Is it a good idea to have coffee before workouts or should you steer clear of it?
Maybe you’re planning to start your day with an exercise sesh or you want to work out after what’s been a long day and tiring day and are struggling to find the energy.
Whatever your circumstances, all you know is that you need a pick-me-up to get you through; a quick caffeine fix will do the trick, won’t it?
Will it? Won’t it? What’s the deal with having caffeine before workouts? Keep reading for the facts on coffee and exercise.
1. Decaffeinated coffee (125ml) – 3mg of caffeine
2. Tea (150ml) – 32mg of caffeine
3. Caffeinated soft drinks (330ml) – 39mg of caffeine
4. Sugar-free caffeinated soft drinks (330ml) – 41mg of caffeine
5. Hot chocolate (150ml) – 4mg of caffeine
6. Energy drinks (330ml) – 80mg of caffeine
Caffeine is naturally present in cocoa beans, and the more darker the chocolate, the more caffeine it will contain. Caffeine levels can range from anywhere between 14mg to more than 30mg.
Chocolate-flavoured ice cream and frozen yoghurt contains around 30 to 45mg of caffeine because of the cocoa bean-caffeine connection.
These delicious treats can contain around 10mg of caffeine, or even more, depending on how chocolatey they are.
Cocoa-flavoured cereals can contain more or less caffeine, depending on how much chocolate/cocoa beans and caffeine has been used to make them.Handpicked content: Food and drink caffeine levels: How much caffeine is in decaf coffee?
Academics have done a lot of research on caffeine, exercise and sports performance. And the results are clear.
Taken as a pre-workout aid, caffeine can improve your workout in several ways. It can sharpen your mental focus and improve your RPE (rate of perceived exertion), so you could work out for longer. It can also extend your endurance, and boost your performance. It seems to be particularly beneficial for endurance exercise (including cardio workouts) and strength or power training (like weight training and lifting).
Don’t forget that caffeine can affect sleep, too. So if you work out in the evening, having a coffee before gym could stop you from getting to sleep that night.
But if you have no issues with caffeine, go ahead and try an espresso before your next session. See how it improves your mental and physical performance!
Before you go down this route, you may want to think about when you plan your pre-workout caffeine though, to make sure you feel the full effects of it when you really need it. Also, don’t forget that you can also get your fix in many different ways, not just via coffee. Plenty of other drinks – and food – contain caffeine; varying different levels of it.We hope you’ve found this article useful. Now that you’re here, would you like to learn some more about how caffeine impacts the human body? If so, then check out this article: ‘Is caffeine good for you?’
Last updated: 10 February 2021
Author: Donia Hilal, Nutritionist
Donia started her career as a freelance nutritionist, later she joined Nestle as their Market Nutritionist to help support their healthier product range, before joining the team at Holland & Barrett in January 2018. Donia has 6 years experience as a Nutritionist and also works with clients on a one to one basis to support their goals which include weight loss, prenatal and postnatal nutrition and children’s health.Donia has a special interest in; weight management, plant-based nutrition, pregnancy nutrition, special diets and disease risk reduction. Donia's LinkedIn profile