fighting to stay awake. Yesterday I actually got more productive work done in the PM than the AM. As a morning person, whose first real job was Army Basic Training, I can say that never happens.

I think I will make it 15 days caffeine free.

** Please don’t tell me eating before bad is metabolically damaging. That is nonsense. Read Is Late Night Eating Better for Fat Loss and Health? on Leangains. The best eating schedule is the one that results in the deepest sleep. For me it is having a full belly. 

Caffeine will leave you sleepless by Christian. And in my test, lack of caffeine will as well.

Coffee and Caffeine Detox Update

The month is almost half over, so I thought I’d provide a quick update on My Caffeine Detox Plan. My last coffee was on September 30th. Then for a week, I continued to drink some tea. On Sunday October 7th at Noon, I stopped consuming all tea. I’ve been 100% caffeine free since then.

First the good news. My current coffee free streak is a new all-time record, beating my 11 day streak from last year. And this year I didn’t cheat with decaf coffee. Also, my 1 week without caffeine is a new all-time record, crushing my 100 hour streak from 1997. I think I’m going to succeed in my goal of going the entire month without coffee. I’m less confident that I’ll make the 15 days without caffeine goal.

The first day I had a slight headache. Since then my head has been fine, but my mood has been terrible. My sleep is awful. I keep waking up early and unable to get back to sleep. This morning I woke up at 3:30 AM. The result is I’m dead tired all day long. I’m having difficulty concentrating. It doesn’t help that the weather in Seattle went from a long streak of sunny days to darkness and rain.

I thought this detox would get easier by day 4 or 5. It hasn’t. My productivity has plummeted. The mornings are the worst. I’m going to power through today, but I don’t know if I’ll make it 15 days. This experiment is crushing me.

Someone mentioned a concept to me called “healing crisis“. The premise is that symptoms get worse when you first remove something your body perceives as harmful. I did some searching and found the article What is a Healing Crisis? by Dr Stanley Bass on a site selling water ionizers. :-? I’m at the point in my study of nutrition that I don’t believe anybody anymore. With that said, something feels right about that article. Either that or I’m so tired that I can’t determine what is credible and what isn’t.

This experiment has already taught me that my addiction to caffeine is much stronger than my addiction to coffee.

I’m actually craving green tea more than coffee. 

A Month Without Coffee – Here Goes!

Today is Day 1 of my most challenging self experiment to date. I am going to go the entire month of October without coffee. No decaf either. My prior record was 4 days in 1997. :o I outlined my goal and plan in the previous post My Caffeine Detox Plan. That post was written on Thursday and published on Friday. Here we are on Monday and I’m feeling super confident that I will succeed. The dark clouds already seems to be lifting. What happened?

In that post, I said:

There is a raging debate on whether announcing goals make you more or less accountable. Well, I am about to find out.

There have been articles making the case that we should keep our goals to ourselves. Derek Sivers posted Shut up! Announcing your plans makes you less motivated to accomplish them.

Tests done since 1933 show that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen.

Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed.

And:

Once you’ve told people of your intentions, it gives you a “premature sense of completeness.”

My history is that I almost never publicly announce goals unless I know there is a high probability of success. Otherwise I’m wasting everyone’s time spouting off about something that likely won’t happen. Being private is easier than being accountable. And being accountable is something I strongly value.

Almost as if I created an experiment within an experiment, I decided to ignore Sivers advice and do the opposite of what I normally do. That is why I announced my intentions to curb my caffeine addiction in the post Caffeinated Delusions and my goals in My Caffeine Detox Plan.

Boxing up all my coffee gear and putting it into storage was motivating. I liberated the space for some of my ferments. :)

A fascinating thing happened after I published my goal. Immediately I started believing that I was going to be successful. My confidence soared. My mood improved and I honestly didn’t feel the powerful pull of coffee. Never have I reduced my caffeine levels this fast this easily. It only became easier once I hit publish on Friday. By posting my intentions, I was saying that this goal no longer had a high probability of failure and as a result it instantly felt more attainable.

I still have a long way to go, but I think I will succeed. Being accountable has increased my motivation and my belief in myself. Siver’s article seems like sound advice, but I wonder if there are cases or personality types that are exceptions? I suspect I might be one. We will find out. I’d be interested to hear other opinions on when it is wise to announce goals, when it isn’t and how that affects success rates.

UPDATE Nov 1, 2012: Did It! A Month Without Coffee

My Caffeine Detox Plan

Last week I posted Caffeinated Delusions, which outlined my addiction to caffeine and my desire to overcome that addiction. It also covered how my prior detox attempts were flawed or too short. Well I started down the path a week ago. Immediately I dropped my intake by 50% and then yesterday I dropped my levels again. Now I am down to a single espresso plus tea. It hasn’t been easy. My thinking is fuzzy and my mood is much lower. I haven’t had any caffeine withdrawal headaches, but my performance is way down.

There have been a lot of posts on this blog about self experimentation. They can best be divided into two groups. Those that I believe that I’l have a high probability of success and those where I have far less faith. Those tests where I have higher confidence, I am more likely to post prior to the start of the test. Those were I am more filled with doubt, I keep to more to myself until the test is well under way. Of all the experiments I’ve done before, this is absolutely going to be the hardest.

There is a raging debate on whether announcing goals make you more or less accountable. Well, I am about to find out. Here is my goal.

I will go the entire month of October without coffee. No decaf either. During this time I will drink tea, but eventually ween myself off tea until I am 100% caffeine free. I don’t know how long that will take, but eventually I’d like to go at least 15 days with no caffeine. If I feel great after my goals have been met, I may extend the test longer.

Today I am boxing up all my coffee equipment and storing it away. That includes my espresso machine, grinder, press pot and home coffee roaster. I will have 1 espresso with the Coffee Club of Seattle on Saturday and one on Sunday. The coffee I have already roasted up will be given away.

Here we go.

See you November old friend. 

Caffeinated Delusions

My name is MAS and I’m a caffeine addict.

For the past few years I have been deluding myself that my relationship with caffeine was healthy. When I mention that in a typical day I only consume 3 or 4 espressos, some people are shocked. Then I explain that back in my San Diego days I used to consume 5-6 mugs of french press coffee a day and those mugs were 16 ounces. By comparing current intake to the amount I was consuming just a few years ago, I was able to trick myself into believing that I had made great progress in curbing my caffeine addiction.

When I switched from french press to espresso, my caffeine intake did go down. But this also about the time that I started getting an appreciation for quality loose leaf tea. These days I consume about 4 mugs of tea day. Overall my caffeine intake is lower, but not by as much as I thought. My sleep is better, but that is probably the result of not drinking coffee in the late afternoon or evening and not directly a result of lower total caffeine.

Is comparing current caffeine usage to past caffeine usage a useful metric? That question has been bothering me for a while. This week I conceded that it is wasn’t. The fact remains that I am equally addicted to caffeine albeit at a lower level than before. My addiction might even be greater, because today I am consuming espresso that is far better quality than just a few years ago. The strides I’ve made in my home roasting and shot pulling at home have improved a lot recently. By collecting more data and interviewing the best baristas in Seattle, my home espresso quality has improved more in the past 9 months than in the first 9 years I was making coffee. Every month or so my coffee tastes better than it did before. This is making my addiction stronger.

The DRUGS sign at the Seattle roasting facility for Stumptown Coffee (12th Ave). So true. 

Prior Detox Attempts

In 2011 I went 14 days without coffee, but my detox was flawed. First off, I was still drinking tea. Also, because I switched to decaf I was still getting the flavor stimulus. So I never went a day without caffeine or the taste of coffee. I built in a loophole in the very test I created. Now I see that the flavor stimulus for me is equally as addictive as caffeine, I know I can’t use decaf to detox.

The only real 100% caffeine and coffee free detox I did was way back in 1997 when I lasted 100 hellish hours. That was before I started home coffee roasting or had a real burr grinder. Even when I visited coffee hostile locations such as South America, Southeast Asia and New Orleans, I still acquired caffeine every single morning and most afternoons. So caffeine has played a role in my daily life for 15 non-stop years or approximately 5,475 consecutive days. And if you exclude those 4 days in 1997, you can add another decade to that number. This can’t be healthy.

Deeper Addiction

Beyond the caffeine and the stronger flavor signals, coffee and tea both now have strong social links for me. I am the organizer of the Coffee Club of Seattle which meets an average of twice a week. This year I’ve had 160 espressos from Seattle area coffee shops. Yes, I have a spreadsheet. :) This doesn’t count non-espresso drinks or the coffee I consumed when I was out of town. And it definitely doesn’t count the drinks I made at home, which is much larger number. Much of my social fabric since moving to Seattle is based upon coffee or began with coffee.

Dark Clouds

I need to know who I am without caffeine. This isn’t going to be easy. Tuesday morning I woke up after a perfect night of 8+ hours of deep sleep. I decided I would wait a while before making coffee. I should have been ready to take on the world without caffeine, but I couldn’t. My head wanted coffee. Even though I was fully rested, I was mentally paralyzed. That is when I knew I had to do a real detox, but this one will require more planning, because I need to break the addiction at every level.

If this post lacked my crisp writing style it is because I’m already in a funk from cutting back on the caffeine. I’m not getting caffeine headaches, just a sharp decline in mood. It feels more like a breakup than a withdrawal. I’ve doubled my L-Tyrosine to no effect. Yesterday I left the headlights on in my car and ran the battery dead. Later I left house with the oven on and burnt a 3 pound meatloaf. There may be fewer posts or suckier posts in the next few weeks.

Into the darkness.

Adrenal Fatigue? Not For Me

In the post Health Goals – Late 2011 Edition, under #3 Dialing in an Optimal Coffee Level, I asked this question:

Do I have some form of adrenal fatigue?

It is easy to understand why I might suspect adrenal fatigue. I have consumed a lot of coffee in the past 20 years. I even run a website called INeedCoffee. Maybe I’ve gone too far and have adrenal fatigue? I needed to find out more about this topic so I read the go to book on the topic.

Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome
Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James L. Wilson covers the topic of adrenal fatigue thoroughly. The more I read the book, the better I felt. After reading the symptoms that other people experience, my life seems pretty sweet. The case studies made me seem like a Buddhist monk.

I took the adrenal fatigue quizzes in the book, which asks you to answer for both your current state and for the past. Probably the time in my life where I exhibited the most symptoms of adrenal fatigue would have been when I lived in the Washington DC metro area, which was late 1998 to mid 2000. It was the dot-com days and the traffic was killing me. The results of the quiz had me at low borderline for adrenal fatigue then. Today I am not even close.

Improving my sleep, fixing my diet and exercise has had many spill-over positive effects that have made me more resilient. I also consume far less caffeine today than I did back then. And I still drink 3-4 espressos plus tea now. Back then I was drinking 5-6 large mugs of french press coffee plus tea and cola.

My life and experiences are different than yours. If you suspect you may have adrenal fatigue, check out this book and do the quizzes yourself. The second half of the book has excellent tips for dealing with stress that could be benefit anyone, not just those with adrenal fatigue.

Long Days, Poor Sleep and Too Much Caffeine

I have about 15 half-written blog posts in the queue right now. I’m not happy with any of them. The sun is rising at 5:10 AM in Seattle and not setting until after 9 PM. I have blackout drapes, but the light is still sneaking into my room and waking me up. During the winter I was able to get extra sleep, now I’m missing some sleep.

My plan was to cut my coffee intake come summer, but then Seattle got the Northwest Coffee Festival and Coffee Crawl with multiple events each day. As a coffee fanatic, I have been going to all these events and consuming a high amount of coffee. This isn’t helping my sleep either.

So the result is I’ve been too tired to complete about 15 blog posts. Sunday is the last day of the Coffee Festival. When it is over, I’ll start to reduce my coffee intake. The days will begin to shorten on Wednesday. Hopefully, I’ll get my blog mojo back then.

My hood. This photo has nothing to do with this post. I need more sleep.

Coffee As A Pre-Workout Meal

This post was moved from Coffee Hero.

Ori Hofmekler, the author of the The Warrior Diet, is a fan of having coffee instead of food prior to a workout. From the chapter on exercising he writes:

Good, fresh coffee is a wonderful natural stimulator before a workout. Caffeine, which is a strong alkaloid, may boost your metabolism up to 20%, and therefore may help the fat-burning effects. Caffeine boosts dopamine (a major brain neurotransmitter, giving you a feeling of alertness and well-being). In general, a shot or two of good espresso will do it; or a cup of, say, English Breakfast tea.

He goes onto to recommend avoiding adding sugar, to prevent an insulin spike. For those that sensitive to coffee, Ori mentions substituting green tea or guarana instead.

The Warrior Diet: Switch on Your Biological Powerhouse For High Energy, Explosive Strength, and a Leaner, Harder Body

Sources:

The Warrior Diet: Switch on Your Biological Powerhouse For High Energy, Explosive Strength, and a Leaner, Harder Body by Ori Hofmekler

Warrior Diet – Offical website

Guarana – Wikipedia