Coffee is the original daily stimulant that works for almost any activity in our lives, but should I drink coffee before workout? Coffee seems to be our “go to” from waking us up in the morning to getting us through that afternoon sleepy time.
The main ingredient of both coffee and pre workouts is Caffeine.
But is it ok to just drink coffee before working out?
Some gym-goers insist on coffee and some athletes on pre workout supplements because it is specially developed for this.
Let’s compare the differences between coffee vs pre workout, and the benefits of using them for exercise.
We will discuss how Caffeine works as well as what ingredients put a pre workout supplement over the top for getting an intense workout.
Coffee VS Pre Workout
Caffeine, The Key Ingredient
The differences between coffee and pre workout may seem like an obvious question at first glance.
But they are very different in many ways, starting with color, taste, and consistency. But there is a main common thread called Caffeine.
This little drug or stimulant has control over many of our lives. It is highly addictive and easily obtainable and 80% of us use it daily. The more you take the more amped up you get, though it is not recommended to take over 400mg per day.
This 400 mg is around 4 cups of coffee or is comparable to one serving of the strongest pre workouts. Caffeine does not contain any nutritional value, but at the same time, it is a natural ingredient so it is not harmful to your body.
There is an important thing to keep in mind whether you are drinking coffee or a pre workout. Consuming Caffeine on a regular basis will cause your body to eventually develop a tolerance to it. If this happens, the best thing to do is to take a couple of weeks off to let your tolerance to it go back down.
Do not keep increasing your dose trying to get the same effect because Caffeine will not give you the same effects as it had. This is especially true for those that drink larger amounts of Caffeine daily.
Factors like your age, body mass, metabolism, and overall health will dictate your tolerance to Caffeine. Always watch how much you are taking, especially with pre workouts.
If you are drinking both coffee and a pre workout on the same day, keep in mind that this quantity compounds between the two.
I’ve made the mistake of doing this with either product. I hate the anxiety that comes from drinking too much coffee in the evening. Caffeine and the effects on our bodies is one of the most researched stimulants.
Should I Drink Coffee Before Workout
First of all, coffee is safe to use for extra energy when working out. Second, you will get better results by drinking coffee before a workout than without it.
Working Out With Coffee – PROS
Coffee does much more than just keep you awake or get you to work in the morning.
The good news for coffee and working out is that in addition to giving you more energy, it also helps you maintain focus and increase exercise motivation.
Focus is very important to have in regards to exercise, as it enables you to get more accomplished and more efficiently. It has also been proven to increase reaction time and to help one’s general mood and mental functions.
The Caffeine in coffee will bring motivation, and the benefit of increased energy should last you through to the end of your exercise session.
However, coffee is an easy, temporary solution if you get caught in a jam on the way to the gym. It is quick and easily accessible to get almost anywhere.
Workout With Coffee – CONS
The “pros” to coffee before a workout is the boost of energy and increased focus, but there are a few “cons”. One is that you need to drink an awful lot of it to get enough Caffeine to really get amped up enough for exercise.
This could even cost you up to $15 per day at Starbucks. A pre workout supplement costs around $1.00 per serving.
Coffee does take longer to kick in, about 45 minutes. Whereas a pre workout is 15-30 minutes to start feeling the effects.
If you are drinking coffee as a pre workout, you may want to try an expresso since not only does it come in a smaller serving, but it is closer to 125mg of caffeine per serving. An average scoop of pre workout contains 150 to 400mg.
I’ve always wondered if the darker the coffee, the stronger the Caffeine concentration. I was wrong. A light roast coffee has just as much if not more caffeine than a dark roast.
Lastly, coffee can give you indigestion during exercise. Because of the large amount of coffee necessary to get workout energy, you will be using the bathroom quite a bit more. Coffee is a natural diuretic, so it can cause you to lose water and lead to dehydration.
The Pre Workout Advantages
What really sets pre workout supplements apart from coffee are the ingredients that bring additional benefits to have a more intense workout.
These include extra endurance and increased performance that you can’t get from coffee. Pre workouts will make the difference between a good workout and a great one.
The special ingredients are specially formulated to help with the challenges that your body faces during exercise.
Besides Caffeine, pre workout contains Amino Acids to help meet your goals. One Amino is Nitric Oxide which increases vascularity which brings greater blood flow to your muscles.
This creates more uptake of nutrients and oxygen into your muscles. It results in increased power to go that extra mile, the ability to work harder and to get that additional repetition.
The combination of Caffeine and Aminos gives you not only energy and motivation, but increased power, muscle recovery, muscle performance, and longer endurance. It had also been shown that pre workouts boost focus and increase the length of time that you can train.
Caffeine for Weight Loss
A great reason to drink coffee or pre workout to boost fat loss is that Caffeine is a natural thermogenic. Drinking Caffeine before working out will cause your fat cells to be used more as an energy source instead of your muscle’s glycogen.
It will raise your metabolism and body heat, therefore increasing your calorie burn more than anything else you can do. Not only this, but drinking caffeine will ensure that you are going to go longer and harder.
This will even further increase the process of burning additional calories, therefore leading to weight loss. This is why most diet supplements use Caffeine. For the best calorie burn for weight loss, I highly recommend C4 Ultimate Shred.
If you look at most diet supplement labels, they usually say “for best results, use in conjunction with an exercise program”.
Most people don’t see this part, and even if they did, diet supplements don’t provide pre workout energy. For more information about exercise and weight loss, please read my post on Exercise Supplements for Weight Loss.
Studies have found that people that drink coffee on a regular basis have a much lower risk of having Dementia or Alzheimer’s. It also cuts the suicide risks significantly.
The USDA even recommends a couple of cups a day as being good for overall health and risk of disease.
Caffeine is safe unless you take too much. Overuse is really the only way to get negative side effects from Caffeine.
Some of these include anxiety, nausea, headaches, stomach aches, rashes, and even high blood pressure.
If you are Caffeine intolerant or have a Caffeine allergy, you are in luck. Some pre workout brands offer effective Caffeine Free Pre Workouts. Additional Aminos and other ingredients are added to make up for the loss of this stimulant.
The effects from the caffeine for both coffee and pre workout can last for up to 6 hours, so I don’t recommend taking either in the evening. A sleepless night due to drinking too much Caffeine is a horrible feeling.
The Stimulating Conclusion
Should I drink coffee before workout? Absolutely.
Anything that contains Caffeine will give you the advantage of increased energy, focus, and motivation to give you a better workout.
Coffee before working out provides several benefits since Caffeine is the best natural stimulant for increased energy that you can find.
However, there are a couple of disadvantages to Coffee before workout.
Coffee side effects include heartburn and indigestion, the amount of coffee you need to drink for results, dehydration because coffee is a diuretic, and the cost to buy several cups.
If you have the opportunity, a pre workout will give you a much more intense workout than coffee alone. Pre workout ingredients are blended not only to bring energy, but increases endurance, muscle performance, and fight fatigue.
Coffee won’t give you that muscle pump, the vascularity or the muscle recovery to be able to do that last movement.
Whether you are drinking coffee or pre workout to get your Caffeine fix, you will have a better workout with than without. I highly recommend drinking anything with the benefits of Caffeine to get the best workout possible.
⇒ If you have any questions or comments on Caffeine, coffee, or pre workout supplements, please leave them below and I will respond.