What’s your pre-workout routine? Does yours start with a cup of coffee? If you’re a mom taking the kids to school, it’s often convenient to go to the gym immediately afterwards – you’re up, you’re ready for action and it’s a good time to clear your head in the gym before getting on with the rest of your day.And if your journey takes you past a Starbucks, it might be a part of your routine to stop in and collect your morning cup of joe on the way. You’re not alone – a stop-off at Starbucks has become a global phenomenon. However, prices for the world’s favourite coffee do vary from country to country – recent research from Couponbox showed that a Cappuccino in New York is much better value than one in Bern, Switzerland, for instance. In New York, you’ll pay $3.15 for a Starbucks Cappuccino, while in Bern, the same drink would set you back $6.06.
Whether you prepare your own coffee at home or spend a few dollars having one made for you, perhaps you think drinking a coffee before exercise is counter-intuitive – you’re going to workout to look after your body, after all. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to have a healthy protein shake before you hit the gym? Well, if coffee is in fact your favourite beverage, you shouldn’t feel guilty about that cappuccino, latte or americano – they could be improving your performance during exercise.
THE HEALTH BENEFITS BEHIND THE BEAN
While you might have thought you were just having a coffee to wake yourself up, coffee has also been linked to improving workout performance. Yes, the caffeine will provide you with an energy boost – especially if you time it right so that it can be absorbed by your body – but there are other benefits to a pre-workout coffee:
- One good reason to drink coffee before you exercise is that it can accelerate fat loss. Coffee causes fat cells to be used as an energy source if consumed before a workout. Added to this, the caffeine in the coffee increases the body’s metabolism, meaning that you’ll continue to burn more calories after working out. Coffee is also an appetite suppressant, so will help reduce your overall calorie consumption during the day.
- We all know that caffeine is linked with teens staying up to revise for their exams and helps give tired workers a pick-me-up when they start feeling lethargic at their desks. In the same way, the caffeine in your pre-workout coffee can help improve your mental focus, which means that your workout and exercise routine will become more effective and productive.
- If you come away with aching muscles after a session in the gym, you generally feel good about the fact that you must have done a decent workout. According to a study by the University of Georgia, those aching muscles could be subject to less pain if you had two cups of coffee ahead of working out. The study showed post-workout pain could be reduced by 48% through a moderate amount of coffee consumption. However, you should be aware that this was a study on non-caffeine drinkers, so the effects for regular caffeine drinkers might be less pronounced.
- As well as being a workout enhancer, coffee may also offer protection against certain diseases. There are high levels of anti-oxidants in coffee, and these can stave off damage to the body by free radicals, which can cause diseases such as obesity, dementia and diabetes.
So if you feel that stopping off for a coffee on the way to gym is an essential part of your routine, you may be right on more levels than one. It might not be just by force of habit, it may actually be making your exercise more effective.