Coffee: The Sports Brew That Can “Do” For You October 16, 2015
Coffee: The Sports Brew That Can “Do” For You October 16, 2015

There’s nothing like an icy cold or hot coffee to start the day. Besides its great taste and cobweb-clearing abilities, coffee can give you a workout boost. When used in moderation and with a strategy in mind, it’s a perfect performance-enhancer.

A pre-workout espresso or regular ol’ cup of joe can:

1. Help you burn more calories. According to a February 2015 report in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, subjects who drank about 12 ounces of coffee pre-workout burned about 15% more calories than those who didn’t.

2. Boost your circulation. What’s interesting about the beloved brew is that both coffee lovers and occasional java drinkers can benefit from some of its pluses. For example, a Japanese study cited in Health magazine found that even occasional coffee drinkers experienced better blood flow when they drank a cup before working out.

3. Enhance your performance. Better blood flow means better circulation and that means more oxygen to your muscles. Better oxygenation enhances exercise performance. Everybody wins.

4. Get you psyched and feeling stronger. According to a New York Times story, a 2011 Coventry University study found subjects who drank a caffeinated beverage before weight training felt stronger, put more work into their training sessions and were more psychologically ready to continue their workouts than those who abstained. So, which way to the nearest Starbucks?

5. Make you last longer. The New York Times also noted that caffeine increases the prevalence of fatty acids in the bloodstream. This sounds like a bad thing, but it’s not: Those deposits fuel your running, pedaling and strength training, which means you can save your limited stash of carbs for later in your workout.

Making Joe Work for You Now that you know the wonders of caffeine, you may be asking, “How much is enough?” The answer is different for each of us. Not only does everyone metabolize caffeine differently, but also the amount in each cup varies. For best results, test different amounts and scale back if you get the jitters, a sour stomach or other unappealing side effects. For most people, one to two cups per day is plenty.

Now that you know how caffeine can benefit your fitness plan, what are you waiting for? Start making those pre-gym coffee dates now.

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