Substitute Your Pre-Workout for a Cup of Coffee

Unlock the Power of Coffee

It’s easy to get caught up in all the hype surrounding powders, energy drinks and supplements, but a good cup of coffee could be the buzz you’re looking for to get your workout started. Today we’re exploring the benefits this timeless classic offers us as a pre-workout supplement alternative, and why it could be an essential part of your daily wellness routine.

Caffeine is a natural stimulant that can significantly impact our bodies, fuelling the dreary mornings of around 7080% of us across Australia and New Zealand. When consumed properly, it can increase focus, boost energy levels, improve athletic performance and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness. What’s not to love?

The Science Behind Caffeine

According to neuroscientist Andrew Huberman, caffeine can increase dopamine levels, the ‘feel good’ hormone. Like a match made in heaven, when you combine it with exercise, focus and alertness throughout the day are enhanced. The dopamine release reinforces healthy habits by activating our brain’s reward system, motivating us to continue making positive lifestyle choices.

Multiple studies involving sleep deprivation show how consuming caffeine improves neuromuscular coordination and reaction time, therefore enhancing our ability to perform physical activities, even when we’ve had a rough night.

Is Timing Important?

Research suggests that timing plays a crucial role in optimising the benefits of caffeine during exercise. To align the effects of caffeine with the peak concentration in your system, aim to drink your coffee approximately 30 minutes before you exercise. This timing allows you to maximise the stimulatory effects of caffeine and enhance your physical performance during your workout.

Huberman recommends to waiting at least 90 minutes after waking up before consuming your first cup of coffee. This delay allows the body to naturally eliminate adenosine molecules, which inhibit alertness and contribute to feelings of sleepiness. Caffeine typically masks these receptors, providing a temporary boost that can help delay the onset of fatigue.

While this approach may not be feasible for everyone, the benefits of regular exercise can be more significant than the benefits of delaying coffee consumption.

Tips to Optimise Consumption

Love coffee a little too much? Science has shown that between 1-3mg per kilo of body weight is where you’ll find the sweet spot. With approximately 126mgs of caffeine in an espresso shot, weighing 70kgs would mean you would want to stay under 3 cups a day.

On the other hand, if you’re not a regular caffeine consumer, start low and go slow! You’ll know if you’re overcaffeinated when you start experiencing signs like headaches, feeling shaky and generally anxious. Keep in the safe zone and try not to have more than 5mg per kilo a day.

More than just a Buzz 

Coffee truly is the gift that keeps giving! If you’re looking for ways to reduce tired achy muscles after a workout, caffeine could be the answer. Studies have shown when taken as a substitute for pre-workout, caffeine can reduce DOMS. A study in the Journal of Pain recorded a 48% drop in muscle soreness due to the pain-killing properties found in caffeine.

Not only do we feel a temporary energy boost from coffee, but it also has a lasting impact on our cognitive function. In moderate amounts, caffeine’s anti-inflammatory properties can enhance our mental performance, improve our mood, and reduce anxiety levels. Research has shown that responsible caffeine consumption can even lower the risk of depression.

In conjunction with a balanced diet and exercise, this magic drop has proven to lower inflammation and stimulate our metabolic rate, lowering our risk of type 2 diabetes.

Fuel for Thought

We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to speciality milk and flavoured coffee, the big question remains, what’s the best option? Any type of brewed or instant coffee is suitable for substituting your pre-workout. If you’re planning to fast, stick to a black coffee and avoid speciality coffees that generally have added syrups.  

Whilst drinking too much milk close to exercise can result in an upset stomach and should be avoided by those with intolerances, studies suggest that small amounts could provide an additional source of energy to fuel a longer workout.

Brew Over the Details

Substituting coffee for pre-workout is a powerful tool that can enhance your mental and physical well being. By understanding the science behind caffeine and timing your consumption correctly, you can unlock its full potential. Remember to start slow, stay balanced, and enjoy the buzz!

Now that we’ve ground out the facts, we’d love to invite you to the Next Gen café for a warm cup of coffee before your next workout.