I’m not a gym rat, but I love going out for an early morning jog. I understand the value of keeping an active lifestyle because it helps boost your energy and rejuvenate your body. Also, having more time outside means you get to commune with nature, bask in the warm sun and increase your body’s absorption of vitamin D3.
Now, if you love going to the gym, there are several pre-workout tips that you can try that will surely up your game and allow you to maximize the benefits of working out. What are tips that you’ve learned?
I, for one, found out that drinking coffee before a workout is a great help. And gym trainers, as well as medical researchers, confirm this. How does coffee help before a workout? Let’s find out.
Gym goers understand that pre-workout is an important part of the whole workout process. The body needs to be conditioned and prepped up before you do cardio exercises and high-intensity training. Pre-workout activities set your body and your mind to your goal of getting fit and fabulous. If you ask your trainer which drinks are good for pre-workout, you will be surprised that coffee is one of them.
This Spanish study, published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, found that trained athletes who took in caffeine, pre-exercise, burned about 15 percent more calories for three hours, post-exercise, compared to those who ingested a placebo. The dose that triggered the effect was 4.5 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. For a 150-pound woman (68 kg), that’s roughly 300 mg of caffeine, the amount in about 12 ounces of brewed coffee, a quantity you may already be sipping each morning.
8 Benefits of Drinking Coffee Before a Workout
Accelerates fat loss
According to Men’s Fitness, drinking coffee before a workout speeds up fat loss. This is arguably the most beneficial effect of coffee among gym enthusiasts. When consumed before exercise, coffee can cause fat cells to be used as an energy source as opposed to glycogen. The high levels of caffeine in black coffee increases metabolism, which allows you to burn more calories even if you are out of the gym. A cup of black coffee hits two important aspects of exercise, fat loss, and metabolism. As an added bonus, the compounds found in coffee serve as an appetite suppressant, so you feel fewer cravings and consume less food after a workout.
Studies suggested that there’s a link between caffeine intake before exercise and improved athletic performance. A report published in Sports Medicine refers to caffeine as a “powerful ergogenic aid,” and mentions that athletes can “train at a greater power output and/or train longer” after caffeine consumption. Another study published in the British Journal of Sports Science found that subjects who consumed coffee before running 1,500 meters on the treadmill completed their run 4.2 seconds faster on average than the control group.
In an animal study, sports scientists at Coventry University found that caffeine contributed in offsetting the loss of muscle strength that occurs with aging. The protective effects were seen in both the diaphragm, the primary muscle used for breathing, as well as skeletal muscle. The results indicate that, in moderation, caffeine may help preserve overall fitness and reduce the risk of age-related injuries.
Along with increased energy to push through tough workouts, black coffee also provides an increase in mental focus, keeping your workouts productive and effective. This is due to the caffeine content that helps stimulate the brain to focus and concentrate.
Decreases muscle pain
A study published in the Journal of Pain found that subjects who consumed coffee prior to exercise experienced less muscle pain during their workout than their non-caffeinated counterparts. The result? You can more easily do high-intensity training and increase resistance during your weight training. If you love cardio workouts, you can now run faster and longer.
Scientists at the University of Illinois found that drinking coffee an hour before a 30-minute exercise, especially for high-intensity training, significantly reduced perceived muscle pain. The result: caffeine can help you push a little bit harder when doing strength-training workouts and this can lead to improvements in muscle strength and endurance.
More muscle fuel
A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that a little caffeine, post-exercise, may also be beneficial, particularly for endurance athletes who perform day after day. The research found that, compared to consuming carbohydrates alone, a caffeine plus carbohydrate combo resulted in a 66 percent increase in muscle glycogen four hours after intense, glycogen-depleting exercise. Glycogen, the form of carbohydrate that gets stockpiled in muscle cells, serves as a vital energy piggy bank during exercise to power strength moves and fuel endurance. This means that if you pack a greater reserve you can exercise harder and longer.
Due to the richness of antioxidants in coffee, several studies have proven that moderate and regular consumption of coffee can help fight free radicals and help reduce the risk of liver disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Recent Japanese research studied the effects of coffee on circulation in people who were not regular coffee drinkers. Each participant drank a 5-ounce cup of either regular or decaffeinated coffee. Afterward, scientists gauged finger blood flow, a measure of how well the body’s smaller blood vessels work. Those who downed a regular (caffeinated) coffee experienced a 30 percent increase in blood flow over a 75-minute period, compared to those who drank decaf coffee. This means you can do better when working out because circulation helps improve the oxygen supply in your body and your muscles need oxygen!
Some basic reminders
If you want to maximize the benefits of coffee before working out, Dr. Mercola has some advice:
Don’t overdo it.
Anything in excess is bad for your health. Limit your consumption to, at most, two cups per day. The recommended intake for pre-workout is up to 6 mg per kg body weight, which is about 400 mg or 16 ounces of coffee for a 150-pound woman.
Keep your coffee black.
Black coffee is rich in caffeine and antioxidants. Do not add sugar or cream to your coffee because it can alter beneficial compounds found in your pre-workout drink. If you want to make it sweeter, add almond milk or some cinnamon. You can also whip coffee with your favorite fruit smoothie and add almond butter, oats or quinoa. It does not matter if you drink it hot or cold, the benefit here primarily lies in the caffeine consumption.
Opt for organic coffee.
Organic coffee farmers avoid using artificial fertilizers and other chemicals in their farming. What you get are organic coffee beans packed with more antioxidants and caffeine. It will be better to grind the coffee before use. This will give you a fresher and better-tasting coffee rather than ground coffee that has been on the shelf for weeks or months. The latter makes coffee rancid.
Are you getting ready to go to the gym later? Grab a cup of black coffee and give your workout a boost. You will see good results for sure. Remember, keep it black, without cream, sugar, syrup and everything in between.