Are you looking for an added edge in the gym? All you need is a cup of black coffee before your workout. And these 5 benefits of drinking coffee before exercising will help you understand why.
Do you drink coffee regularly? Do you prefer to live an active and healthy lifestyle, yet wonder if coffee is counterproductive to this? Can coffee’s diuretic effects negatively affect a workout? There is no need to fret!
Amongst coffee’s many health benefits, it is an ideal beverage to accompany a workout!
Not only does coffee wake you up, get you going and give you an energy boost, but it also offers both mental and physical benefits that can enhance your workout and help you reach your goals!
Benefits Of Drinking Coffee
Here are the main benefits of drinking coffee before working out:
1. Improved Micro-Circulation
One of the most important benefits of drinking coffee before a workout is improved micro-circulation.
Researchers at the University of the Ryukyus in Japan conducted a study that showed drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee leads to a 30 percent increase in blood flow over a 75-minute period. (1)
What does this mean for your workout? It means more oxygen!
Better blood circulation in the body directly correlates to the better and more efficient transport of oxygen to the muscles, improving endurance and stamina.
More oxygen in the muscles delays the onset of fatigue, making it easier to do longer workouts. A later onset of fatigue leads to an overall more quality workout!
Not to mention breathing during harder workout sessions is easier.
2. Less Pain
Working-out is hard. You push your body and exert more energy than usual all in the hope of getting or staying fit. You may be short of breath, and your muscles may be sore.
Despite being uncomfortable, many people put up with this fleeting pain to achieve their goals.
What if I told you that you could stay fit without the pain, or even with less pain? You would think that it is some gimmick, wouldn’t you?
In fact, drinking a cup of coffee before a workout can decrease perceived pain during a session!
Robert Moti, a former competitive cyclist and current professor of kinesiology at the University of Illinois showed that caffeine does indeed lower the level of perceived pain. He theorized that pain during exercise does not show tolerance effects to caffeine. (2)
Better yet, there was the same result for avid coffee-drinkers and non-coffee drinkers alike! Therefore, there is no need to worry about developing tolerance! In his study perceived pain level decreased the same across the board!
3. Muscle Fuel Preservation
Muscles are the most critical element in any workout, and of course, coffee benefits them!
Drinking coffee helps fuel muscles or specifically refuel muscles. Sufficiently fueled muscles lead to a better overall workout.
A study conducted by the Journal of Applied Physiology found that athletes who train daily can experience a 66% increase in muscle glycogen four hours after intensive glycogen-depleting exercise when consuming a caffeine/carbohydrate combo post-workout, instead of pure carbs.
Glycogen is a type of carbohydrate that is stored in the muscles and used as vital energy during a workout session. This helps in both power strength workouts and endurance workouts. (4)
Replenishing this means that you will have sufficient stored energy for your next session.
4. Muscle Preservation
Not only does drinking coffee help fuel muscles, but it also helps preserve them according to a study out of Coventry University. This showed that coffee could help offset the effects of aging in muscles. (5)
The study tested the effects on the muscles of the juvenile to the elderly.
Juvenile muscles showed the smallest effect suggesting that coffee does not improve developing muscles, but already mature or declining muscles.
Muscle preservation helps sustain your workout schedule overtime despite your age.
The most profound results were in the diaphragm which is the core muscle used for breathing and thus intake of oxygen. The second was in the extensor digitorum longus or EDL which is a muscle used for movement in the leg.
5. Increased Mental Capability
Coffee does not only offer physical benefits to improve your workout, but it also increases mental capabilities. This adds focus that can help drive a workout.
A study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research conducted a study in 2008 which found that drinking coffee before strenuous exercise can improve concentration. This happens especially when a person has not had sufficient sleep the night before. (6)
This is especially the case when drinking coffee in small doses over a period of three to four days, instead of a few cups in one sitting immediately before a workout.
Also, this study showed that coffee could help concentration in regards to dealing with stressful activities.
Another study out of John Hopkins University showed that coffee could enhance memory. (7)
This does not affect all of the memory. While the regular everyday type of memory tasks remain unaffected, more complicated and difficult tasks become easier.
Memory is essential to workouts. Improved memory can aid in recalling complete workout routines and sequences.
If competing, enhanced memory can help in making important on the court decisions.
Coffee = Increased Performance
With improved physical and mental capabilities, it only makes sense that coffee optimizes performance. Increased circulation, less pain perception, increased muscle fuel, muscle preservation, and enhanced mental skills together all lead to better results.
In fact, the NCAA limits caffeine intake to 12 micrograms per milliliter in the urine. Anything above this is considered performance-enhancing and therefore banned.
Up until 2003 caffeine was prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency, however, it recently found its way onto the monitoring list.
Do not be frightened! Coffee itself is not bad, but just like anything, too much can be a bad thing.
Remember To Drink Responsibly!
Follow these basic rules to drink coffee responsibly before workouts:
- Don’t overdo it. The recommended amount of caffeine for working out is up to 6 mg/kg of body weight.
- Be consistent! This helps your body adapt to the dehydration effects.
- Don’t forget to drink water throughout the day!
- It is best to avoid coffee up to six hours before sleeping to avoid sleeplessness.
- Balance is always key!
These aren’t all benefits of drinking coffee, but they’re the most important ones. You can find more health benefits of coffee here: Is Morning Coffee Healthy Or Not? 8 Reasons We Believe It Is.
And hopefully, we convinced you that a cup of coffee before your workout session won’t do you any harm. Stay fit, and drink coffee responsibly!