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A Pre-Workout Coffee Can Boost Your Calorie Burn

Coffee isn’t just for breakfast—find out how it also powers up your workout results!

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A Pre-Workout Coffee Can Boost Your Calorie Burn

Written by Dr. Kellyann Petrucci

Want to get more fat-burning payoff from your spin cycling, HIIT training, or Crossfit workouts? Then I have one word for you:


Yep, that’s right. That glorious drink that transforms you from a zombie into a human being in the morning can also ramp up the benefits you get from exercise.

In fact, there’s a ton of research showing that caffeinated coffee is ergogenic—that is, it enhances your performance when you work out—and that it keeps you burning more calories long afterward. Here’s a sampling of the findings:

So caffeine helps you burn more fat, energizes you so you work out harder, makes exercise more fun, and eases those workout-related aches and pains. How’s that for awesome?

And here’s more news that will make you happy. Experts used to think that regularly drinking coffee diminished its exercise-related benefits over time. But new research shows that both coffee newbies and java junkies get the same boost from a pre-workout dose of caffeine.

Want still more good news? The belief that coffee dehydrates you turns out to be a myth. In fact, it hydrates you as well as water.

Why is caffeine an exercise booster?

There are lots of reasons why caffeine adds power to your workouts. Among them:

  • It binds to the same receptors as a chemical called adenosine. Because adenosine makes you drowsy and plays a role in pain perception, blocking its receptors can make you more alert and reduce sensations of pain.

  • It enables your body to switch from burning sugar to burning fat, so your muscles can work longer before they get tired.

  • It causes your body to release the “fight or flight” hormones that ready you for action.

  • It’s thermogenic, meaning that it increases heat production, helping you burn more calories.

In addition, caffeine is a mood booster, hiking your levels of “feel good” dopamine—and when you’re happy, it’s easier to attack your workouts with gusto.

Tips for your pre-workout caffeine fix

Whether you’re a serious athlete or you work out just to stay in shape, a pre-exercise shot of caffeine is definitely worth a try. Here are some tips for getting the most reward from your dose of coffee:

  • If you want the maximum caffeine boost, drink a light-roast coffee. (It has a higher caffeine content.) If you’re more interested in other health benefits, choose a dark roast, which contains more antioxidants.

  • Drink your coffee about an hour before exercising. This will allow time for the effects to kick in.

  • Skip the cream and sugar. (Coconut milk is fine, and so is monk fruit sweetener.)

  • Don’t overdo it. One to two cups of coffee will give you the boost you want. If you don’t already drink caffeinated drinks, start with a single six-ounce cup.

  • Do your coffee-enhanced workouts early in the day. That way, the caffeine won’t keep you from falling asleep at night.

Also, buy a good-quality coffee—not the cheap stuff, which may contain mold and other contaminants. After all, you go for the best when you’re buying a sports bra, a yoga mat, or a pair of running shoes… so go first-class when it comes to this important new piece of exercise “equipment”!

Keep thinking Big and living BOLD!












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