But First, Coffee: Can Caffeine Impact Your Workout?

Many people wake up in the morning and immediately reach for a cup of coffee. But have you ever tried drinking coffee before a workout? While there's no clear answer on whether caffeine pre-workout is good or bad, some research shows that it may result in a longer workout. Here's what you should know about caffeine and exercise.

Coffee's Stimulants Can Affect Your Metabolism

Some people exercise to lose weight and increase their metabolism. Coffee's stimulants, including caffeine, block adenosine and increase neuron activity. They also release neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. This makes you feel more energized and awake, helping you stay active for longer. Caffeine also stimulates your nervous system, which helps break down fat cells. Some studies even show that caffeine can increase your resting metabolic rate (RMR), which makes it easier to lose weight.

Black Coffee Could Promote a Healthy Weight

Mixing caffeine with working out may help with weight management, depending on the type of coffee you're consuming. Black coffee can curb your appetite and improve your metabolism, which will help with weight loss when mixed with exercise. However, some individuals may find that coffee leads to poor sleep and sugar cravings that can cause weight gain. Others that drink coffee with added sugar and excessive calories won't get the benefits of weight loss.

Effects of Caffeine on Exercise

Should you drink caffeine before a workout? If you're feeling tired, a cup of black coffee can help increase alertness. Some studies show that caffeine may even help muscles burn fat by preserving glycogen stores and giving you more time before your muscles wear out. Keep in mind that this may only work for longer endurance workouts — caffeine's energizing effects peak about an hour after you drink a cup and can last for four to six hours afterward. Coffee impacts several areas of the body, including:

  • The nervous system: Activates the nervous system and brain to increase focus and energy while decreasing tiredness.
  • Hormones: Epinephrine or adrenaline gives you the "fight or flight" response that can increase athletic performance.
  • Endorphins: Both coffee and exercise increase endorphins, which help you feel better.
  • Body temperature: Coffee can increase thermogenesis, heat production, which helps you burn calories.

If you regularly drink coffee, you may need an extra cup to get the benefits of caffeine and exercise. It's also unclear how much coffee you should drink to get the full benefits, so start adding it carefully. Coffee has a few drawbacks and can lead to headaches, blood pressure spikes and possibly stomach ulcers. Try drinking a cup of coffee an hour before a workout to see if it makes exercising easier and less tiring.

Start Your Fitness Journey at Gateway Region YMCA

If you're interested in learning more about caffeine and exercise, or you want to start a fitness routine, find a Gateway Region YMCA nearest to you to get started. We have a variety of health and fitness activities that will jumpstart your journey to better health. Sign up to join the Y today or contact us online with any questions.