For those of you who don’t know, I’m a self-proclaimed espresso connoisseur. Anything less than four shots of espresso will put me to sleep. (Kidding. Sort of.)
Aside from being that girl in the library at 2am discovering why a Red Eye is the best coffee drink of all time, I also am not a morning person. So when I needed to do morning workouts in order to fit them into my schedule, I wondered… can I drink coffee or other types of caffeine right before a run or a gym sesh? Leg day would surely be better with some cold brew, amirite?
Why You Should Drink Coffee Before a Workout
A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that participants who drank coffee before their workouts actually enjoyed their workouts more — and later when offered food, ate 75 calories less than their non-caffeinated counterparts. The conclusion of this study? Caffeine helps you enjoy your workout and also not overindulge later. Pretty cool.
While drinking caffeine may give you an added boost and help push you harder in a workout, be cognizant of how much you’re drinking. I would not recommend caffeine pills, because such a high concentration of caffeine is more easily abused and misused. Additionally, a caffeine pill is missing all the healthy antioxidants found in coffee — half of the point of drinking coffee.
There are other known benefits of caffeine consumption, including:
- Increased endurance. Some great science people over at the University of Illinois found that drinking 2-3 cups of coffee before an intense strength training session reduced perceived muscle pain. No pain, no gain? More like no pain — thanks coffee!
- Increased metabolism, fat burning benefits. Caffeine speeds up your resting metabolic rate by promoting thermogenesis, which encourages fat burning (source). NOTE: this does not mean that drinking caffeine will magically disappear all the fat on your body. You still need exercise and a good diet for that. However, it could aid the process.
Tips to Remember
OK kiddos, it took me time but I finally trained myself to only drink black coffee. The grass is greener where there is less sugar. Take another look at your morning pick-me-up and make sure your creamer or latte fixings aren’t packing on unnecessary sugar and calories. If you can’t drink your coffee straight, then try adding some almond milk and cinnamon instead of creamer.
Another thing you need to know about your morning cuppa joe: it’s going to dehydrate you. So if you down a cup of black before running out the door — and nothing else — you might end up dehydrated. Always drink water like your life depends on it (it does) but drink a little extra after your morning coffee.
Be wary of your caffeine intake, and don’t overdo it! I’m one of those lucky few who doesn’t get jitters no many how many espresso shots I drink, but I have friends who get shakes and couldn’t handle it. So listen to your body and make sure you don’t drink too much.
Personally, I find coffee helps pump me up for a workout, but I avoid it when doing long runs since I don’t want to overwork my heart. I find that coffee works best with strength workouts, not cardio workouts, but that’s just a personal observation.
So fire up your coffee machine and get going!