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Coffee Before Workout: Power Up Your Gym Session With a Caffeine Hit!

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Coffee Before Workout: Power Up Your Gym Session With a Caffeine Hit!

Don’t hit the gym until you’ve had your cup of morning joe! That’s right, enjoying a coffee before workout sessions isn’t just a great way to stay awake; it’s a great way to fuel your gym routine. 

Coffee is more than just a stimulant, and there are a great number of benefits to be had from taking a coffee pre-workout. Coffee is an antioxidant, it improves your performance, and it even helps you to burn more fat and build extra muscle. 

If we haven’t already convinced you, then keep reading, and discover exactly why you should be hitting the coffee before workout sessions at the gym!

Why should I start drinking coffee before workout sessions?

So why should you drink coffee before workout sessions? Coffee is an excellent stimulant. It’s full of caffeine, and it’s the perfect drink to not only wake you up in the morning but to clear your head and get you in the workout zone. Once you’re in that zone, you’ll be able to pump weights or work those resistance bands for legs like never before!

Coffee is full of antioxidants; it’s sugar-free (unless you add sugar or sweeteners), and taking a black coffee before workout sessions adds very few calories to your daily intake. Taking coffee with milk while adding more calories also provides extra nutrients and extra protein.  

Coffee is readily available too. There’s a coffee shop on every single street corner, and at home, you’ll probably have instant coffee ready to brew. It’s easy to get hold of a cup of coffee (and it can be cheap, too, if you brew a cup of coffee at home), and that’s a good reason to use this popular caffeinated beverage for sports nutrition!

The benefits of drinking coffee pre-workout 

But these reasons aside, there are also a number of advantages that your body is going to see when drinking coffee before a workout. Coffee can improve your performance in the gym, and enjoying a coffee pre-workout can help with the following benefits: 

  • Coffee increases strength
  • Improved muscle activation 
  • Coffee increases levels of aerobic endurance 
  • Coffee increases power levels
  • Improved concentration and focus
  • Coffee promotes fat burning over glycogen burning (lose weight, faster!)

Drinking coffee before running can improve your stamina and endurance, helping you run for longer or hit better finishing times. Drinking coffee before a weight or resistance band session helps your body to activate its muscles during the workout, leading to targeted muscle growth. The list of benefits in the gym goes on and on!

However, we should note that most of these benefits result from caffeine, which is present in large quantities in coffee. Taking decaf coffee just won’t produce the same results. Many other sports or energy drinks also contain a significant caffeine content, but these can also be incredibly sugary!

As we already mentioned, coffee has a number of other bonuses (it’s not all about the caffeine) that other sports drinks don’t have. These include antioxidants, while if you take your coffee with milk (either dairy or plant-based), you’ll have added fuel for your workout session in the form of extra calories, fats, and proteins. 

How much coffee should I drink before working out? 

Don’t go overboard on the coffee, though. Too much caffeine can have unnecessary and unwanted side effects. Consume too much, and caffeine can begin to disrupt your body rather than promote the benefits we’re looking for. 

We recommend only having one coffee drink before working out; however, everyone has their own caffeine and coffee threshold to consider as well (some people have a higher caffeine threshold than others, while some people are susceptible to caffeine). 

An average cup of coffee contains around 40 mg of caffeine per serving, and for most people, that’s enough caffeine to keep them going throughout the workout. 

Because it’s a stimulant, too much coffee can not only keep you awake when you want to sleep, but it can also cause a number of other disadvantages. These include the following:
  • Increased heart rate
  • Caffeine shakes or jitters
  • Headaches
  • Dehydration
  • Acid reflux
  • Upset stomachs 
  • Sleep disruption 

Don’t forget that caffeine is a diuretic too, which means that you’ll need to go to the toilet more often than when you’re not drinking coffee. It can also cause an upset stomach, particularly if you haven’t eaten before working out (drinking coffee on an empty stomach is never the best idea!). 

Although it’s a fluid, coffee also causes dehydration. It’s particularly important to keep hydrated with water as you work out. This helps to avoid headaches, but again, you’ll need to go to the toilet!

When’s the best time to drink coffee? 

It’s essential to get your timing right when drinking coffee before working out. It’s not a good idea to sip on a hot coffee when you’re in the middle of a run or working out with resistance bands. 

It’s also not a good idea to drink coffee immediately before working out. You need to give it some time. Not only does this help to settle your stomach (have you ever felt sick running just after eating? We have!), but it gives time for the caffeine to actually kick in and start influencing your body. 

But how long does it take for caffeine to kick in? This depends on your body size, how much you’ve eaten that day, and your sensitivity to caffeine, but on average, it’s going to take between 45 minutes and 1 hour for the caffeine to be effective. 

Deciding exactly when to drink coffee before a workout also needs to take other considerations into account, including the time of day and when you are expecting to go to sleep that night. Because caffeine can easily cause sleeping problems, you should only drink coffee before your morning workout routine. If you have a high caffeine threshold, then the afternoon could work, too, but that’s up to you. 

Caffeine can take 5 hours or longer to pass through your bloodstream, which means that taking a coffee at 5 pm is going to affect you when you try to get sleep at 10 pm. 

Can I drink coffee after workout sessions? 

We’ve been focusing on the benefits of drinking coffee pre-workout, but don’t forget; there are a large number of advantages to be realized from drinking coffee after workout sessions too.

For starters, drinking coffee is going to keep you awake for the rest of the day - and that’s more than welcome after a tiring gym session. After working out in the morning, coffee can be the pick-me-up you need to refuel and regroup before you head to work. 

Coffee after workouts also helps to promote continued fat burning, boosting your metabolism for the rest of the day while also providing your body with the fuel it needs to start recovering and rebuilding those muscles. 

Remember, though, to benefit from coffee after a workout, not to you also need to be drinking it in the morning. Caffeine stays in your system for hours at a time, so it’s important not to drink coffee in the afternoon, or your sleep will be severely affected. 

It’s also not a great idea to just drink coffee after a workout. To fully realize the benefits, you need to be hydrating with plenty of water and refueling with proper food and nutrition, too. 

Coffee before workout: the final say

Drinking coffee before workout sessions has a large number of clear benefits. You’ll be focused, alert, and ready to hit the gym. Coffee helps to activate muscle groups, burn fat, and of course, it keeps you awake! As a side note, if you’re asking yourself, ‘does coffee make you short?’ the answer is no!

But it’s all about timing. To avoid an upset stomach and to make the most of that caffeine hit, you’ve got to drink your coffee around 1 hour before your workout. You also need to remember to stay hydrated, and don’t think about drinking coffee in the afternoon or evening if you want a good night’s sleep. 

If you’re looking for the best ways to boost your next gym outing, then why not bookmark our guide to drinking coffee before workout sessions?

Katherine Holden

Katherine Holden

Katherine is a CrossFit expert with humble origins. Starting out on a ranch, ever since she was nine, she spent most of her life roping and competing in team roping. After finding bodyweight exercises interesting she sought after a career in CrossFit and dedicated her life towards achieving the body of her dreams. Today Katherine is a personal trainer that loves to travel the world and change the lives of her clients.

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