Though coffee contains a variety of bioactive compounds, the drink’s pre-workout benefits are largely thanks to its caffeine content.
Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance that stimulates your central nervous system, increasing the rate of messages that travel from your brain to your body.
It’s one of the most well-studied ergogenic — meaning performance-enhancing — aids that’s available and legal on the market and within sports.
Reduces perceived effort
Since caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, making you feel more alert and energised, drinking coffee before a workout could influence your rating of perceived exertion (RPE).
You might be able to work out a little bit harder and not necessarily feel like it.
That’s where most of the research has consistently shown a positive effect of caffeine intake before exercise. In fact, a small 2007 study found that participants who drank coffee before endurance cycling reported a lower RPE than those who drank decaf.
Systematic reviews have suggested caffeine has a performance-enhancing effect during power-based sports, resistance exercise, and endurance sports, according to research published in Sports Medicine. More specifically, consuming caffeine ahead of a workout has been found to improve strength and power. And in a study of runners, those who drank coffee ahead of a 1,500-meter run completed the event faster than those who drank decaf.
Speeds up recovery
Aside from helping you power up, drinking coffee before your workout could help speed up your recovery afterwards.
After about 15 minutes of exercise, the level of glucose in your blood begins to drop, and your body will typically resort to glycogen (the stored form of glucose in your liver and muscles) for energy. That said, there’s some thought that caffeine can mobilise free fatty acids, which your body can then utilise for energy, to spare glycogen.
If you can decrease how much glycogen you’re utilising during sport, then by possibly utilising more fatty acids, then theoretically you can recover faster and better because you’re not getting so deep into your energy storage tanks.”
When should you drink before a workout?
For coffee to reach its peak effectiveness, it should be absorbed in your bloodstream. To accomplish that, it should be consumed 45–60 minutes before your desired workout.
Consuming more than the recommended amount can cause potential side effects; The most common is an intense, rapid heart rate. During exercise, your heart is beating at a faster rate than usual. Consuming coffee prior would intensify your heart rate. For newcomers to the gym, we recommend consuming no more than one cup of coffee.
Coffee is available during work hours at the Member’s Bar and Dining Room.
(NB- all notes cited from Shape.com – Author Megan Falk).