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Welcome to episode 28 of the 911 Shift Ready Podcast.

Today we’re going to dive into coffee.

What would your life be like if you could enjoy coffee when you wanted but you didn’t need a coffee to get going in the morning or to keep your energy up on shift?

Many, many of you love the taste of coffee. And it’s a definitely a big part of the culture.

With fire I’ve heard so many times from responders who have come into my 911 Elite Performance Program and I start talking about coffee. They’re like, no way. They’re like, I am not giving up coffee. Coffee is our culture.

That is where we’re all sitting around the table. That is where stories happen. That is where bonding happens. I’m not giving that up.

And I’m not at all asking you to give that up.

That is hugely important. That bonding. That time that you all have the experiences. Just going to a coffee shop on your day off or in the morning on a day off, being able to, you know, sit in the sun with the paper and have a coffee and relax.

If you’re at a stage of life where little ones aren’t all around you and you’re able to do that, should happen. Absolutely hands down.

I’m not taking any of that away from you.

The problem is when coffee starts to rule you.

If you are needing two or more coffees on a shift to make it through then coffee is most likely starting to control you.

And I get it, everybody does it.

Coffee is everywhere and I get that. But because everybody does it, does that mean that it is the best option for you in order to keep your energy up on shift?

If coffee increases your energy on shift then why do you need more and more coffee over time, in order to get the same energy hit that coffee used to give you.

Or worse, eventually not even getting a hit at all for some people.

How can that be if coffee is increasing your energy on shift then why do you need more coffee?

Why do you eventually need two or three in order to get that same feeling?

Now I get this like in the beginning of your career, what happens for a lot of you is you’re having that one coffee.

It’s good, it gets you through shift but then it doesn’t. We need to have more and more of them to keep getting you over shift.

If coffee really did increase your energy then wouldn’t first responders have lots of energy all of the time?

Wouldn’t you?

If you are drinking three coffees, shouldn’t you have all this energy on shift?

Shouldn’t you be able to really get through your paperwork easily. Shouldn’t things be easier if coffee was the solution?

Think of this like a cell phone battery.

At the start, you have this cell phone, you charge it. It lasts a long time.

It may last your entire day, your shift, depending on what you’re asking of your phone and what apps you have on it. But over time, what happens is that battery stays charged for less and less time and it gets to the point where your cell phone needs to be plugged in all the time and it just won’t hold that charge.

Or we can also think if you do have a situation where your gas tank seems to be emptying faster and faster, would you be okay with this?

Are you okay with your phone that needs to continually be plugged in or charge more and more frequently or would you figure out how to solve that problem?

If your car started going through gas much faster, especially with prices of gas now, would you be okay with that or would you take that car to the mechanic so that they could fix the problem so that you weren’t going through gas as fast?

I don’t think any of us would. I know I wouldn’t, and I know my husband definitely wouldn’t.

So why are you relying on coffee in order to keep you going through shift?

Especially if over time coffee has less and less of an effect on you and you need more and more of them.

Just because everyone else is doing it. Does that make it okay? Does that make it the best option?

Have you ever stopped to wonder if coffee was helping you stay operationally strong and alert through shift? Or have you ever wondered if coffee was more of a bandaid that gave you fake energy and didn’t help your body gain back energy?

Have you ever thought about this, is coffee really helping me get through shift?

Is it helping me stay strong operationally?

Yes, there are studies out there that say that sometimes before a workout a coffee is good but there are definite studies too that talk about what happens as to why you need more and more and more coffee for it to have the same effect and what it does to your body.

There’s a time and place for everything. But once you start needing two or more coffees to make it through your shift, is it benefiting you?

In my 911 Elite Performance Program, we help responders go from needing two or more coffees to making it through shift without needing any coffee at all. Like none.

It gets to the point where they choose when to have a coffee or not. It becomes their choice. Coffee stops ruling them.

Their energy is good throughout their entire shift and coffee becomes something when they want it, not when they need it.

That being said, there are still going to be the odd shifts where you have done everything or you know that you weren’t able to do the things you needed to do, where you do need that hit from a coffee but you also know that that’s not your daily solution for it.

And you know why you’re having it that day. And why you’re not going to need it the next day because the tools that you’re going to take out are going to have you waking with energy.

So essentially those that we do work with at 911 Elite Performance, coffee stops ruling them. They gain back control of coffee.

If you do want to enjoy your coffee and not have that control, email me and ask more about the 911 Elite Performance Program to see if you are a candidate for best results.

I’ll talk you through more of what we do beyond coffee. You may want to check out the episode that we just did before this episode 27 that really dives into things that we do.

It’ll help you understand how we get you off of coffee as well.

So let’s dive into what coffee does because understanding a little bit about what coffee does in your body will help you understand why it gives you some energy and then why you crash after.

And when you don’t understand how coffee gives you the energy, it’s very easy to mistake that it’s actually benefiting you. And then it puts yourself into burnout without even realizing it.

Coffee, there’s a hormone we’re going to talk about called Adenosine.

Adenosine starts accumulating in your body as you’re awake.

The longer that you are awake, the more Adenosine accumulates in your body.

And each of these Adenosine hormones they attach to a receptor site.

The more Adenosine that attaches to these receptor sites, the more tired you feel.

So that by the end of your day you have a lot of adenosine attached to your receptor sites and your body knows that it’s time to start sleeping.

Your body knows that it’s time to start switching into the proper sleep hormones to get your body healing and repairing.

The more adenosine that you have, the sleepier you feel. We can call this like a sleep pressure and the weight of sleepiness builds as the adenosine builds.

Then caffeine comes in.

Caffeine comes in and it doesn’t have a receptor site in your body. And it loves the receptor site that adenosine attaches to. And so it comes in and bullies out the adenosine, it forces them off of the receptor site. So they just start floating around in your body and it takes over the receptor site.

Then coffee inactivates that receptor site.

That sense of sleepiness, that weight that you were feeling kind of goes away. The adenosine itself didn’t go away. It’s still floating around in your body.

But because it’s not attached to the receptor site, it’s not doing its job of making you feel sleepy.

So this caffeine goes in, takes that receptor site, the adenosine is kicked out.

So the adenosine is not making you feel sleepy.

With less receptor sites that the adenosine is attached to, your brain gets this false sense of how long you’ve been awake and it momentarily helps you feel alert.

But the thing is, is that they’re still floating around and even if they can’t attach to a receptor site because there’s enough caffeine on enough of those receptor sites then there’s still though creating more and more the longer you’re awake.

So if you’re awake for another hour then that will still accumulate more adenosine.

Coffee has a life, I believe. Ooh, I’d have to go back to these stats, so don’t quote me on it. Two to four hours, is it two to six hours?

I’d have to go to my stats, but it’s something like two to six, two to four hours for a cup of coffee in your system.

So that’s how long they’re attached to those receptor sites.

And so during that timeframe, this adenosine is accumulating and there’s more and more and more of them. But eventually the caffeine starts to get bored. Decide, Hey, it’s time for me to go. It starts, you know, leaving your body and it detaches from the receptor site.

And now the receptor sites are all available because you drank the coffee at the same time. They detach from the receptor sites around the same time and all of the Adenosine, the ones that lost their place, as well as all of the other ones that accumulated while the coffee had taken over, they all attach to those receptor sites.

And oh man, that’s when you go, that’s when that crash happens.

And you instantly feel this, this sleepiness hit you.

Cause all of Adenosine comes back again. So then you’re like, oh, I need another coffee.

You get another one. Same thing happens again. But same thing, the adenosine doesn’t leave. It doesn’t disappear.

It just floats around the body until the receptor sites are available again from that coffee but you get a larger crash.

Hopefully that helps make sense as to why coffee gives gives you energy, that false sense of energy and why you feel sleepy after that crash.

There’s more science to dive into why you actually can’t fall asleep.

It’s because the quick and dirty is that the caffeine is still in your system. Still trying to break down and stuff and wreaking other havoc in your body but it is left that receptor site in order to go and do more damage.

So you do struggle to sleep after coffee and get into a good sleep for other reasons that we don’t need to dive into right now.

But for you to understand that even though you get this crash of adenosine and the adenosine is telling your body it’s time to sleep, the caffeine is doing other things in your body to say, Hmm, yeah, I know you’ve got adenosine in there and I know that it’s built up, but yeah, I’m not going to let you sleep right now.

This is one of the reasons that many professional athletes, they aren’t sipping coffee on the sidelines.

Tom Brady. Tom Brady would not be relying on coffee to make it through a day. If his energy starts decreasing mid game, any athlete’s energy starts decreasing mid game. They’re going to start figuring out why.

What do they need to do beforehand in order to make sure that their energy is at higher levels before they start the game? Their focused so that everything is working aligned so that they don’t need to have something to give them energy in the middle of a game.

And that’s the same for you. You are tactical athletes, right?

In order to be a tactical athlete, we need to abide by some of the strategies and stuff that athletes use.

Jocko Willink, Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman, David Goggins, they definitely don’t use coffee to make it through their day cause they know that there are a lot of other options that serve them better than coffee because they are tactical athletes.

As a tactical athlete, it’s important to have all the tools ready so that when you’re starting your shift, your energy is good. When you’re waking up, your energy is good to last your day instead of relying on something because your energy didn’t last.

Let’s start working on the other solutions instead.

In our 911 Elite Performance Program, it is interesting hearing first responders when they are hearing about coffee at the start and like, no way I could never do this. And then having some of those where I’m like, you don’t have to give it up.

You don’t have to at all give it up. That some don’t, some still have one coffee a day. Some have one coffee a couple of times a week. But some of them that actually thought it would be the hardest and it would be the worst, they are actually the ones that actually get out all together, which is fascinating.

I find this just so cool and so fascinating.

There’s no judgment either way. You like it, you keep it. You have some still just understanding when and how so that it is not ruling you, so it’s not controlling you.

If coffee isn’t what will help you gain energy for your shift, what do we teach those in our 911 Elite Performance Program in order to gain back that energy and maintain the operational endurance on shift, even with OT, when they’re on special operations and a lot is being asked of them? What do we do?

When we continue to ignore why you need coffee and we continue to use it for energy then we’re missing these signals that our body is telling us.

The signals that I spoke of with professional athlete If their energy’s crashing mid game, they don’t think, oh, I’m just going to continue to have an energy drink or a coffee in the middle of each game.

They’re going to go, why did my energy stop? What was it that caused my energy to not be where I needed it to be to make it through that game, to excel in that game?

And if you do continue to rely on coffee then you’re going to continue waking up more exhausted.

You’re going to need more and more coffee over time.

And coffee is going to help boost your energy less and less. And it will actually take the enjoyment of coffee away.

When you decide coffee’s not going to rule you anymore.

When you put the right steps in for coffee, not to rule you anymore and you can actually sit in the fire hall at the table and enjoy every sip of that cup of coffee because you’re making the choice to have, it’s actually tastes a lot better.

So let’s figure out how to keep your energy high.

The obvious one is sleep. Sleep is actually tough on a shift work schedule.

If you did listen to my podcast episode before this, I do highly recommend that you go back to it episode 27. We actually use, health trackers in order to help me know what is and isn’t working for each one of you in order to help get you into a better sleep.

When you’re working shifts, 24’s are easier to actually work around than the 12’s, days, evenings, night shifts. But still with the 24 hour shift, 48 hour shift, I was talking to fire guy last week, 144, six days of mandatory OT, busy stations, 10 to 15 calls per station.

And when you’re on these shifts, you’re being woken up in the middle of the night. Or you’re not sleeping at night, you’re working on night, sleeping in the day.

Your body stops knowing when to wake and when to sleep. And when we continue to use strategies that civilians use where we’re using the sunrise and sunset to help manage our sleep then we keep waking up mid sleep, your body ends up being so confused. Absolutely so confused as to when to sleep and when to wake.

As I talk about in episode 27, in my 911 Elite Performance Program, we really dive into health tracker data to be able to, we first teach you all different sleep tools to stay operationally strong. We teach you strong resting system.

We teach you all kinds of tools that your body needs in order to stay operationally strong. But then we refine it for you because each one of you is going to be different.

What Tom Brady needs is going to be different than what Shaq O’Neal, I know I’m dating myself. What Shaquille O’Neal needs versus what Tom Brady needs in order to keep their energy up before a shift.

It’s going to be different. Their game times are different. Their schedules are different. Football is Sundays, basketball is multiple times during the week, different time zones.

There’s a lot of different things that they need to factor in too for each individual person.

And that’s where having a health tracker really does help me as the coach to be able to dial in on what tools that I teach you are going to be beneficial for you based on what is happening on your shift.

The goal is for you to be able to recover quickly after you have overtime, after you’ve done a 24, a 12 hour shift and you’re switching days, nights all over.

We want to make sure that your body has energy for those shifts as best as possible and can recover as quickly after.

I’m pretty sure that your intention is to get a solid sleep.

But how can you expect your body to know when you’re ready to sleep and when it should be healing and repairing and then when you need to wake up with energy, when you are continually sending it mixed signals?

You never sleeping at the same time of day. You could be sleeping and woken up at all times, day or night. Your body really doesn’t know which end is up.

That we need to have specific tools for you as a first responder so that you can signal your body to know when it’s time to sleep but in a way so that you’re not medicated and a call comes through your totally alert for the call.

And then what to do after that call in order to fall back asleep or how to fall back asleep, fall into a good sleep after your shift.

All of these things are so individual to what happens to you and we have to stop thinking like a civilian and start thinking like a tactical athlete that you are as a first responder.

It’s a lot to expect of your body to just intuitively know what is going to happen and when?

It’s kind of like we think back to dating, you have no idea what the other person is thinking.

And when somebody is sending you mixed signals, they talk to you for a few days and then they don’t talk to you for a few days and you have no idea which end is up, right? Like, do they like me? Do they not? What’s happening? I don’t know?

And these are the cues and signals that you are sending to your brain.

As a wife, I always have a plan B when we have anything planned with my husband’s shifts about to end because we don’t know if he’s going to get off or not. I always have to either be available or make sure that I have a backup plan if he’s not going to get off on time.

We can’t play by a regular schedule, so we need to start giving your body the right cues.

And if you don’t give your body the right cues then your body just really won’t know when you need to sleep.

You will also not be able to fall asleep or get into a really good quality sleep because your body’s like, really?

Are you going to sleep right now? Like, is this the time? Because this isn’t the time you went to sleep yesterday.

It has no idea.

And that’s when we start grabbing more and more coffees and it starts controlling you.

So a quick recap of what we did go over today is that relying on coffee to keep your energy up on shift, it only lasts so long until that kick from the coffee doesn’t affect you as much anymore.

Or you need coffee just to barely function.

Coffee gives your sleep signal a timeout. And those sleep signals, the adenosine, they accumulate while you’re awake. And when the coffee is in your system, the adenoside gets kicked out of the receptor site. So it doesn’t allow your body to let you know how long you’ve been up and how tired you’re getting.

Still floating around in your brain. Still accumulating more cause you’re awake and as soon the caffeine is off of that receptor site, all of the adenosine start hopping on and your body just crashes.

And the solution at that point in time is, Hey, let’s grab another coffee so that I don’t feel this crash again.

And you just crash harder the next time.

When you’re working a shift schedule 24 hours, shifts and your body just doesn’t know when to naturally kick in for sleep, when to naturally wake up for your day with your cortisol, your energy hormone at its highest that we need to start thinking more outside of the box.

We need to start thinking that you are not a civilian and you don’t live a civilian schedule. And we need to start giving you the cues that your body needs on shift.

Giving your body these right cues and tools before you go to sleep and when you wake up will signal those sleep hormones. And it will help your body start healing or repairing better.

You’ll end up with wake hormones in the morning that will give you be at your highest, giving you energy for your entire shift and have energy for your family without needing coffee or other stimulants in order to help you make it through shift.

Coffee is definitely something to be enjoyed when you want.

But not a substance to abuse when you need energy.

If you would like to start working on increasing your energy so that coffee does not rule you anymore, email me and tell me what would be great when coffee stopped ruling you. Email me and let me know.

And from there I’ll give you a link to my calendar where you can book a call with me and we can talk more about your energy, your coffee, your sleep, other things that you’re doing to help it to stay strong, your workouts, supplements, all kinds of things.

And we can see if 911 Elite Performance is the best option for you. So email me and I will see you in the next episode.

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