Caffeine Before a Workout? Yes. Extra Buzz.
You may think we’ve sold out to Starbucks, but no, the science is becoming clear — one way to make your workout even more efficient is to take in 12 ounces of coffee (that’s for a 150-pound woman). What does it do? According to this article, quite a bit:
- Oxygenation of blood is integral to muscle function, and one study showed a 30% increase in the circulation of smaller blood vessels after people consumed a 5-ounce cup of coffee.
- We are reviewing studies that show an intense workout can increase your pain tolerance, but another study suggests downing a cup of joe will decrease the pain you feel in a workout.
- Like everything else, our muscles age. And the older we get the harder it is to push ourselves. But every little bit helps, and one study says aside from making you feel younger, caffeine actually helps to strengthen muscles during a workout – more than those decaffeinated athletes next to you.
- Drinking it beforehand is good, but coffee is so magic it’s even helpful after your workout. You always want to get some carbs in your body when you’re done with your regimen so you can build up glycogen. That’s the stuff that allows you to get back on the horse next time you hit the gym and take it up a notch. Adding caffeine to carbs can, according to one study, up your glycogen by 66 percent after exercise.
We don’t need to tell you that too much of a good thing can backfire, though. Coffee can also dehydrate you, increase anxiety and keep you awake at night. And there is no caramel macchiato being produced today that’s healthy enough to justify drinking it for the caffeine. But there are plenty of other foods and beverages to give you a caffeine boost.
Our pick? Straight espresso over ice. No sugar.