Can I survive in IB without taking caffeine (and general health tips to stay in shape)?

Hey guys, I'm an incoming SA for this summer and just looking for small tips on keeping my health up and keeping up with the hours.

Health-wise, I'm not the best. I have a herniated disc so I have to be super keen and conscious on maintaining a good posture, and not gonna lie I've gained quite a bit of weight over the last year (10kg). I'm not proud, and I'm trying to exercise and hold myself accountable, but it's been tough.

I talked with an analyst at the firm I'm working at, and they had one tip for staying relatively healthy and it was too not eat much (lmao). It wasn't directed at me, but they said they like to eat light (lots of veggies, salads, I guess basically eat healthy) and it keeps them energized. I think it makes sense - intuitively sounds better than eating steak or something greasy everyday.

It might sound a little hypocritical given I'm not in the best physical shape, but at the same time I just don't want to lose my physical and mental health when I start this internship and potentially full-time. So I'm wondering what tips you guys have on staying healthy and maintaining a relatively healthy mindset. Any diet tips? Anybody else can attest to a good diet keeping them relatively energized throughout the day?

Another slight concern of mine is the hours and specifically staying up awake. I rarely drink coffee (like twice a year we're talking) and don't drink energy drinks. I have been able to survive and function relatively decently without it, and don't plan on ever being dependent on it. In general, I get sleepy at times throughout the day and it's something I am trying to work on. I will be working long hours this summer and again, don't plan on starting to depend on coffee any time soon so I'm wondering what tips you guys have on staying energized throughout the day. Is coffee/caffeine really necessary to function? I just don't see how it could work for me personally. Thank you!

Comments (24)

cyberpunk, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ask for an ergonomic chair or desk arrangement, all banks have facility services that can help you with that.
Keep an eye on diet, work outs, cardio,.. to keep your weight in check. We all have to do it, it's not just you.
I don't drink any coffee or tea and have stopped drinking Pepsi or energy drinks. I get a full night of sleep and listen to music/relax whenever possible.

It is possible to do it without caffeine.

  • Intern in IB - Cov

will be tough to be honest. get a pack of zyns and a large coffee to start ur day

  • 22
  • Intern in IB - Cov

Nic combined with coffee is going to have you blowing up the floor bathroom before 10am

  • 1
Most Helpful
Count WACCula, what's your opinion? Comment below:

For me, I make a specific point of going for a run before work - it helps get the right hormones moving so you'll start the day feeling awake and good, and it's extremely common in IB to have well-meaning evening workout plans derailed. I try to do it outside too, which I think helps me psychologically, but I'm not sure if that's a possibility for you.

I also take effervescent tablets to make sure I get the right vitamins, but if you can be more disciplined around diet than I am, this might not be necessary.

I'd also add that it's not just you - it's a tough industry physically. I don't mean that in a patronising way, but more in a supportive "you're not alone" type of way. If you're having a really tough day, then remember it's not that you're not measuring up in any way - we've all had those days when we feel drained. 

MrPermaBear, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I have avoided caffeine for a little over a year now. I think I'm actually better off without it, so you may not have issues there. I've always thought that drinking too much caffeine actually lowers your energy baseline, and so caffeine becomes needed to bring you back to "normal" rather than give you a boost. I've had more consistent energy since quitting.

I've found that sneaking in short runs in the morning and meditation helps me tremendously. A solid 10 minutes of meditating can be as beneficial as a nap sometimes. Cardio is key for stress management and I've also found it to be the best for overall health. Give it a shot and see it you enjoy it. Ultimately, you should find an exercise routine you enjoy.

dawgs.100, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you're not going to drink coffee, then key is to maximize sleep (stating the obvious). Learn about circadian rhythm and different sleep cycles (never hit snooze, expose yourself to proper type of light in the mornings and evening etc.). If you have ability to ever WFH, then learn how to take short power naps in the absence of drinking a coffee. If you train yourself properly, then you can rely on less sleep than you'd think. 

In terms of diet, optimize for hydration and low glycemic foods. Hydration can cause fatigue and eating high glycemic foods (such as a pizza at dinner) will cause blood sugar to spike and crash and make you feel tired.

Key is to just find the biggest levers you can pull for your health and try to be consistent with them throughout your time in banking.

  • 2
  • Intern in IB - Restr

Did you mean dehydration can cause fatigue? Or do I need to stop drinking water?

  • 1
  • Teller in IB-M&A

I don't like pooping at work.

  • 1
  • Director in IB - Gen

I quit halfway through my first year in IB after being a 5+ cup a day drinker. Withdrawal sucked but my quality of sleep and anxiety dramatically improved. I also realized half the time I wanted to drink coffee I was actually just dehydrated. Have some electrolytes in the morning instead and see how quickly you feel awake.  

  • 1
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov

Drink Gatorade. I always drink a bottle before work and a bottle at lunch. 

thij, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Gatorade is nothing but processed sugar and artificial colors. Look into salt water, coconut water, bone broth, green tea etc. instead - they are nature's electrolytes. 

aw.ib, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I definitely didn't do without caffeine at all, but ice cold water right at the desk in the morning helped. My biggest lull periods were typically in the afternoon after lunch – learned midway through that for me, it was most effective having light lunch (of course) but also protein / snack bars throughout that period to give a kick. When I did need caffeine, the plain CVS caffeine tablets were quite helpful; small portion went a long way and activated quite quickly when needing to be attentive, like a 7a management call...

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A

You don't need coffee (I rarely drink it - like once a month). The adrenaline from a live deal and fear of my VP reaming me out keeps me awake. I also stand up throughout the day and try to move around which helps, if you doze off walk to the water fountain or bathroom and back. 

  • 1
mergelord11, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Restless, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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