Coffee is that elusive workout partner you’ve always wanted but never thought you’de find — it lifts your mood, energizes you, minimizes pain and the perception of boredom, and even helps you burn more fat — up to 3 hours after you’ve stopped moving! The key to unlocking this dream-like ally? Timing.
According to the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, it is best to consume a cup of caffeinated coffee one hour prior to starting your workout. (Coffee can stay in your system for up to twelve hours but reaches its own “performance peak” at about the sixty-minute mark.) Drinking coffee before working out has been shown to increase physical performance by 11-12%, increase endurance, and increase fat burn by encouraging the body to release fatty acids, which are then used as energy, into the blood.
The good news doesn’t stop here! In addition to making your workout more productive, drinking coffee before starting can also make your workout feel easier by fending off muscle fatigue, reducing inflammation, increasing reaction time, and relieving the mental boredom of repetitive tasks, a.k.a. reps. While this may all sound a little too good to be true (it is all true!), the effects of a pre-workout cup of coffee continue to positively impact your post-workout self by boosting your resting metabolic rate by up to 15% for up to three hours post-workout and by minimizing your appetite later in the day. According to a study by the Journal of Applied Physiology, study participants who caffeinated pre-workout ate 72 calories less later in the day than those who failed to caffeinate.
There you have it, confirmation that coffee truly is the ideal workout partner. Drink up. Hit the gym. Achieve those goals — we know you can do it!
*For source references, please refer to our Coffee and Health page.