by Omar Fercha

“If it wasn’t for coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever.” – David Letterman

Hundreds of years ago, before civilization had fully formed, an Ethiopian goat herder was tending to his flock. He noticed them jumping and dancing around on the hillside. He investigated the area and determined they were eating the berries from what is now known as a coffee bush. The story varies from there, but it’s said he brought those berries to an Islamic monk, who objected to them on religious grounds and threw them in a fire where they were roasted and then used for the first cup of coffee. This is just one a few theories of how coffee/caffeine was discovered. HOWEVER it was discovered, though, we owe a great debt to that person!

These days, caffeine can be found in the 3 most popular drinks; coffee, tea, and cola. It’s everywhere! So how can we take this wonderful stimulant and use it to boost our powers while working? GREAT QUESTION! And, Work Right has your back. Find out here how to best use caffeine to boost your performance onsite. No need for applause or thanks, this is just what we do!

How Much Is Just Right?

To get the right boost in energy to benefit your mental and physical work performance, you’ll want between 3 and 6 milligrams of caffeine for every kilogram you weigh. So if you weigh 150lbs, that means you’ll want 210-630 milligrams of caffeine. A tall Starbucks coffee is 260 milligrams.

Timing Is Everything!

You’ll want to take your choice of caffeine product about an hour before work. This allows the caffeine to get circulated in your bloodstream. If you are on an empty stomach (not recommended before performing) caffeine can take effect in about 15 minutes. On a full stomach (highly recommended before performing) it can take caffeine about 45 minutes to take effect. Give your body the time it needs!


Once in, caffeine sticks around for a long time. It has about a 5 hour half-life. So, if you start with a larger dose in the morning, you may not need your  second cup mid day! Caffeine is metabolized by the liver and the harder you work, the faster it is metabolized (eating cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, – also boosts production of this enzyme).

Plan Your Intake

As Industrial Athletes, game day is everyday, so make sure you have a plan for performance! Everybody has a different response to caffeine. You may have to play with dosage to find what works best for you. If you’re like me and have coffee daily, you already have a higher tolerance. You’ll have to increase your dose on days you know you’ll have to up your performance level!

About Omar Fercha, LAT, ATC

Omar is a Portland, OR based Athletic Trainer with Work Right NW. He has 10+ years of experience working with youth to Division 1 athletes. Four years ago, he brought that experience to the sidelines of the industrial athlete. In his free time you can find him hiking with his wife, dogs, and brand new baby.

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips from Work Right NW!