Letshego Zulu
3 minute read
16 May 2022
11:40 am

How coffee can improve your workout and help you get fitter

Letshego Zulu

One of the greatest benefits on the body when drinking coffee before your workout is its fat burning ability.

Picture: iStock

Did you know that drinking coffee could support your goal of getting more fit?

People want to know if it is bad to drink coffee before working out. We all know that a cuppa is great for getting you going, but drinking a cup of coffee before and after working out, has additional health benefits for getting the most out of your fitness regime.

Five ways drinking coffee can improve your workout:

Coffee helps improve focus during a workout

Adenosine is responsible for suppressing arousal in preparation for sleep. It is a neurotransmitter that is a by-product of your body breaking down food for energy. Caffeine creates an alert state by binding to the adenosine receptors in the brain which can also help you push through a tough workout and help you reach your fitness goal.

A cuppa before gym helps improve workout performance

Once caffeine enters the body it increases blood pressure and heart rate, fats are broken down and fatty acids enter the body. Studies have shown that there is a link between athletic performance, fitness and caffeine intake prior to workout.

It helps decrease muscle pain

We don’t want to ignore body pain entirely because it is a way to signal to us that something is wrong, but sometimes when we want to go just past our comfort zone while working out it can be very helpful. People who drink coffee prior to exercise tend to experience less muscle pain during their workout than their non-coffee drinking counterparts.

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Coffee helps improve workout recovery

Not only has caffeine been shown to help during the workout, it also helps with post-workout muscle soreness. In a study in the Journal of Pain, drinking coffee 24 to 48 hours after a workout, reduces that pain by half. This pain is caused by inflammation in the body which is a necessary part of the process of your body adapting and improving from physical training. Excess inflammation on the other hand, can slow down recovery and lead to an increased chance of illness. Natural antioxidants in coffee play a role in your body’s recovery process by clearing some of the post work-out inflammation.

Drinking coffee helps accelerate fat loss

Perhaps the greatest benefit on the body when drinking coffee before your workout is its fat burning ability. Drinking coffee before exercise can cause fat cells to be used as an energy source as opposed to glycogen. Also, the high amounts of caffeine in black coffee will increase your metabolism, which makes you burn more calories throughout the day. Drinking coffee before exercise enhances that effect. As a bonus, caffeine and other compounds found in coffee act as an appetite suppressant, making you consume less.

How much coffee to drink before your workout

Some people may get their caffeine via energy drinks or tablets, but some studies have shown that drinking coffee itself is more effective for enhancing performance in resistance exercise. Research suggests that you need to consume one cup of caffeine to maximize your exercise benefits. (Every brand, roast and shop, offers slightly different amounts of caffeine.) And if you’re a heavy coffee drinker and have a tolerance to caffeine, you don’t necessarily need extra. If you have a sensitive stomach or aren’t used to drinking that much coffee, start with half a cup and see how it goes.

References: www.menshealth.com; www.healthline.com; www.jpain.org

*Article co-written by Thapelo Mowela