Should You Drink Coffee Before Training?

A multimillion-dollar business has been developed around improving workout performance. Yet, with only a cup of coffee, many claim, you can reap the same benefits as an expensive pre-workout.

So, how beneficial is an old-fashioned cuppa joe ahead of your workout?

Let’s investigate.

When discussing the advantages of coffee for exercise, we tend to think of caffeine only. But your cup of coffee is more than just caffeine. Here are two additional ingredients in coffee that will enhance your ability to exercise:

  • Chlorogenic acids - may assist in controlling blood sugar levels and reducing the pace at which carbs are absorbed.
  • Niacin, or Vitamin B3, increases blood fat levels and improves concentration.

Your blood caffeine levels will peak 45 minutes after you consume a cup of coffee. The caffeine will travel to every part of your body and affect your cells. Here’s how they’ll be positively affected:

Caffeine is classified as a stimulant because it affects the central nervous system. Studies show it boosts energy levels and increases muscle endurance during exercise. Caffeine's impact on the central nervous system can also speed up muscle reaction time. [1] [2]

Caffeine's stimulation of the central nervous system has been shown in studies to increase muscle strength when performing resistance exercises. Researchers are not sure as to just how this takes place.

Additionally, caffeine raises the body's levels of adrenaline. The fight-or-flight response is triggered, which boosts physical capability.

Because of caffeine's impact on the central nervous system, you'll feel less worn out during your workout when you take caffeine before your workout.

A workout you should try:

Parts of the cerebral cortex of the brain have been demonstrated to be significantly impacted by caffeine. Caffeine has a focus-enhancing impact, so you will be better able to strengthen the mind-muscle connection and stay focused when exercising. [3]

Beta-endorphin synthesis in the body has also been proven to rise with caffeine consumption. During and after exercise, these endorphins cause a natural high that makes us feel good about what we're doing.[4]

Caffeine's impact on the central nervous system includes its ability to trigger the body's fat cells to start dissolving. Epinephrine is the hormone that controls this effect.

The resting metabolic rate (RMR) of a person can rise by as much as 11% as a result of caffeine's performance-enhancing effects. Your ability to burn calories will increase with your RMR, which will help you achieve the negative calorie balance required for fat loss. [5]

Pre-workout caffeine has a number of indisputable advantages, but there are also certain risks to be aware of. Four potential drawbacks of developing a pre-workout coffee habit are:

  • Exercise can impede digestion because it causes the body to divert blood away from the stomach. Stomach pain may occur from this. As a result, some individuals may prefer to abstain from eating or drinking anything prior to exercising.
  • Caffeine sensitivity can make some people wired and jittery, as well as cause bloating, gas, and other digestive distress.
  • Having coffee makes it more difficult to fall asleep. If you exercise in the evening, your pre-workout coffee may make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
  • Caffeine may cause an energy crash about an hour after consuming it. That’s because caffeine inhibits adenosine, which promotes sleep and suppresses arousal. But then, as the effects of caffeine wear off, adenosine levels go up, making you more tired. The more caffeine you have, the more pronounced the crash effect will be.
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Up to 400 mg of caffeine per day is generally tolerated by most people. However, about one in ten people is extremely sensitive to caffeine. One cup of coffee, which has roughly 95 mg of caffeine, may cause them to suffer the following unfavorable side effects:

  • elevated heart rate
  • tremors
  • insomnia
  • upset stomach
  • anxiety

Caffeine intake for pregnant women should not exceed 200 mg daily. Before consuming coffee as part of a supplement plan for sports or exercise, they should speak with their doctor.

Research from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) suggests that, to improve workout performance, a person should consume 0.9 to 2.7 mg of caffeine per pound of body weight. The lower range is acceptable for casual gym users, while the upper range is best for elite endurance athletes. Men need to take a little bit more caffeine than women.[6]

If you are a 175-pound man who works out in the gym three to four days each week, you should take roughly 1.2 mg per pound of bodyweight. That amounts to 210 mg of caffeine (1.2 x 175) before working out. The amount is comparable to two full cups.

To give its ingredients time to work through, aim to consume your pre-workout coffee 45–60 minutes before you head to the gym.

It's a good idea to have a cup of coffee approximately 45 minutes before you go to the gym. Depending on how intense your workout is, use a dosage range of 0.9 to 2.7 mg, and steer clear of coffee within 5 hours of going to bed. By doing these steps, you'll be preparing yourself for a more concentrated, energizing, and effective workout.

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Steve Theunissen is a freelance writer living in Tauranga, New Zealand. He is a former gym owner and personal trainer and is the author of six hardcopy books and more than a hundred ebooks on the topics of bodybuilding, fitness and fat loss. Steve also writes history books with a focus on the history of warfare. He is married and has two daughters.

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