Fitness and DietHealth

Is it better to drink coffee before or after exercising

Can you drink coffee before or after your workout? Dear coffee lovers, let’s answer this pressing question once and for all. 

It’s time you gained some clarity. 

Most people cannot leave their home without a cup of coffee or two, which is not an issue until you start wondering “Should I be drinking this before I hit the gym?”  And then you start thinking if you’ve been doing it all wrong, and have been building some unfortunate health condition. 

Maybe you’re thinking whether a power Pilates class or yoga session could be interfered with by freshly brewed coffee. Know that you’re not alone. 

According to Brittany Michels, MS, RD, a nutrition expert for The Vitamin Shoppe, drinking coffee before your morning workout session isn’t bad. In fact, you could enjoy some potential benefits to your fitness routine. However, there are some things to consider. 

Here’s what the expert wants you to know about pairing caffeine and exercise. 

Drink coffee: Before vs After 

It’s a much better decision to drink coffee before you exercise, so long your workout session isn’t too late in the day. Why? Because the consumption of caffeine close to bedtime can disrupt one’s sleep cycle, says Brittany Michels, MS, RD. Even exercising too close to bedtime can interrupt the quality of your night’s rest. So you could be signing up for some sudden waking up at 3 am. So, therefore, if you want a pre-workout boost at night, you can try non-caffeinated energy sources like maca or beetroot 

When you drink coffee post-workout, it may help with your workout recovery such as reducing muscle soreness and fatigue. However, if your reason for drinking coffee post-workout is to be able to get through the day, be sure to assess your sleep and stress levels and eating routine. Those who rely on caffeine may need to address the root cause of their poor energy levels. 

That said, the next question you probably have is what’s the right way to take caffeine before working out.

Recommended pre-workout caffeine dosage 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that healthy adults should not consume more than 400 mg of caffeine per day, which is equivalent of about four or five cups of coffee. Also according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), caffeine is beneficial for enhanced workout performance when you have doses of 0.9 to 2.7 mg per pound of body weight. 

Some people notice benefits at 50 to 100 milligrams pre-workout, while others experience a better result in the 300 to 400 milligrams range. 

Not everyone benefits from coffee before a workout. “There isn’t a one-size-fits-all recommendation when it comes to coffee and caffeine consumption”. Additionally, if your aim is to feel calmer, it’s probably a good idea to skip the caffeine entirely. 


Benefits: If you drink coffee before exercise 

Drinking coffee in moderation has been shown to be good for us. It can increase your energy levels and metabolic rate, reduce your risk of depression, and decrease your chances of getting type 2 diabetes. But did you also know that a simple cup of coffee before heading to the gym might give you a more productive workout?

Michels says that consuming pre-workout caffeine may help boost your metabolism, improve microcirculation, suppress the effects of perceived e exertion, and enhance your athletic performance. Brittany also adds that coffee is one of the many caffeinated drinks that may give you these results. Some other research suggests that pre-workout caffeine may help you burn calories for several hours even after working out. “For those looking to boost their metabolism, caffeine can be a smart option,” says Michels. 

Potential health benefits of drinking coffee before exercise 

  • Reduced fatigue 
  • Better mental focus and concentration 
  • Increased endurance and strength 
  • Enhanced metabolism 
  • Improved microcirculation
  • Reduce perceived exertion 
  • Burn calories hours after a workout 
  • Increased athletic performance 

Anything scary you should know (side effects and precautions). 

It’s important that you find the right amount of caffeine that works for you when combined with exercise, as the side effects vary based of the dosages, duration, and type of activity. 

If you are sensitive to caffeine try to start with smaller quantities of caffeinated coffee and gradually increase it. The following signs can occur if you’ve exceeded what works for your body:

  • nausea
  • upset stomach 
  • increased heartbeat 
  • jitters 
  • dehydration 
  • Increased blood pressure 

Research advises that you consume caffeine 40 to 60 minutes before exercise. This will help your body absorb the coffee, which can help minimize stomach issues during your workout session. 

Be mindful of:

Mixing it with energy drinks  or other stimulants

Coffees with lots of milk and sugary syrups for pre-workout caffeine. In addition to being high in calories, these types of coffees don’t digest easily and may not sit well during your entire workout.

The bottom line 

Ultimately, the best time to drink coffee with exercise depends on your personal needs and preferences. If you drink coffee before exercise, do so at least 40 minutes to an hour beforehand to allow your body to absorb better and minimize potential side effects. If you prefer to drink coffee after exercise, you can enjoy it as part of your recovery routine, but be mindful of overall caffeine intake.

In addition, listen to your body and pay attention to how your body responds to coffee and exercise. Experiment and find what works best for you. That said, always remember to stay hydrated and listen to your body. 

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Frequently Asked Questions 

Does this mean I have to drink coffee before working out?

Of course you don’t have to. It really is a thing of preference. You can succeed at your workout session without the help of caffeine and coffee. Many people have lost weight, gained muscles, improved their cardiovascular health, without drinking coffee. It’s a thing of choice but it’s not like you’ve been “missing out”. Besides there are other pre-workout drinks that are great, so you can try them out as well. At the end of the day, staying hydrated is what matters most, whether it’s before, during or after exercise. Make sure you drink enough fluids to maintain your energy levels that’s just it. 

Can I drink coffee if I’m pregnant and how much?

If you are pregnant, doctors recommend not exceeding 200 mg per day. 

If I drink coffee how long will it take for caffeine to leave my system?

Typically, it can take four to five hours for your body to metabolize half of the caffeine you consumed. If you consumed a pre-workout before your exercise session, hours later you will still have half of the amount of caffeine in your body from the pre-workout. 

I drink coffee how much should I consume on days I take pre-workout caffeine?

If you drink coffee then you shouldn’t drink more than one to two cups of coffee on days you also take pre-workout. However, it also depends on the amount of caffeine in your pre-workout. 

I don’t drink coffee how much should I consume on days I take pre-workout caffeine? 

Since you’re not a coffee drinker or a drinker of other caffeinated beverages, you can get away with a pre-workout containing a higher dose of caffeine. 

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