How I Cured My Addiction To Energy Drinks (it was pretty bad)

| by Truth Seeker |

Disclaimer: I am NOT associated with any of the brands mentioned here. I’ve purchased those products with my own money, and the conclusions below are based solely on my experience.


How It All Started…

Hello, I am Truth Seeker, a recovering energy drink addict.

My addiction began many years ago when I decided to lose body fat and went on a cut. My weapon of choice was intermittent fasting a.k.a. controlled temporary starvation.

I wanted the cut to end fast so I went into the maximum caloric deficit I could handle.

As some of you may know, when you do this “crash diet”, the following happens:

  1. The first few days are awful.
  2. Then, the body starts dumping adrenaline into the system, and you gain energy and mental clarity for a while.
  3. Eventually, insane fatigue and cravings come to test your willpower.

During phase 3 of that particular cut, I rediscovered sugar-free drinks. I deployed them as a secret weapon to kill my cravings for “technological” food. And it worked. At first, I relied on some Coca-Cola versions with exotic flavors but didn’t like the experience…and the taste. Also, my intestines complained.

I was about to give up, but energy drink ads got to me, and I got hooked. I would drink one around noon before starting my part-time job as a translator.

I remember getting off the bus and anticipating the pleasure of unknown-to-me chemicals crashing against the walls of my mouth and then hitting my system. Very quickly the experience became a daily ritual.

I would look around with a concerned grimace and make all sorts of philosophical conclusions in my head while holding a dark blue Monster Zero Sugar.

Then, the cut ended, but my love for those weird aluminum cans continued. At one point, I was drinking at least 1 Monster a day and on occasion, I’d go up to 2 Monsters.

When I hit 2 daily Monsters, I felt guilty because I knew that it was not right to drink 1 liter of techno-beverage a day.

But it wasn’t just Monster. To save money, I’d also try some known and unknown brands with weird names (PitBull, BadDog, Hell, SharkAttack, CrazyWolf….etc.)

At one point I had to admit the obvious – I’d graduated to an intermediate energy drink addict.


Side Effects

Despite drinking a colossal amount of energy drinks for years, I can’t say that I’ve suffered serious side effects.

I had a bad experience once, however. I drank 1 Monster at noon as usual and then a Red Bull a few hours later.

My blood pressure reached some epic numbers that day, and I could barely climb the stairs. My heart was beating at 220 BPM. I took a bunch of aspirin and dropped on my bed. After a while, my heart calmed down.

This is the only perceivable side effect that I’ve had. And it never happened again, but I also never mixed those two. I guess my body wasn’t adapted to whatever was in the Red Bull and the two “injections” were done too close to each other.

That said, I know that energy drinks can wreck your heart (the most vulnerable organ) and hurt your kidneys (if you don’t drink enough water).

Why was I doing it?

I wish I could tell you that those things gave me the energy to conquer the world, but that would be a lie. My body developed insane resilience. Eventually, I could drink a Monster in the evening and sleep like a baby.

In other words, I wasn’t doing it for the energy as they didn’t provide any after a while.

Then I had a peculiar observation – I was buying only energy drinks in aluminum cans. I hated the plastic bottles.

So, in a weird way, I had to admit that I was addicted to the experience rather than the content.

And the aluminum can was part of it. Its coldness, the sound that it would make when you open it…and then the first sip formed a sequence triggering a serious dopamine release in my bloodstream.

As stupid as it sounds, this was indeed the mechanism behind my addiction.

Planning My Escape

At one point, I couldn’t take it anymore. I knew that I was doing something wrong, not just physiologically but mentally and spiritually too.

Two things pushed me to seek a recovery:

  • I wanted to save some money (even just one can a day adds up to a decent number in a year)
  • I wanted to free myself from the addiction more than I cared about the possible health risks.

In other words, I wanted to free myself from the nonsense drinks that had gained an undeserved market share in my life.

Phase 1: Control The Bad Intake

People who’ve read my diet posts might be familiar with this model.

It is highly unlikely for anyone to eat clean forever. Therefore, instead of planning to be perfect, you schedule the cheating yourself.

I tried something similar for the first few weeks. Instead of eliminating energy drinks, I reduced the intake to 1 every other day.

Phase 2: Find the healthiest possible replacement

Total elimination of a habit is not always needed if it’s possible to make it somewhat healthy.

I decided to replace the energy drinks with carbonated water in aluminum cans. The plan worked surprisingly well because the main sources of the dopamine rush were still there but without the substance.

So, I was hacking my addiction in a sense.

Phase 3: Balance It Out and Keep Going

There’s always a chance that your new healthy habit will become your new master – kinda like getting addicted to the gym after a long weight loss. It’s better to be a natural gym addict than a fatso swine controlled by bad food, but the approach is still not balanced.

In my case, I dropped the carbonated water intake to 2-3 cans a week as it was hard to find them where I live and many of the products were too costly for what they are.

The good news is that I haven’t touched a Monster (or similar stuff) in a very long time and don’t plan to.

Eventually, I broke the mental addiction and when I see energy drinks in the store, they appear poisonous and heavily unattractive.

– Natty

 

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17 comments

  1. Guille

    In argentina the natural energy drink is the yerba mate….you would have to try.
    Nice post….thanks

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      Thank you for the support.

    2. peketudo

      Yerba mate gets me acid reflux. and everytime i decline to “drink it”,i swear everyone takes it like a offense. lol. I guess i should try yerba mate with antiacid. greetings form arg… argh, salu2!

  2. SamS

    I tried mate for a while few years ago. Really liked it. I picked up the idea from the South American soccer players. I also bought a proper mate cup and a straw. Problem for me was eventually the fact that it has caffeine too, which was my addiction for decades. After a very difficult struggle, I was able to quit caffeine altogether. Since then, my sleep has been better than ever. But if that’s not a problem, mate is great!

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      Thank you for the support.

  3. Zzzz

    but you’ve criticized the junk food industry a million times over the years because you’d get addicted to drinking a drink worse than coke xD I already knew you’re stupid for the fact that you can’t get a steady girlfriend but bro , ha ha. . Maybe if you try to live more according to your ideas and not limit yourself to writing them, you can get out of the diarrhea cycle in which you are an eternal subject who trains and little else. and something else, it was really necessary to mention that you are not collaborating with the Monster brand at the beginning of the post xD

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      Thank you for the comment, bro.

  4. Andre

    Yea, you shoulda been perfect before you write anything worth reading. Be a god, man, only then you offer some value to the world. Yea right

    1. Joe Broom

      What in the name of fuck is this comment trying to say?

  5. peketudo

    Ey truthseeker,
    I want to ask you about my training. Basically, I have already reached my potential. And I wonder if there is a way to maintain my gains with less exercise. But suddenly, I’m afraid that if I decrease my volume or intensity even a bit, I’m going to deflate like a “broid” who can no longer afford his juices or get a kidney/liver disease xd.
    I mean, if were by me i would like to quit entirely the lifting and just do parkour. But parkour can hurt me more than a rejection and i am just practicing at baby steps, and since i like how looks my body i would hate to lose all my gains or even lose a bit of muscle.

    This is my current routine:

    day 1: a – barbell overhead press (2 x 8 or 10 reps) ( handstand press if bad weather or anything else) b – biceps curls with ez ( 2x 8 or 10 reps) c – french press with ez ( 2×8 or 10 reps) d- “pseudo” weighted bulgarian rows ( 2x 10 reps) e – inclined weighted push ups (2×10 reps) f – weighted pull ups (2×10 if i can, at that point i am always tired of everything)
    day 2: rest, or some easy parkour tricks
    day 3: a – bulgarian squats ( 2×10 reps) b – farmer squats ( 2×15 reps…or 3 sets if i am in a good day) or vertical jumps //sometimes i replaced all leg exercises with sprinting// c -lateral raises ( 3×10 reps ) d and e – biceps and triceps exercises mentioned earlier
    day 4: rest or some parkour tricks
    day 5 : as day 1
    day 6 and 7: rest
    day 8: as day 3
    day 9: rest or parkour
    day 10: as day 1
    day 11: rest or parkour
    day 12: as day 3
    day 13 and 14: rest
    and repeat…

    * bulgarian rows i do is with the parallel bars and not with rings
    *cant do deadlift beause i had some lower back problems for that . i am fine but cant risk
    *cant do traditional barbell squat because its unconvenient in my house
    *parkour exercises are not demanding because its just some lazy tricks

    i am in stagnation mode ( maintaning the amount of weight), but at the same time i would like to make my arm a bit bigger, thats why i am adding more arms exercises. However, I doubt I can make my arms grow even more, after all these years of training.

    Two questions or more: is there something important i am missing? Do you think I can remove some exercises or maybe reduce the difficulty in most of them, without lose all my gains?
    i know you said you can have all your gains once you reach your potential and even do less exercises, but, you know, i feel empty or guilty if i reduce the difficulty.

    from now on, thank you very much

    p.s.: yeah, bulgarian squat is the more draining exercise i did in my life. I did not get massive legs,but i do better vertical jumps…

    1. peketudo

      p.s.2 : ops, i cant edit. just want to remark, my objective is to feel less tired, to have overall more energy in the rest of the day, but at tje same time, to keep my gains,after all,i am not young anymore. right now i stopped the progressive effort, except for the arms.

      1. Truth Seeker Post author

        This is enough for maintenance. If you feel overworked add a rest day here or there.

        But in general, when you reduce the volume, some deflation is inevitable.

        1. Sean

          I am 42 been training natural for 20 years, peaked probably at age 35 and no gains since then, just maintaining. I assume part of that is age, but unlike steroid users who can gain muscle with no training whatsoever (proven by Bhasin et al.1996 study), all naturals will definitely lose mass and definition if they reduce training. in my personal experience it takes one extra day of training to make up for one missed day, in terms of both ability (weight and reps) and appearance. If I miss a week of training it takes a week to get back to the same levels as before. if you are younger the ratios may be different but the principle is the same. as far as rest days, based on your obvious diligence I assume you also have other responsibilities which will inevitably require you to miss some training days. Count those days as rest days, if you add “scheduled” rest days on top of the unscheduled breaks, you will lose too much. sorry it’s not what we want to hear but it’s the reality of life without steroids

          1. peketudo

            I agree. I tried to train 1 day at week and, effectively, its suboptimal, at least for me. I lost some strength and my muscles are in sore. Every group must be trained at least 2 times a week, in my experience.

        2. peketudo

          Thanks truthseeker.
          I have anticipated that some deflation is inevitable, but if I can maintain the size of the arms, and even grow them a little, then I consider myself done
          I m gonna reduce the frequency in some exercises,and keep the volume and intensity, maybe reduce a bit.. I still gonna keep the arms exercises as it.
          p.s. Bulgarian squats is the elephant in the gym… and maybe the overhead press too. But i just gonna see what happen from now.

      2. SamS

        Sorry for the late reply. Obviously, I’m not Truth Seeker, but I’m seeking the truth too 😊 so I thought I’d like to give you my five cents. I know this goes to “The Secret” or some other self-help bullshit department of things, but I think that belief is also very important when cutting down the volume. At least it was very difficult for me to believe that I’ll keep at least some muscle when cutting the volume down. So, you just must take that leap of faith and trust that things are working.

        I remember when years ago I started to cut the volume. I went down from the traditional bodybuilding thing, 3-4 exercises per muscle group, 8-12 reps per set, usually 60 seconds rest between sets. I changed in a very short time to only doing a handful of exercises, only for 2 hard sets per exercise, and I also changed to a lot longer rest periods in between sets. And as you described, I felt “empty and / or guilty” for a long time. Eventually I started to feel better about it, and while changing the numbers, my training also changed. I started to get a lot more out of the small amount of stuff I did. Nowadays I’m doing a lot less.

        In practice, measuring things is also important. Although, as mere mortals there are limits to what kind of measuring we can do. We can’t really go to cellular level to see what happens to our muscles etc. But we can still measure some things, depending what we’re after. A good way could be to measure weight and fat percentage. If the weight doesn’t alter and fat percentage stays the same, you are probably in a good place maintenance wise. Of course, we can’t all do that either. But mirror is a valuable tool too, and so are pictures. I wasn’t really into taking pictures in the past, and now I regret it, because they would’ve been a good way to gauge the progress / regress. Of course, provided they are taken in a similar circumstance every time they are taken. Also, your feelings are important. If you feel strong in whatever exercises you still do, then you’re most likely in a good place. If you start to feel a lot weaker and your numbers go down, that might be a bad thing.

        Going back to believing things. If you don’t believe what you are doing, you will easily start to fight against it. Then you might find yourself changing back to old, or overanalyzing things till the end of the world, changing routines etc. I don’t think that belief is going to provide some magical results, but if you don’t trust in what you are doing, it reflects on the doing itself.

        Once again, sorry for rambling. But I’ll end with the thread that I opened in the Natty Or Not forum https://nattyornotforum.com/showthread.php?tid=1089. In the end of the thread there are couple of pictures of me after about nine months of only doing three exercises, pullups, dips, and Bulgarian split squats. Usually all done twice a week for two hard sets all. The pictures were taken after a few weeks of dieting, so there was a cut. No, I don’t look like much, but I haven’t been training this little in over a decade. Oh yeah, my numbers stayed the same the whole time. I probably would’ve had the same results physique wise by cutting the training volume even a lot more. I only kept doing all the exercises twice a week because I felt and still feel that I need the strength training for my mental health.

        1. peketudo

          I have read your posts on the forum. Maybe one day I will post my experiences but in dating, as catarsis. Well, you seems to be fine, You don’t look older than 40. So, training keeps people youthful if they are constant.
          Now i have more faith on my new plan.Basically i will reduce the frecuency in some exercises. Then i will see if i must keep the volume and intensity.

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