January 12th, 2021
If you work out first thing in the morning, chances are you’ve had to dig deep on occasion and claw some motivation from the depths of your soul to leave the comfort of bed and get those trainers on.
It’s a common solution to the bleary-eyed morning feels to grab a cup of coffee to kick start the day and energise yourself, but few of us think to knowingly drink it as a way to power-up for a workout. We’re used to browsing through endless listings of sickeningly garish and flamboyant ‘pre-workout’ brands, which, terrifyingly, are barely regulated in the UK. The ingredients lists often stretch to solid paragraphs in bible sized font. If you need a magnifying glass to work out what exactly it is you’re ingesting, that’s a f*ck-off big red warning sign in our books.
Coffee, on the other hand, is just that - plus milk & sugar, if you choose (but these can negate many of its benefits). Caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical in coffee which has numerous positive benefits, from raising energy levels to free fatty acid mobilization. But how effective is it exactly as a pre-workout supplement?
Well, we’ve done our research and this is how coffee can help you secure those sought-after gains…
Firstly, what is it that a ‘pre-workout’ supplement is meant to do?
They’re dietary supplements that you take about an hour before heading to the gym or challenging yourself physically through any sort of exercise. The idea is that they provide a powerful energy boost to kick start your activity, and help you to perform at your best, every time.
There is no magic ingredient in there though that will provide all this power. Components often include caffeine, creatine, amino acids, and B vitamins, but - especially if it’s a powdered variety it’s highly likely there’ll also be a ton of artificial sweeteners in the mix so it doesn’t taste like cement mix.
So, this is all making coffee look pretty tempting…
Keeping it natural
Coffee is dead simple.
One natural ingredient - you know what you’re putting into your body.
How caffeine aids your workouts:
- Caffeine is a stimulant, so will make your workout/run/cycle feel less strenuous and more enjoyable!
- The alertness that comes from this stimulant helps keep you motivated. Besides increasing performance, coffee enhances mental focus as well, resulting in effective training sessions.
- Coffee also seems to ease muscle pain both during and after weight training and cardio sessions. It empowers you to take on higher resistance and achieve more reps during weight training, and log longer and faster runs in cardio workouts.
- A study published in the ‘International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism’ found that coffee enhanced fat-burning in exercise participants. Researchers saw that caffeine helped to burn 15% more calories in the three hours post-exercise, compared to participants taking a placebo.
- The antioxidants in coffee prevent the negative effects of cell damage and remove toxic by-products from your system. Alongside a healthy, balanced diet, a cup of coffee can give you that much needed antioxidant boost to help you recover faster and get back in the gym again.
Timing your coffee
The simple answer is: 45 minutes before you exercise. Caffeine is quickly absorbed from the stomach within 15-45 minutes of consumption, but it hits its peak stimulatory effects between 30-75 minutes. It’s also super important that you hydrate before you down that mugful too, and to eat a decent high-protein snack.
Which style brew?
The answer here comes back to personal preference. How do you like your coffee brewed?
Whether it’s freshly ground and made into an espresso or boshing out a quick pour-over-bag coffee or dropping a pod in the machine, each will give the desired effect. Check out our Brewing Guide blog post where you'll find all you need to know about making the perfect Black Insomnia coffee.
As for adding extras, it’s generally considered that black is best. Pure, unadulterated coffee contains all the benefits you need for an energetic workout.
It's important to note: caffeine affects everybody differently. Make sure you know your body’s caffeine tolerance!
By Black Insomnia
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