One of the most effective pre-workout drinks might surprise you.  You won’t find it advertised in fitness magazines, or on any supplement store shelves.  You don’t have to scoop it out of a bottle with a flashy label and mix it with water.  All you have to do is stop by your local coffee shop and get a cup of Joe, minus the cream and sugar.  It is important to have your coffee black because adding cream and sugar can lead to an upset stomach.

Sipping a cup of black coffee before (and during) your workout provides more than just an added energy boost—there are a whole slew of health benefits that come along with it.

1. It will help you burn fat

Black Coffee—when consumed before exercise—can cause fat cells to be used as an energy source as opposed to glycogen.  Also, the high amounts of caffeine in black coffee will increase your metabolism, which makes you burn more calories throughout the day.  Having coffee before exercise enhances that effect.  Also, caffeine and other compounds found in coffee act as an appetite suppressant, making you consume less overall.

2. It increases athletic performance 

Several studies have demonstrated a link between caffeine intake before exercise and increased athletic performance.  A report published in Sports Medicine refers to caffeine as a “powerful ergogenic aid,” and mentions that athletes can “train at a greater power output and/or train longer” after caffeine consumption.  Another study published in the British Journal of Sports Science found that subjects who consumed coffee before running 1500 meters on the treadmill completed their run 4.2 seconds faster than the control group, on average.  To gain an extra edge in your training sessions, coffee might be just what you need.

3. It will improve focus and alertness

In addition to increased energy to push through tough workouts, black coffee provides an increase in mental focus as well.  Improved focus and alertness will help keep workouts productive and effective.

4. It will help prevent diseases 

An unexpected advantage of drinking coffee is that it helps protect your body from diseases.   Coffee contains high amounts of antioxidants, which protect against damage from free radicals.   According to a 2011 study published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, coffee consumption has an inverse correlation with diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain forms of cancer.

5. It will help decrease muscle pain during workouts 

Researchers at the University of Illinois found that subjects who consumed coffee prior to exercise experienced less muscle pain during their workout than their non-caffeinated counterparts.  The takeaway?  You can complete more reps at a higher resistance during your weight training sessions, and run faster and longer during your cardio workouts.

Have you tried having coffee before a workout?  How did it compare to other pre-workout supplements?  Let me know in the comments section below! 

Thanks for reading,

Parker