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Can Coffee Improve Your Workout?

by Stephanie Underhill on Monday 14 January 2019

It turns out coffee is good for more than just keeping you awake on a Monday morning. Studies have shown that it can improve physical performance, help you sustain your workout, and even decrease muscle soreness after exercise. Obviously we’re not condoning binging on Caramel Latte Frappucinos before you hit the treadmill – but a smooth, hearty long black can work wonders when it comes to working out.

Pre-workout benefits of coffee

You read it right! Coffee can be a great pre-workout drink for several reasons. Firstly, it raises your blood pressure and heart rate, and releases fatty acids into the bloodstream so that fat is burnt more effectively during your workout. Caffeine also helps keep your performance on-point, enhancing output during endurance and high intensity exercises like team sports.

Coffee can increase brain function, which is why people often drink it when they’re sleep deprived or low on energy at work. This added perk allows you to focus more on the activity at hand, and work out harder, for longer. It may also mean that people who tend to ‘give up’ halfway through tricky workouts can keep going for longer.

However, before you go throwing back espressos at the gym, keep in mind that the International Society of Sports Nutrition found more coffee doesn’t result in better performance. Keep it to one cup, consumed 30–60 minutes before your workout for maximum effect.

It's true.. there are post-workout benefits of coffee too.

A study conducted by the American Physiological Society found that there are positives to consuming caffeine after a workout too. They found that glycogen, the muscle’s primary fuel source during exercise, is replenished more rapidly when athletes ingest caffeine following exhaustive exercise. Because energy
stores are replenished faster when coffee is consumed after exercise, having a cup after a workout can decrease muscle pain. In fact, research shows that two cups of coffee after exercise can reduce muscle pain by up to 48%! When you’re feeling less sore after a workout, chances are you’re more likely to feel positive about doing it again.

Overall benefits of coffee

Drinking coffee in general can boost metabolism and help prevent diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer. This is because caffeine contains high levels of antioxidants, which actively fight against disease and sickness. Of course, not everyone has the same reaction to coffee and it’s best to consult with your doctor or nutritionist before making any wild changes to your diet and exercise.

Did someone say ‘free coffee’?

Well, if research says coffee is beneficial to exercise, who are we to keep it from you? Virgin Active V-Cafés are a helpful onsite nutrition station packed with nutritious foods and – yep, you guessed it – freshly brewed coffee.

Visit our V-Cafes in January to get a tasty coffee, on us. We’ll be handing out free coffee vouchers, which might just help with boosting your workout performance!

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