We all love to start our mornings with a good old cup of coffee, but did you know that there are benefits to drinking it before a workout? Whether you prefer going on a morning run, a late-night gym session, or heading to a yoga class, a cup of coffee can help your performance and push you a bit further in your workout.
So let’s take a deep dive and find out exactly how and why coffee helps you with your workout and why you might want to implement it as part of your fitness routine:
Coffee Is a Stimulant
What does that even mean? Well, coffee wakes up your entire body and all the systems within it. You might know that it gives you a boost of energy, or it helps you focus, but it actually makes you a lot more alert. This isn’t only to say you’ll have more energy, but that your mind will be awake and alert, which is very important for some sports where you have a high chance of hurting yourself if you lose focus. But there are other ingredients in coffee that also play a role.
You might be well aware that sometimes coffee makes you go number two as soon as you drink it. This is because it kicks your metabolism into hyperspeed, making your digestion speed up. But this isn’t the only part of the metabolic system it speeds up. One that a lot of people will love is fat-burning. As your metabolic rate increases, your body starts burning up more fat than it is stored away, making your workout more effective.
I mean, who wouldn’t like to know that you’re burning more fat while working out – and just by drinking a cup of coffee beforehand. However, if you have an issue with milk, you might not want to drink a lot of it before a workout, and these incredible espresso beans will give you a great flavor that you won’t have to dilute with milk. This way, you can get the benefits of coffee without the potential downside of dairy.
WIth coffee stimulating all your systems, it’s no surprise it will also stimulate blood flow throughout your body. Excercise naturally stimulates circulation and improves blood flow, but coffee can additionally increase it by 30%, studies have shown. This means that more blood – and therefore, more oxygen – is getting into all of your muscles, which will significantly increase your overall performance. It will help you be stronger and have more endurance. The endurance comes from two sides: on the one hand, you have more oxygen, and on the other, you also have the caffeine that reduces your perception of exhaustion, making you think that you’re less tired than you might actually be. All of this will allow you to push yourself a bit further in your workout.
Coffee Preserves Muscles
Let’s talk long-term. We all know that as we age, our muscles deteriorate, and no amount of exercise can maintain them forever. But coffee can jump in and help with that as well. Caffeine, to be exact, so don’t go relying on the decaf stuff. Studies have suggested that caffeine can help preserve muscle, delay muscular atrophy that would normally come with age, and overall help prevent injuries and keep your muscles healthy.
It Helps You Remember
You don’t always have a coach in front of you to show you every routine, or someone to remind you how many reps of each exercise you have to do. Sometimes, you have to think for yourself. And forgetting a crucial step in a routine or doing too many reps of a certain exercise can lead to injuries, so you want to get it right. Coffee will help you remember things and retain that information for longer, similarly how it helps you study, and it might even help you out if you’re trying to remember the name of someone cute you saw at the gym!
We already mentioned that coffee helps you burn fat, however, what if you’re specifically exercising to lose weight? Coffee helps here, in two ways. Firstly, there’s the benefit of burning more calories – not a lot, about 15 calories more in a three-hour workout, but every little bit helps! Also, people who drink coffee eat fewer calories than those who don’t, even when the calories from the coffee are taken into confederation. So you might find yourself eating less and burning more calories – sounds good to me! However, make sure that you are properly fueling yourself before and after a workout to help your muscles recover.
What You Should Be Careful With
We’ve listed all the benefits of drinking coffee before a workout, but let’s talk about potential downsides. Firstly, if your morning coffee tends to get your bowels moving, it’s probably a bad idea to drink it right before a workout, as it might make you take an unexpected break. Secondly, if you use coffee to reduce the pain you might feel during a workout or to last longer in training, you might end up pushing yourself over your limit and causing injuries. Pain is our body’s way of saying it’s had too much and that it’s going to get hurt, and expert trainers will know what amount of pain is tolerable and building you up, versus the pain that is a sign of injury. But if you move your body’s threshold for pain, you might start to blur those lines and push yourself too far.
Lastly, while coffee might make you feel energized and awake, it doesn’t actually give you much energy, so make sure you’re not replacing your pre-workout meal with a cup of coffee, but rather have one alongside the other. You can also combine the two by making your oatmeal with coffee instead of milk, for example.
Now you have an extra reason you can give someone when they ask you why you never leave the house without a coffee-filled travel mug, and you can enjoy your workouts knowing that you’re giving it your all.