Does Coffee Work as a Pre-workout? (Interesting Take)

Short answer: Coffee works great as a pre-workout. It’s known to enhance sports performance by increasing strength, alertness, endurance, power, and energy levels during a workout.

Though there are many options available for pre-workout drinks, coffee tends to be one of the most popular ones. 

Its low cost and high caffeine content make it a good choice for those needing to aid their exercise performance.

Despite the known benefits of coffee, some people still wonder whether it’s the right choice as a pre-workout or if there are any side effects of drinking coffee before a workout.

If you are also doubtful, this article can be a great and helpful guide as I will be discussing whether there lie any benefits in drinking coffee as a pre-workout and which coffee types are the best to drink before a workout.

Keep reading to explore!

Are there any benefits of drinking coffee before workout?

A few coffee beans on white background where caffeine is scribbled.

Coffee is not only safe but also beneficial to drink as a pre-workout.

As we all know coffee is a great drink!

It’s not just tasty and affordable but also has several health benefits due to the amount of caffeine, antioxidants, and nutrients it contains. 

You can get the most out of your fitness regime if you make a habit of drinking a cup of coffee before starting your workout.

Here are 5 ways in which coffee proves to be an excellent pre-workout drink:

Coffee helps in improving focus

Everybody knows that coffee is a natural source of caffeine. 

Caffeine works as a stimulant for your central nervous system and boosts dopamine production which maintains concentration and controls your ability to focus.

This way caffeine lets you stay more active and move through a tougher workout.

Coffee can indeed help you achieve your fitness goals!

Coffee helps in improving your workout performance

As soon as caffeine enters your body, it causes your blood pressure and heart rate to increase.

Fat also gets broken down at a faster pace and fatty acids are produced which supplies the body with more energy.

study published in the British Journal of Sports Science states caffeine is a powerful ergogenic aid, that gives athletes the power to train longer. It also experimented that participants who drank coffee before running 1,500 meters on the treadmill finished their run around 4.2 seconds faster than their other counterparts.

Coffee helps in decreasing muscle pain

It has been observed that drinking coffee as pre-workout reduced muscle pain. 

This is because the release of dopamine and beta-endorphins with the consumption of coffee act as natural pain-killing neurotransmitters.

Apart from that, caffeine is also known to increase muscular strength, endurance, and power.

Coffee helps in improving workout recovery

Not only does the caffeine in coffee help during a workout, but it also tends to decrease post-workout muscle soreness. 

Researchers recommend drinking a cup of warm coffee after 24 to 48 hours after a workout to reduce post-workout pain by half.

The post-workout pain is caused by excessive inflammation in the body. Natural antioxidants in coffee help in the recovery process by clearing some of that post-work-out inflammation.

You can read more about coffee and the antioxidants it contains in this article I wrote if you’re interested.

Coffee helps accelerate fat loss

This might be the biggest reason for many people to drink coffee before a workout as they are working hard to shed off their body fat faster. 

Drinking coffee as a pre-workout can make use of fat cells in the body as an energy source.

Also, high amounts of caffeine in black coffee are known to increase your metabolism.

The good news is coffee helps you in burning more calories all day long!

Drinking it before a heavy workout tends to enhance that effect even more.

Watch the video to know more about how caffeine affects your body if you consume it before a workout.

Should you take coffee before a workout?

Timing and dosage of drinking coffee as a pre-workout

The best time to drink coffee as a pre-workout is around 45–60 minutes before exercise so that the caffeine gets absorbed into the bloodstream to provide the optimum results.

Many kinds of research suggest that the dosage of caffeine should lie between 135–405 mg for a 150-pound (68-kg) body weight.

On average, a cup of coffee has around 100 mg of caffeine in it. 

Therefore, having 1–2 cups (240–475 mL) of coffee around 45–60 minutes before your workout will effectively provide you with the required caffeine dose to enhance your workout performance.

Which types of coffee to drink as pre-workout?

Four cups of coffee.

Any kind of regular or brewed coffee is likely to have similar benefits in enhancing your workout performance. Having said that, it’s always better to opt for plain black coffee as it’s the least in calories, especially if you plan to do fasted cardio.

Specialty coffees are better to be avoided before a workout as they’re high in sugar and calories. They will not only hinder your fitness goals, but these drinks are harder to digest too.

Should you drink coffee instead of a pre-workout supplement?

Personally, I think drinking coffee instead of a pre-workout is better. Though many pre-workout supplements are marketed to contain the best energy boosting and fat burning substances, there are two main reasons why people prefer coffee over them:

  • Side effects

They have comparatively more side effects than coffee.

As pre-workouts contain added caffeine, many times the amount is more than the recommended dose to bring a quicker result. This can leave adverse effects on overall health.

  • Trustworthiness of Ingredients

A major reason to be conscious about the ingredients of pre-workouts is that they’re not regulated by the FDA. This means there’s no assurance of the quality of ingredients used in them.

On the other hand, coffee is a natural source of caffeine, rich in antioxidants, and easily available at a comparatively lower cost than other pre-workout drinks and supplements. 

You just need to watch over the doses of your consumption.

However, the decision of what to choose lies in your preferences. If you know a reliable company that gives guaranteed results, there’s no harm in trying out pre-workouts other than coffee.

The table below shows a small comparison between coffee and other pre-workouts.

CoffeePre-workout
Enhances performance Enhances performance
Black coffee will not break a fastEasier to prepare
Easily accessible Added ingredients that you may not need
CheapCan be expensive
Comparison between coffee and a pre-workout

To sum it all up

A woman working out

Coffee is a great drink to choose as your pre-workout. It’s high in antioxidants and benefits you and me in many healthy ways.

Apart from that, its caffeine content is known to keep you alert and active!

It energizes you while helping in burning your body fat at the same time which positively influences your exercise performance in many ways.

The best time to drink coffee as a pre-workout is around 45–60 minutes before exercise so that the caffeine may get absorbed into the bloodstream to provide optimum results. 

But as I always say here, the consumption should be kept in moderation as consuming more than the recommended dose may also leave adverse effects on your overall health.

Though all types of coffee respond in a similarly positive way towards your workout performance, drinking plain black before a workout can yield the most benefit as it is low in calories and helps in boosting your metabolism.

I highly recommend that you should drink coffee instead of a pre-workout as it’s a natural source of caffeine and is easily available at a lower cost whereas other pre-workout supplements can have side effects as they have added caffeine in them.

Most of all they are not regulated by the FDA which also develops trust issues regarding the quality of ingredients used in them.

Many people prefer to work out on an empty stomach while some tend to be sensitive to caffeine.

It’s always best to listen to your own body than the clever marketing tactics of companies.

People having medical conditions like hypertension, insomnia, caffeine sensitivity, or who are pregnant should consult their physician before planning to choose coffee as their pre-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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