Why Drinking Coffee Before Exercise Improves Performance

Last updated on : June 25 2021

Glass cup of coffee

Article Summary

A simple cup of strong coffee an hour before your workout can do wonders during, as well as afterward. Whether your fitness goal is to reduce weight or to build muscle, coffee will aid you in getting faster and longer-lasting results.

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Is Coffee Good For You?

Coffee And Exercise

Benefits Of Coffee As A pre-Workout Drink


Is Coffee Good For You?

Many people in the world enjoy starting their day with a steaming mug of fresh coffee, even though it is often considered a controversial beverage.

Some studies, such as the one conducted by Oregon State University in 2006, give information regarding raised blood pressure and the consumption of coffee. There is also mention of how drinking coffee in excess can be detrimental to pregnant women.

However, what you may not know is that coffee also has some health benefits.

A 2019 study by the University of Nottingham found that drinking coffee may help a person stimulate their brown fat, which produces heat for the body by burning sugar and fat.

Due to this, in moderation, unsweetened, black coffee can potentially help you lose weight.

Coffee And Exercise

Coffee and caffeine are known to affect the endurance and performance of an individual.

The impact on performance is concurrent with research from 2010. Meaning that if you want to excel with your exercise, it might be worth having a small amount of coffee before you start. 

You can improve your performance by about 2% with a small cup of coffee before working out. And drinking coffee like this might also allow you to repeat the exercise more easily the next day.

Impact on sleep

A small amount of coffee earlier in the day will not affect your sleep that night, but a large quantity might.

It might be worthwhile having a cup of coffee before a morning or afternoon workout.

However, if you want to exercise later in the day, consider sticking to a beverage that will allow you the proper amount of rest at night rather than keeping you awake longer.

Versatility in taste

The taste of any pre-workout drink can be off-putting to some people.

The benefit of coffee is that it is adaptable. It is possible to use sweeteners and milk in coffee. You can change the flavor and sweetness of coffee effortlessly, something you cannot do with pre-made powders or drinks.

Also, unlike pre-made powders or drinks, coffee can be adapted for any allergy or dietary requirement.

However, it is best to stick to a standard, black coffee for minimal calories, and the most significant caffeine intake.  


Coffee is rich in caffeine. Caffeine is fundamentally a drug but is also a legal natural stimulant that can help you feel more awake and energized.

Caffeine increases your metabolic rate and stimulates your nervous system. As a result, coffee has several benefits for weight loss and fitness, besides helping you stay up late to work at your computer or study. 

Benefits Of Coffee As A pre-Workout Drink

There are a variety of benefits that you can enjoy by having coffee as a pre-workout drink, or taken during or after an event.

Decreased Post-workout Soreness

If you want to spend more time exercising but dread the feeling of any pain or soreness in your muscles, coffee may be the way forward for you.

Research conducted by Illinois University shows that people who have coffee before a workout session experience less muscle pain than their caffeine-free counterparts. The reason behind this is due to the blocking of adenosine receptors, which give awareness of pain.

Also, drinking coffee stimulates the release of beta-endorphins and dopamine, which have painkilling properties and increase positivity and overall happiness in a person.

Likewise, coffee can also aid with the post-workout burn that people tend to feel in their muscles. This burn, known as delayed onset muscle soreness, can be decreased by up to 50% with the use of coffee or caffeine before a workout.

Overall, increasing your muscle resistance is essential to an exercise regime, as it means you can train for longer at a time, but also be able to increase the number of days you can train without being held back by sore limbs.

Improved Focus

Focus is vital to attaining a productive workout session. Some studies show that caffeine helps in increasing our concentration - this is true for a gym session, as well as at work.

You may not realize it, but a lot of brainpower is used during workouts to ensure correct positioning and to avoid any unnecessary muscle strain or injury. This use is particularly so when performing composite exercises like the squat or deadlift.

Caffeine is known to increase arousal and attentiveness. Adenosine produced by the brain suppresses arousal, and caffeine blocks this neurotransmitter, increasing alertness and focus. 

A focused workout tends to give better results. In simpler terms, intake of coffee increases your productivity through an increase of focus and concentration.

Increase In Energy & Performance

A study conducted by Japanese researchers found that individuals who had 5 ounces of regular coffee over seventy-five minutes showed an increase in blood circulation by 30%, as compared to their counterparts who had no caffeine intake.

An increase in blood circulation means more blood flow to muscular tissues, and therefore more oxygen. Oxygenated muscular tissues perform better during workout sessions.

Caffeine increases the heart rate as well as blood pressure, and this increases the breakdown of fats and the production of fatty acids. This process further enables muscles to work for a longer time before you feel the onset of tiredness or fatigue.

Improvements To Endurance

Numerous studies have shown that caffeine, when taken in low-moderate quantity, helps in enhancing performance during a workout.

The intake of caffeine before a workout enables you to continue exercising for longer, meaning you can spend more time honing your body.

Coffee not only helps with increasing your endurance to exercise but also can aid with the onset of fatigue.

Various studies show that the intake of coffee before workouts stimulates our muscles to utilize fat rather than glycogen. This burning of fat instead of glycogen increases the endurance of muscles. Increased endurance means that muscles can take more pressure without getting tired, resulting in longer workout sessions.

Similar research also found that the intake of coffee before a workout improves the efficiency of energy production in your muscles.

Lastly, caffeine in coffee stimulates the central nervous system and promotes alertness. This stimulation s the reason that, after ingesting coffee, we feel more focused and alert.

As a result, a small cup of coffee drunk before a physical training session enables you to perform at a higher level and for a more extended time - compared to drinking a decaffeinated beverage before your workout.

Fat Loss

If you want to lose weight, then drinking coffee before your workout can benefit you. The fat-burning properties of caffeine help reduce fat from the body, especially if combined with a diet of natural fat burning foods

Having coffee as a pre-workout drink stimulates the muscles to shift your energy source from glycogen to stored fat. Caffeine is also known to increase the rate of metabolism.

To get optimum results, try having a black coffee about an hour before your workout session.

Another benefit you will gain by drinking coffee is at least some level of appetite suppression, meaning you will feel less hungry.

Appetite suppression combined with an increase in metabolism and the use of fat instead of glycogen for energy all result in more fat consumed by your body - and the number of inches you will lose.

The loss of fat will also do your organs and overall health a world of good by reducing the likelihood of severe illness or sudden death.

Muscle Recovery

Coffee not only increases the effectiveness and efficiency of muscles during the workout but also helps improves muscle soreness and recovery after the workout session.

Studies conducted at the University of Georgia show that drinking at least two small cups of coffee an hour before you exercise will reduce potential muscle soreness by almost 48 percent.

When you try to push yourself during a workout session, it results in inflammation in the body. The more the inflammation, the slower the recovery, which is why you can feel sore for a few days after a training session.

Coffee, with its antioxidant properties, helps in reducing this post-exercise inflammation. Reducing inflammation fastens the recovery process of the muscles, meaning you can feasibly train daily.

Muscle Preservation

Research conducted at Coventry University shows that the intake of coffee helps in preserving muscles.

With age, our muscles tend to lose their strength and elasticity. Coffee not only prevents loss of muscular tissue with age but also reduces the risk of muscular injuries.

A neuromotor can be considered the ignition point of the muscle. Degradation of neuromotor causes muscle atrophy. Coffee helps in preventing this degradation, hence preventing loss of muscle strength.

The Feel Good Factor

If you want to make your workout an enjoyable one, then rely on coffee to increase levels of dopamine, the brain chemical in charge of pleasure, and making us feel great.

Dopamine also reduces any feelings of pain, which you would typically have without a caffeinated beverage before your workout.

When you feel good, you are more likely to put more effort into your exercises.  


In addition to being a delicious beverage, a cup of coffee has numerous benefits that make it perfect for consuming before an exercise session.

A simple cup of strong coffee an hour before your workout can do wonders during, as well as afterward. Whether your fitness goal is to reduce weight, build muscle, or boost or immune system, coffee will aid you in getting faster and longer-lasting results - after watching the workout mistakes that can hurt your fitness goals. 

You will find that coffee is quite versatile in its uses as a pre-workout drink, as it can be drunk either cold or hot, depending purely on the preference of the person.

So the next time you are preparing your gym bag, do remember to take the coffee in an insulated coffee thermos. A thermos will keep your coffee hot and prevent spills.

Medical Advice

However, be mindful that coffee, or any high levels of caffeine, may not be suitable for people who have problems with their heart or blood pressure. Seek medical advice before using any caffeinated product as part of a fitness regime. 

Editorial policies applied in this article.

The Kewl Shop employs strict sourcing guidelines for articles concerning health, exercise, and nutrition. We seek reliance on trusted peer-review studies, academic research papers, and medical association publications to present to you a well balanced and adequately researched article. We link to these trusted sources in the text where required.

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Editor: Charles Fitzgerald

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