Can I drink coffee before a workout?
There are many myths about the effects of coffee on the body. Some researchers believe it is harmful and incompatible with an active lifestyle and training in the gym. Others convince of the drink’s health benefits and attribute to it its almost magical properties for weight loss. Based on recent studies’ results, let’s figure out whether it is possible to drink coffee before training, what benefits and harm it brings to the body, and how it affects the effectiveness of sports.
Benefits of coffee before exercise
Coffee contains more than a hundred different components, so its use affects the biochemical processes that occur in the body. The main effect is exerted by caffeine, an alkaloid contained in coffee tree grains, a stimulant of the central nervous system. This is why drinking a flavored drink causes increased activity – most people respond to caffeine with increased energy and improved mood.
Taking just one cup of coffee blocks the production of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that suppresses alertness and stimulates sleep. The brain reacts to this by releasing adrenaline and dopamine, which cause a surge of energy.
Under the influence of caffeine in the body:
- accelerates the heart rate;
- narrowing of the vessels;
- blood pressure rises;
- metabolism is accelerated;
- the work of the muscular system is stimulated;
- increased activity and concentration.
In addition, the production of adrenaline accelerates the release of fatty acids into the blood. During exercise, the muscles will use them as an energy source, preserving valuable glycogen stores.
If you drink coffee before training, then during it, endurance and the ability to withstand the load for a longer time will increase.
It has been proven that by stimulating the release of adrenaline, caffeine can increase muscle strength and enhance muscle contraction. The sense of physical tension is blunted, allowing you to perform more reps or lift more weight.
Scientific studies have shown that two cups of coffee (470 ml) increase training efficiency and performance by 22%. Strength indicators are increased by 10%.
Thus, drinking coffee before exercise will significantly increase the effectiveness of the workout because caffeine:
- dulls the feeling of fatigue and improves efficiency;
- allows for a longer time to withstand aerobic exercise;
- relieves muscle pain during strength exercises;
- increases testosterone levels (this hormone helps athletes gain muscle mass);
- stimulates the central nervous system, increasing activity, concentration on exercise technique, and reaction speed.
Increasing the intensity of training increases the load on the muscles, which stimulates the growth of muscle mass and accelerate the burning of fat reserves.
In general, coffee before a workout improves your performance in sports. No wonder caffeine is included in many pre-workout complexes, sports supplements, and fat burners.
Harm and contraindications before training
Any stimulant can cause adverse reactions from the body, mainly when used in large doses. Individual intolerance to caffeine and allergic reactions can also be observed. In some diseases, coffee is generally contraindicated, and drinking this healthy drink before training can cause unpredictable health consequences.
Do not consume caffeinated drinks and sports supplements before exercising in the gym:
- with arterial hypertension;
- pregnant and lactating women;
- with increased nervous excitability;
- with gastric and duodenal ulcers and gastritis with high acidity;
- with severe pathologies of vision and glaucoma.
People over 50 years of age or who have diseases of the cardiovascular system from a fragrant drink before training should also refrain. In any case, the possibility of its use should be discussed with your doctor.
But even healthy athletes need to consider that drinking coffee has side effects and can lead to adverse health effects.
- When consumed on an empty stomach, it irritates the gastric mucosa and can provoke the development of gastritis and ulcers since caffeine enhances the secretion of gastric juice.
- It negatively affects the blood flow in the vessels, putting an additional burden on the heart, and reducing the supply of oxygen to the organs.
- Causes a slight diuretic effect (acts as a diuretic). A lack of fluid in the body violates the water-salt balance and increases the kidney load.
- In women, it can lead to benign tumors in the mammary glands (mastopathy).
- It stimulates the intestinal muscles and acts as a mild laxative. Sometimes causes colic, diarrhea, and indigestion.
- Affects the absorption of drugs – lowers or, conversely, increases the absorption of certain medications.
- Increasing anxiety can cause depression.
Caffeine, as a stimulant, is addictive and addictive. To get a stimulating effect, you have to increase the amount of coffee consumed, which entails several negative health consequences.
When the body gets used to caffeine, the drink drunk before sports will no longer increase performance and invigorate. Moreover, it can lead to a rapid depletion of strength and cause a feeling of fatigue.
How and how much coffee can you drink before a workout?
For the coffee you drink before training to have only a positive effect on the body and not cause side effects, it is essential to know how and how much it is recommended to drink.
According to WHO recommendations, without harm to health, you can drink 300-500 mg of caffeine during the day. The norm is 3-5 mg/kg of weight. Depending on the coffee type and the roasting, one mug of a refreshing drink contains 80-120 mg of caffeine. This means you can drink no more than 3 cups daily without fear of adverse health consequences.
But the optimal doses of caffeine largely depend on the individual characteristics of the person and the frequency of use of the refreshing drink. With its daily intake, even 400 g of caffeine is tolerated by the body almost imperceptibly. In some people, after drinking just one mug of coffee, symptoms of an overdose appear (rapid heartbeat, dizziness, high blood pressure).
To use a fragrant drink before fitness to have a stimulating and fat-burning effect, you need to drink 1-2 cups 40 minutes before physical activity. In this dosage, it is safe for the nervous and cardiovascular systems and does not have a pronounced diuretic effect. Coffee should be drunk without sugar and cream – then it will contain a minimum of calories and have the desired effect on the body.
If you take it immediately before training in the gym, the drink will not have time to work – caffeine reaches its maximum concentration in the blood 40-50 minutes after consumption.
To increase the effectiveness of training and quick recovery, it is recommended to drink natural coffee, prepared in a coffee machine or brewed in a Turk. It is preferable to decline a soluble beverage.
Frequent consumption of coffee in large doses (daily more than four mugs) negatively affects the body:
- tolerance (addiction) to caffeine quickly sets in;
- there are signs of exhaustion of the nervous system (irritability, insomnia, causeless anxiety, depression);
- performance decreases;
- increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and early death (4 times);
- urinary incontinence may occur;
- increased risk of developing gout.
To prevent addiction and reduce the effect of taking coffee before training, you should drink it no more than twice a week. Taking a ten-day break after a month of regular drinking is advisable.
Can you drink coffee after a workout?
It is not recommended to drink coffee after intense strength or cardio loads. Physical activity is already a kind of stress for the body, which reacts with the release of adrenaline—drinking coffee immediately after will cause additional pressure on the heart and blood vessels.
After training, coffee is recommended to drink only after 30-40 minutes. A refreshing drink will give strength and energize weakness after exhausting loads.
Another plus in drinking coffee after class is caffeine helps minimize pain in case of krepatura, and muscles recover faster (according to research by 48%).
Which is better, coffee or caffeine tablets?
Instead of coffee, you can take 2-3 tablets of caffeine sodium benzoate to increase the effectiveness of your workout. One tablet contains 40 g of caffeine and 60 g of excipient sodium benzoate, which enhances the solubility of the absorption of the active ingredient. This is the only caffeinated drug sold in pharmacies without a prescription.
Scientific studies have not yet determined which source of caffeine is the best: natural coffee or synthetic tablets. Each organism is individual, so only experimentally can you decide which one has a more significant stimulating effect and is suitable for you.
Caffeine tablets will be a real lifesaver for those who, for some reason, do not like to drink coffee but want to increase muscle strength and endurance and lose weight faster.
Coffee before a workout for weight loss
Recent studies confirm that drinking coffee and exercising help to lose weight faster. Caffeine speeds up metabolism and has fat-burning properties: it promotes the release of fatty acids from adipose tissue into the blood, which are then oxidized in the muscles during exercise. In addition, it regulates blood sugar levels, improves insulin sensitivity, and reduces hunger.
For weight loss, drink 1-2 cups of a freshly brewed sugar- and cream-free drink (you can add a little milk) 30 minutes before cardio or strength training.
Harvard scientists have found that green coffee promotes weight loss more than black. The average weight loss in the subjects over three months was 5.5 and 3 kg, respectively.
What can replace coffee?
Coffee is a rich but not the only source of caffeine. This substance is contained in considerable quantities:
- energy drinks – up to 100 mg per 150 ml;
- in tea leaves – 60 mg in a cup of black tea and 75 g of green;
- coca-cola – 40 mg.
Most thermogenic sports supplements also contain caffeine. There is even a protein-enriched coffee (Protein Coffee by Scitec Nutrition) to make a nutritious shake for bodybuilders. One drink includes 27 g of protein and 100 mg of caffeine.
In addition to caffeinated sports nutrition and energy drinks, caffeinated sports nutrition and energy drinks can be consumed before strength training to build muscle mass. For weight loss, it is better to drink a cup of strong tea before physical activity instead of coffee.
Myths about coffee
Due to the popularity of coffee and its ambiguous effect on the body, people have many different myths about this drink. Recent scientific studies have refuted most of them.
Myth #1: Coffee is addictive.
The legend that coffee is tough to give up does not stand up to scrutiny. Attachment from the reception, of course, arises, but it cannot be called dependence. If you gradually reduce the dose of caffeine, bringing the consumption to a few sips a day, the body will get used to it, and it will not be difficult to give up your favorite drink completely. There will be no breakage or breakdowns in the future.
Myth #2: Caffeinated beverages disrupt sleep.
Insomnia from drinking coffee threatens if you drink 2-3 cups of solid drink at night (3-4 hours before bed). A morning serving of coffee or before an afternoon workout at the gym will not affect sleep.
Myth #3: Instant coffee is terrible.
Instant coffee drink lacks almost all valuable substances and contains much less caffeine than freshly brewed natural coffee. It won’t provide many health benefits and won’t improve your workout much if you drink it half an hour before your workout. But it is impossible to talk about any harm to the body.
Myth #4: Coffee causes osteoporosis.
Too much caffeine can cause calcium to be leached out of the bones. But this amount is easily compensated by drinking only 2-3 tablespoons of milk. So, drinking coffee with milk reduces the risk of osteoporosis to nothing.
Myth number 5. Coffee dramatically increases blood pressure.
In fact, with regular coffee consumption, the readings of the tonometer do not change at all. The pressure may rise by 10-20 mm Hg. in the next 1-2 hours after taking only if you drink a fragrant drink no more than 1-2 times a month or after a long break.
Thus, most myths are fiction, and scientific studies do not support them with facts or disprove them completely. Scientists have proven that when consumed in the proper dosages and at the right time, caffeine helps to increase the effectiveness of sports or fitness, gain muscle mass, or lose weight faster.
You can’t consider the drink magical and entirely rely only on it – drinking coffee without observing the rules of nutrition and physical activity will not affect the figure.