Can coffee help in your fitness goals?5 Reasons to Drink Coffee Before Your Workout
Contrary to much of the conventional advice, which tends to revolve around coffee's ability to raise your blood pressure, coffee does appear to have certain functional benefits—if consumed pre-exercise—that are supported by science. As reported by Health Magazine:2
"[A] Spanish study, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism,3 found that trained athletes who took in caffeine pre-exercise burned about 15 percent more calories for three hours post-exercise, compared to those who ingested a placebo.
The dose that triggered the effect was 4.5 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. For 150-pound woman (68 kg), that's roughly 300 mg of caffeine, the amount in about 12 ounces of brewed coffee, a quantity you may already be sipping each morning."
According to Ori's research, coffee can increase your metabolism by up to 20 percent, which seems to be in line with the Spaniards' finding. Besides providing you with a temporary metabolic boost, other functional benefits of a pre-workout cup of coffee include:
Improved micro-circulation. According to Health Magazine, Japanese researchers recently discovered that people who were not regular coffee drinkers experienced a 30 percent boost in capillary blood flow after drinking five ounces of regular coffee, compared to those drinking decaf.
Improved blood circulation typically equates to improved oxygenation of your tissues, which may boost your exercise performance.
Pain reduction. The featured article notes research from the University of Illinois, which found that a caffeine dose equivalent to two or three cups of coffee taken one hour prior to a half-hour-long workout reduced the participants' level of perceived muscle pain.
This pain reduction could allow you to push yourself just a bit harder, which is important during high intensity exercises.
Research from the University of Georgia, published in the March 2007 issue of The Journal of Pain,4 reported very similar findings. Here, consuming the equivalent of two cups of coffee an hour before training reduced post-workout muscle soreness by up to 48 percent.
To put this into perspective, studies using naproxen (Aleve) only achieved a 30 percent decrease in post-workout muscle soreness, and aspirin produced a 25 percent decrease.
Improved endurance. A 2005 meta-analysis5 concluded that caffeine can reduce your perceived level of exertion by more than five percent—effectively making your exercise feel "easier."
Moreover, caffeine improved exercise performance by more than 11 percent, which appears to be related to the reduction in perceived level of exertion.
Muscle preservation. According to Ori, coffee triggers a mechanism in your brain that releases a growth factor called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). Besides the brain, BDNF also expresses itself in your muscles, where it supports the neuromotor—the most critical element in your muscle. Without the neuromotor, your muscle is like an engine without ignition. Neuro-motor degradation is part of the process that explains age-related muscle atrophy. So in this respect coffee may help maintain more youthful muscle tissue.
The featured article also notes recent research from Coventry University that supports this notion. In that study, they found that caffeine helped offset age-related loss of muscle strength, again suggesting that caffeine may help preserve your muscles as you age, and reduce your risk of injuries.
Improved memory. BDNF also activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons in your brain, which can have definitive benefits for your brain function. Indeed, research conducted at Johns Hopkins University6 found that 200 milligram (mg) of caffeine enhanced participants' memory for up to 24 hours.