Skip to content

Can Coffee Be Used As A Pre-Workout?

Can Coffee Be Used As A Pre-workout Drink?

If you’re looking for a quick pre-workout boost, then coffee is a great option. The natural energy that comes with all that caffeine can help take your workout to the next level and get your heart rate soaring in no time.

There may be plenty of fancy pre-workout powders available at your local supplement store but why go through all the hassle when you can just grab a cup of joe? Many people swear by using coffee as their go-to source for that extra burst of energy during their workouts.

Whether you’ve had success with it or not, it’s always worth giving it a shot if you want an easy and convenient way to get an extra boost before hitting the gym.

Why Could Coffee Be Beneficial To Your Workout?

Coffee could be beneficial to your workout for a number of reasons. One of the key benefits of drinking caffeine pre-exercise is that it contains caffeine, a stimulant that can help improve athletic performance.

Nutritionist Megan Medrano of Run Whole Nutrition revealed in an interview with that caffeine consumption can result in improved performance during intense exercise lasting 5 to 20 minutes.

However, you should note that if you’re using coffee as a pre-workout fuel, it should be consumed alongside other foods such as carbohydrates, fat, and protein, not instead of them. Certified trainer and acrobat Brennan Mejia also shares the same opinion on why coffee could be good to take before physical activities.

He believes that the chemical has numerous positive benefits such as increasing energy levels and free fatty acid mobilization although his main reason is because of its lack of additives or any hidden ingredients as compared to many pre-workout supplements.

With coffee being regulated by the FDA, you know exactly what ingredients are being ingested into your body.

When Should You Start Drinking?

When it comes to using coffee as a pre-workout supplement, timing is key. You may feel the buzz of your coffee right away, but that doesn’t mean its peak effects have kicked in yet. To get the maximum benefit out of your caffeine boost, you should wait 45 minutes after drinking your cup before you work out.

Studies show that maximum caffeine concentration hits at about 45 minutes post-consumption, giving you its fullest stimulating effects before it begins to wear off. The amount of caffeine you take doesn’t affect this fact and it’ll still take around 45 minutes to reach its peak buzz potential.

That being said, be sure to not exceed 400 milligrams of caffeine per day according to the Mayo Clinic’s recommendation; otherwise, you might find yourself feeling jittery and anxious rather than energized and alert by the end of your workout.

If you keep within this recommended limit, then start drinking your coffee roughly 45 minutes ahead of time for a productive session.

The Disadvantages Of Drinking Coffee Before Exercise

Although drinking coffee can be beneficial to your health, it can have some drawbacks when consumed before exercise. When you work out, your body’s focus shifts to directing blood toward the active muscle groups, which can lead to digestive issues and stomach upset if you choose to drink coffee beforehand.

For this reason, it is recommended that you wait 45-60 minutes after drinking coffee before starting any workout. Drinking one or two espresso shots, which contain more caffeine sources than regular coffee in a smaller volume, may also help avoid these adverse effects.

However, keep in mind that some people are sensitive to caffeine and could experience jitters, anxiousness, stomach discomfort, and an increase in heart rate. If this is the case for you, it’s best to limit yourself to just 1-2 cups of coffee per day.

Also, remember that excess caffeine consumption can disrupt sleep patterns and interfere with your athletic performance. You should stop drinking caffeinated beverages at least 6-8 hours prior to going to bed.

Coffee Varieties To Try Before Your Workout

Before you hit the gym, reach for coffee! Research shows that any type of regular, brewed coffee may enhance your physical performance. But which variety should you choose?

For fasted cardio and exercise before eating, go for black coffee with no carbs. If you don’t mind a few extra calories and carbs, then opt for a cup with some dairy or plant-based milk–this will give you a small amount of protein and help keep your energy levels up!

You can also try any brewing method to get your caffeine fix–instant or regular coffee from pod brewing systems, French presses, and espresso machines are all great options that likely lend performance-enhancing benefits as well.

A word of caution: steer clear of sugary specialty coffees. These drinks contain added flavorings and syrups that can slow down digestion and hinder your fitness goals.

Risks And Side Effects

When it comes to using coffee for pre-workout, it’s important to be aware of the risks and possible side effects. Generally speaking, most adults can have up to 400 mg of caffeine daily or 3-4 cups of coffee. However, even this amount can cause issues for those who are sensitive to extreme caffeine intake in terms of restlessness, anxiety, irritability, and rapid heart rate.

In very rare cases, taking more than 1000 mg of caffeine with intensive workouts could lead to rhabdomyolysis – a medical condition associated with severe muscle breakdown which may lead to kidney failure.

For this reason, it is advised that pregnant women limit their intake to 200mg/day and ask their healthcare provider before consuming any kind of caffeine products related to sports performance.

To sum up, as long as you keep a moderate consumption of caffeine not exceeding 400 mg per day or 3-4 cups of coffee a day you should be safe from the unwanted risks associated with excessive intake.

The Advantages Of Drinking Coffee Before Working Out

The advantages of drinking coffee before exercising include:

Physical Performance Is Improved

When it comes to improving physical performance, drinking coffee before working out can make a difference. Numerous studies have shown that consuming moderate doses of caffeine can enhance athletic performance and help endurance athletes to perform at their best.

Caffeine may enhance muscle performance, though the extent is unknown. One research discovered an increase in lower leg power, while a Jiu-Jitsu experiment showed a rise in one and two-leg vertical jump height after taking 3 mg of caffeine per kilogram body weight prior to exercising.

Cognitive Function Has Improved

Research has shown that drinking coffee can drastically improve one’s cognitive function. In a 2018 review, it was found that caffeine enabled people to experience a boost in energy levels, concentration, alertness, and a decrease in fatigue. These states are connected with enhanced athletic performance.

Cognitive function plays a critical role in physical activity. When one has improved alertness, improved concentration, and increased energy levels they are able to perform better at any given activity or task. Drinking coffee before working out can help you achieve this state of mind faster and more efficiently than without it.

Fat Oxidation May Be Increased

Studies suggest that consuming caffeine before working out may be linked to an increase in fat oxidation, and some people think the increased fat oxidation is what leads to the performance-enhancing effects of caffeine.

The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) states that while some amounts of caffeine may have a positive effect on fat oxidation, it’s still unclear whether or not it is linked to enhanced athletic performance.


After considering all of the benefits of coffee as a pre-workout drink, it is safe to say that it can be an effective addition to your fitness routine.

Consuming 1-2 cups of something approximately 45-60 minutes before exercise could give you increased strength, power, and endurance during physical activity.

However, some people may prefer to exercise on an empty stomach while others may be more sensitive to caffeine dosage. So make sure to listen to your body and find what works best for you.

Ellie Patchen

Ellie Patchen

I love a good cup of coffee on Monday mornings for that pick-me-up, also love them in the afternoon, and on Tuesdays. In fact, it's fair to say that I love coffee all day everyday! So much so that I created a whole site to blog about it, answer questions and to just have a place for my frequent ramblings on the wonder that is.. coffee!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *