Best Coffee for Workouts (Coffee as a Pre-workout)

Coffee and exercise are a powerful combo.

Your cup of java is packed with promising health benefits. It is shown to boost energy levels and metabolic rate. 

It is a well-known stimulant that aids with sports performance and increases your strength, endurance, power, alertness, and energy levels during a workout.

Having a solid cup of coffee before your workout brings the perfect jolt needed in the gym. 

According to one of the journals of Applied Physiology, a cup of coffee before an exercise can make you feel more energetic and enjoyable. 

Caffeine in coffee can significantly boost your exercise performance, focus, and even fat-burning efforts. However, not all coffee gives the same kick, which brings the question of what the best coffee is for workouts.

Short Answer: Regular brewed coffee is best for workouts without fancy toppings of cream, sugar, and additives. 

In this article, I am going to talk about the best coffee for workouts, some important FAQs, and the pros ad cons of having coffee before a workout. Let’s go!

Can you use coffee as a pre-workout?

a shirtless man lifting a dumbbell

Coffee can be used as a pre-workout drink. It is beneficial for both cardio and strength training.

Drinking coffee around an hour before a workout allows for caffeine to reach its peak effectiveness. 

Studies indicate that caffeine is beneficial for workouts when consumed in doses of 0.9–2.7mg per pound of body weight. I wrote an entire article on how coffee can work as a pre-workout and you can check it here if you’re interested.

To learn more about caffeine role as a pre-workout drink watch the video below:

When should you drink coffee: before or after a workout?

The best time to sip on your cup of coffee is 45 minutes before a workout. 

Effects of coffee start right after taking the first few sips, but the energy level reaches its peak about 45 minutes after drinking coffee. 

Best Coffee for Workout 

Most studies that have analyzed regular coffee’s effects on sports performance show excellent results in boosting performance and strength.

Some of the best brewing methods for workouts are:

  • Cold brew
  • Espresso
  • French press
  • Cafetier
  • Filter

Cold brew

The cold-brew method delivers a bold coffee concentrate for gym enthusiasts.

It contains uber caffeine and is 50 percent less acidic than other regular brews. The best part you can extract the caffeine is by steeping coffee grounds in cool water for 12 to 24 hours, depending on your taste preference. 

Dilute the coffee extract with cold water or drink it straight. Then buckle up and hit the gym. 

Espresso 

According to the University of Granada, a strong cup of coffee half an hour before a workout can help in burning fats.

The best part? A shot of espresso won’t weigh you down and will come in handy to make if you’re running late for the gym. 

To make it work, take the shot that contains about 75 milligrams of caffeine about 30 minutes before your workout to reap the best effects of the caffeine during your intense workout.

Black Coffee

It is recommended to consume black coffee before a workout. It can let fat cells be employed as an energy source as opposed to glycogen.

Moreover, black coffee contains a high amount of caffeine that will boost your metabolism, making you burn more calories throughout the day.  

During exercise, glycogen is used as the muscle’s primary fuel source. It is supplied more rapidly when you ingest both carbohydrates and caffeine after intense exercise, thus improving the performance.

Lastly, having a black cup of coffee after a workout also helps refuel muscles and recover fast from rigorous workout sessions.

French Press Brew

French press is another excellent option for pre-workout. 

You should consistently brew coffee in a french press for at least four minutes so that it will provide more caffeine than the filter and a good deal more than an espresso for your more tedious workouts.

Filter

Next up and last is filter coffee, which takes around three to four minutes to brew. 

More brew time equals more caffeine. That’s why the filter also makes a good energy source for intense workouts. 

The better option for those who get their fuel from a cafe is to always ask the barista for a filter rather than Americano if you want to kick start the exercise session right. 

To summarize the best coffee for the workout here is a table containing their calories and caffeine content:

CoffeeCaffeine (80z)Calories (per cup)
Cold Brew207 mg less than 5
Espresso 126 mg (double shot)3-5
Black Coffee96 mg 2-5
Fench Press Brew135 mg2-5
Filter150 mgless than 5
Best coffee for workouts

Which coffee is best for gym?

Cold-brew makes for a great pre-workout. Forget the sucralose, the chalky powder, and the shaker bottle. This one is easy. Just crack the lid and enjoy.

However, if you plan to do cardio or exercise before eating, I recommend drinking black coffee because it contains no carbs.

Avoid drinking specialty coffees or buying from a cafe that contains added syrups and flavorings, usually high in sugar and calories.

Is instant coffee good for workout?

Instant coffee is good for workouts. It is lower in caffeine and contains the same number of beneficial antioxidants as regular coffee.

You can drink more of it without feeling adverse side effects.

The caffeine content of one teaspoon of instant coffee is around 57 mg of caffeine. So, it is also a safe option for people who are sensitive to caffeine. 

Hot or cold coffee before workout?

Hot coffee is more beneficial than cold as a pre-workout.

The science behind this idea is simple. When you drink chilled coffee, it inhibits natural sweating and the regulatory response, triggering a temperature sensor that reduces sweat rate. This way, you end up heating too much after an intense workout due to t less effective cooling. 

On the flip side, hot coffee helps your brain signal that it’s about to heat, so the brain better increases the sweat rate to better cool down the body even before you start your heat up. 

Pros and cons of drinking coffee for a workout

If you are still not convinced why you need a cup of coffee before the next workout session, let’s dig into some of its pros and cons so it becomes clear for you if you need it and what’s the right time you should take it.

Improve Focus

According to the journal Psychopharmacology study, caffeine in coffee boosts alertness, mental focus, and cognitive functions. If you struggle to focus during pilot or yoga class, you should give the coffee a try, it can help with the added concentration needed for a good exercise. 

Enhance Performance

Studies show caffeine is an effective ergogenic that enhance time trial performance and help for sustained maximum endurance activity. 

The stimulant has proven helpful in increasing muscular performance. It can improve performance during intense 20 minutes of exercise — provided that you’re taking it in alongside food.

Coffee Make Workout More Enjoyable

Many coffee lovers have experienced firsthand that gulping down a cup of coffee keeps them enthusiastic during their workout. 

Even a small study result found that caffeine does increase EE (energy expenditure), which makes exercise more enjoyable.  

Reduce Muscle Pain

The University of Rhode Island study result shows that caffeine reduces the muscle soreness that many experiences after an intense workout. 

The study participants were able to complete more weight training reps during the final set. Similarly, drinking coffee before a workout helps with muscle recovery.  

Not Good For Evening Excercise

Coffee is an excellent addition to a fitness routine. However, if you exercise late at night or before bed, coffee might not be a good pre-workout for you. 

Why? 

Because it is recommended that one take their last cup of coffee of the day four to six hours before bedtime. That’s valid some people drink back-to-back espresso shots at night and still sleep early, but that doesn’t apply to everyone. 

Instead, try a homemade pre-workout protein pack drink and it will give you energy and make you fully charged.

Bottomline 

creamer being poured into a cup of coffee

All in all, as long as you’re drinking plenty of water—a cup of coffee before a workout is not only safe, but it could assist you in working out harder and longer.

I should also point out that there’s a thin line between curbing caffeine’s focus-boosting powers and feeling anxious and jittery. So don’t gulp down five espresso shots and expect to turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger and kill every workout. 

The average amount of coffee your body is used to will suffice the need for the perfect workout. 

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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