Here are some of the pros and cons of coffee as a pre-workout and things to keep in mind when training.
One of the main benefits of drinking coffee as a pre-workout drink is that it provides a temporary energy boost. Many athletes find that this helps improve their performance and gives them the edge they need to give it all.
Keep in mind that caffeine is a stimulant. Remember that rest and regeneration plays an essential role in weight management and recovery. If you are working out in the afternoon or evening, coffee could impact your quality of sleep.
Another compelling argument for coffee as a pre-workout drink is that it improves mental clarity and focus. For many athletes, training is as much a mental game as it is a physical endeavor. Studies have shown that drinking coffee can help improve concentration, memory, and thinking skills. Thus, using coffee as a pre-workout can help you dig deep during training.
As far as supplements go, coffee is fairly affordable and accessible. All you need is a coffee maker, French press, or pour over apparatus (check out this one from Coffee or Bust), and you’re set to make coffee at home. When you run out, you won’t have to order online or run to a specialty supplement shop.
Pre-workout is generally higher in caffeine than coffee. Some people find that they don’t react well to pre-workout supplements, experiencing tingling sensations, anxiety, and flushed skin. If you’re someone who has adverse reactions to pre-workout, coffee is an effective alternative.
Coffee is a natural appetite suppressant. Furthermore, it increases post-exercise energy expenditure resulting in more fat loss. For those who exercise with weight management in mind, coffee can be an effective multipurpose supplement.
Keep in mind that additives mitigate metabolism-boosting and fat loss effects. If you drink black coffee, which has negligible calories, you’ll get the benefits. However, if your coffee is topped up with sugar and cream, it’s likely doing more harm than good.
While there are many benefits to drinking coffee as a pre-workout drink, there are some downsides to consider. Many people experience digestive issues after drinking coffee. For these individuals, timing and planning are essential when fueling up before a workout.
Another concern is hydration when drinking coffee, as it is a mild diuretic. However, recent studies have shown that while coffee isn’t effective as the sole source of hydration, it won’t actively dehydrate you. If you’re drinking coffee for the energy boost before training, be sure to hydrate sufficiently as well.
So should you drink coffee as a pre-workout drink? The answer is subjective based on your personal preferences, body type, and training protocol.
If you choose to drink coffee before your workout, plan to have it 30 minutes to an hour in advance of your training. Listen to your body and note any challenges you have with digestion. If you experience digestive issues, try eating before consuming your coffee.
Be sure to consume water and electrolytes instead of relying on coffee as your main source of hydration. Finally, if you experience disruptions in your sleep, consider altering your consumption or the timing of your workouts.