One of the most effective pre-workout drinks might surprise you, and you won’t find it on the shelves of your local supplement store. You don’t have to scoop it out of a bottle with a flashy label and mix it with water. All you have to do is swing by a coffee shop and get a cup of America’s favorite drink, minus the cream and sugar.
Downing a cup of Joe before your workout provides more than just an added energy boost—there are a whole slew of health benefits that come along with it. Here are five reasons it's time to power up with black coffee.
1. Accelerates fat loss
Perhaps the greatest benefit of having coffee before your workout are its fat-burning properties. Coffee—when consumed before exercise—can cause fat cells to be used as an energy source, as opposed to glycogen. Also, the high amounts of caffeine in black coffee will increase your metabolism, which makes you burn more calories throughout the day. Having coffee before exercise enhances that effect. Also, caffeine and other compounds found in coffee act as an appetite suppressant, making you consume less overall.
2. Increases performance
Several studies have demonstrated a link between caffeine intake before exercise and increased athletic performance. A report published in Sports Medicine refers to caffeine as a “powerful ergogenic aid,” and mentions that athletes can “train at a greater power output and/or train longer” after caffeine consumption. Another study published in the British Journal of Sports Science found that subjects who consumed coffee before running 1,500 meters on the treadmill completed their run 4.2 seconds faster than the control group, on average. To gain an extra edge in your training sessions, coffee might be just what you need.
3. Improves focus
Along with increased energy to push through tough workouts, black coffee provides an increase in mental focus as well. Improved focus will help keep workouts productive and effective.
4. Decreases muscle pain
Researchers at the University of Illinois found that subjects who consumed coffee prior to exercise experienced less muscle pain during their workout than their non-caffeinated counterparts. The takeaway? You can complete more reps at a higher resistance during your weight training sessions, and run faster and longer during your cardio workouts.
5. Prevents disease
Another advantage of drinking coffee is that it helps protect your body from diseases. Coffee contains high amounts of anti-oxidants, which protect against damage from free radicals. According to a 2011 study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, coffee consumption has an inverse correlation with diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain forms of cancer.