We hardly need an excuse to drink coffee. After all, this is among the most popular beverages on the planet, and the majority of adults drink it for the benefits: alertness, focus, energy, and more.
But, as it turns out, drinking coffee before a workout might turn out to be incredibly beneficial.
Coffee before a Workout: Good or bad?
To answer this question, we need to consider the effects of caffeine on the body. Caffeine is a stimulant. As such, it makes us more alert, focused, energized, and motivated. All of these are beneficial for our workout performance.
As a stimulant, the body gradually builds up a tolerance to caffeine, and its effects become less pronounced over time. At some point, we can even become dependent on caffeine to feel usual instead of lazy and unmotivated.
Caffeine also has a half-life of about six hours. Meaning, if you ingest 400 mg of caffeine at 4 pm, you still have around 200 mg circulating your system at 10 pm. This can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep and get the deep and restorative rest you need.
But what about the workout? Is it advisable to drink coffee before working out? The short answer to this is yes. Coffee can be beneficial to have before a workout. However, you might want to time it 45 minutes before working out when the maximum caffeine concentrations hit.
You might want to stay away from it after working out. Rehydrate your body with water first before any caffeine. Water remains the essential beverage before, during, and after a workout session. Some other advantages of drinking coffee before working out:
- Enhance your performance.
- Reduce muscle pain.
What are the disadvantages of drinking coffee before a workout? In many cases, coffee is a welcomed addition to a fitness routine. But you should be careful and avoid having any within six to eight hours of going to bed. It is also a good idea to cycle caffeine to prevent your body from building too great of a tolerance. For example, consume it for three weeks, and take one week off.
Five other things to consume before a Workout
If coffee is not your favorite drink, or you want to explore some alternatives, let’s chat look at five different things to try before a workout:
1. Citrulline malate
Citrulline is an amino acid that appears to boost our performance through various mechanisms. Its most popular form is citrulline malate, where the amino acid is bound to malic acid.
Similar to citrulline, beta-alanine is another amino acid supported by research. According to studies, consuming beta-alanine before training can boost our exercise performance, specifically in the one to three-minute range.
3. A Protein Shake
Having a protein shake an hour or two before training is fantastic because it provides your body with a steady stream of amino acids that help support muscle mass and prevent breakdown.
Though many people overlook it, water is vital for our health, gym performance, energy, and mood. Having water before, during, and after training is one of the best things we can do.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are not that important, mostly if you eat a high-protein diet. If you tend to train fast or your last meal is hours before training, having some BCAAs can help prevent muscle protein breakdown.