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Sometimes you need an extra boost of energy before a workout.
While options abound, one of the most popular pre-workout drinks is coffee. High in caffeine and low in cost, coffee makes for an effective beverage to enhance exercise performance.
Yet, you may wonder whether it’s right for you and if there are any downsides to drinking coffee before exercising.
This article tells you whether you should drink coffee before a workout and explains the best types of coffee to choose.
Benefits of a pre-workout coffee
Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages. It’s a natural source of caffeine, antioxidants, and nutrients. What’s more, it’s tasty and affordable for all income levels (1Trusted Source).
Though you don’t need caffeine to get in a good workout, many people consume caffeine before exercising to give them additional energy and help them reach their performance goals.
In fact, caffeine has been widely researched as an effective ergogenic acid — or performance enhancer — in both strength and cardio training. Its benefits may include (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source):
increased muscular strength, endurance, and power
increased aerobic endurance
improved sprinting, jumping, and throwing performance
sparing glycogen stores and utilizing fat as a main fuel source
enhanced focus and alertness
Interestingly, caffeine has been shown to be effective for both athletes and non-athletes, meaning that the average gym-goer still benefits (2Trusted Source).
Timing and dosage for drinking coffee before a workout
Most research suggests that you should drink coffee around 45–60 minutes prior to exercise to allow the caffeine to get absorbed into your bloodstream and reach its peak effectiveness (2Trusted Source).
The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) has concluded that caffeine is an effective ergogenic aid when consumed in doses of 0.9–2.7 mg per pound (2–6 mg per kg) of body weight. This equals around 135–405 mg for a 150-pound (68-kg) person (2Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
However, the average gym-goer will likely benefit from consuming the lower end of this suggested caffeine intake (6Trusted Source).
Since an average cup of coffee contains roughly 100 mg of caffeine, drinking 1–2 cups (240–475 mL) 45–60 minutes before your workout will easily provide you with enough caffeine to support your performance (7Trusted Source).
The bottom line
Coffee is a delicious, cost-effective beverage that may help you achieve your fitness goals.
This popular drink has been linked to greater strength, power, and endurance during a workout. For best results, drink around 1–2 cups (240–475 mL) 45–60 minutes before your workout.
Keep in mind that many prefer to exercise on an empty stomach, and some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. Therefore, it’s best to listen to your body and find an amount that’s comfortable for you.
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