Coffee: The Natural Pre-Workout

April 15, 2019Rob Harbin
An athletic young woman with toned abs  is standing on a bridge in London at sunrise with a paper cup in her hand

An athletic young woman with toned abs is standing on a bridge in London at sunrise with a paper cup in her hand

It’s time for your workout, so you reach for your favorite pre-workout supplement. After about 30 minutes, you’re wondering if it was concocted in a bathtub in Arkansas from some pseudoephedrine, matches, and batteries. Looking for a more natural alternative? It might just be in your cup of morning joe.

For workouts, we’re looking to release catecholamines into the body. Catecholamine is a collective name for hormones/neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and a few others. These are produced naturally in the body during the fight-or-flight response. Unless you want to go skydiving, get in a gunfight, or have a car wreck prior to every workout, we need to utilize some alternatives to create this catecholamine response.

There are hundreds of supplements on the market that are supposed to do this. You might feel jacked and unstoppable walking into the gym, but there is a problem: What the hell is in these pills you’re popping? Instead of reaching for a bottle from your local supplement shop, try drinking a cup of coffee.

Coffee can serve as a pre-workout and help you take your workout to the next level. Photo courtesy of Black Rifle Coffee Company.

Coffee is a stimulant (we hope you know this), and the caffeine in coffee is natural. It impacts the central nervous system, the heart, and your blood pressure, which helps your mind and body push harder during a workout. It gets those feel-good neurotransmitters going.

The key to using coffee to kick your workout into high gear is when you drink it. Coffee is absorbed quickly by your stomach after consumption. This can take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, with the full effects kicking in around an hour after.

Downing a cup of coffee before your workout doesn’t just get you amped up. Some of the benefits of drinking liquid gold before your workout include:

  1. Fat Loss: Consuming coffee before your workout can cause fat cells to be used as energy and help increase your metabolism.

  2. Increased Performance: A report published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine states that athletes train harder and put out more power after consuming caffeine. Why not get that caffeine from coffee instead of sugary drinks or supplements?

  3. Improved Focus: Just as coffee helps you get it in gear before you start your day, it does the same for you while working out.

  4. Decreased Muscle Pain: A study conducted at the University of Illinois found that coffee consumption before exercise resulted in less pain during the workout.

  5. Prevents Diseases: You are probably thinking this is out there, but coffee contains high amounts of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect against damage from free radicals.

Just remember that consuming a cup of coffee before your workout does not mean downing an entire 40-ounce mug. Too much coffee can act as a laxative and a diuretic, which can lead to dehydration. So, you also need to drink plenty of water.

Rob Harbin
Rob Harbin

Rob Harbin is a contributing writer for Coffee or Die. Having devoted the majority of his career as a Critical Care Tactical Medic, he spent over 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan. During this time, he was assigned to Department of State tactical response teams and combat search and rescue elements. Other than a passion for the outdoors, Rob enjoys expanding his knowledge on culinary skills and photography.

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