Coffee and Exercising

Posted on May 24 2022, By: Ana Ocansey

Coffee and Exercising

Should I drink coffee before working out?

Have you ever gone to the gym with low energy?  

Have you tried pre-workouts and gotten no results?  

My experience


Looking at fitbit tracker

I have gone through the same experiences!

A couple of years ago I was working out everyday. I would go to the gym during my lunch hour during the weekdays while playing tennis on the weekends. This is on top of walking about 5 miles a day to the train, my son’s school, the office, and everything back in reverse. I decided to add a tennis class mid-week with my husband and thought I needed a pre-workout to help me stay energized. 

I saw some pre-workout powders to take so I purchased one and started taking it before my evening tennis class.  

Chocolate powder with sea salt

The first time I took the pre-workout, my hands and fingers were shaky, my body felt jittery, my legs and arms were red and the palms of my hands were extremely itchy. I drank more water to dilute whatever was going on in my body.  

I felt I was all over the court that night, I was not able to focus on the swing of my racquet or the balance of my footwork. I kept rushing my swing and couldn’t stay still waiting for the next shot. 

tennis ball near net

The following week, I read the directions more closely, thinking I read them incorrectly the week before. I measured everything out according to the instructions. The results were the same. This time, I made note of when the feelings started but now, I was feeling a little sick in my stomach. I thought I might be having an allergic reaction to an ingredient in the pre-workout. 

The next day I told my trainer what I was feeling and she told me to stop taking the pre-workout. She suggested I drink a cup of coffee before exercising if I needed energy. Since there are ingredients in the pre-workout that I had no clue what it was.

What I changed

The following week I made myself a shot of espresso and had such a better match and was able to focus better on all the aspects of my game. 

Espresso in a brown cup

My performance was awesome. I had a fuller swing and was able to make it to the ball and hit it with more accuracy. I felt in better control of myself and the racquet. I had not changed my diet that day or my routine. The only difference was the shot of espresso. 

Here is why

According to Medical News Today: Most people who drink coffee before a workout consume it for its caffeine. Numerous studies suggest that consuming caffeine pre-workout may: 

  • enhance physical performance 
  • boost cognitive function 
  • potentially increase the amount of fat burned 

How much to drink 

I normally drink an espresso. You do not want to drink too much liquid before a hard workout. Also, do not add sugar or milk. Sugar and milk will weigh too much in your gut when trying to run, move and lift weights. 

What coffee does

Research states that caffeine is an effective ergogenic acid — or performance enhancer — in both strength and cardio training. Its benefits may include: 

  • increased muscular strength, endurance, and power 
  • increased aerobic endurance 
  • improved sprinting, jumping, and throwing performance 
  • sparing glycogen stores and utilizing fat as a main fuel source 
  • enhanced focus and alertness 

woman at gym lifting weight

Interestingly, caffeine has been shown to be effective for both athletes and non-athletes, meaning that the average gym-goer still benefits. 

Benefits of drinking coffee before workout

Here are specific benefits to drinking a small amount of coffee an hour before working out: 

  1. Improves your speed

Caffeine has a major impact on speed for resistance exercises. 

Race track with numbers

  1. Boosts your strength

A 2018 review suggests that consuming caffeine can support your max muscle strength and upper body and muscle power. According to researchers, caffeine improved athletes' vertical jump height and boosted powerlifters’ performance. 

Since most of these studies were conducted on men, though, the authors noted that more research may be needed to understand how caffeine affects female athletes. 

woman holding weights

  1. Reduces anaerobic exhaustion

A 2018 study suggests that having caffeine before working out can keep you from reaching exhaustion longer during anaerobic activity.  

(It really helps me not get exhausted too fast during my HIIT workouts) 

Tired man sitting

  1. Increases aerobic power

Your daily jog, walk, or hike benefits from your coffee habit. Aerobic endurance seems to benefit the most from caffeine. In particular, cycling, running, cross-country skiing, and swimming  all seem to get the biggest boost. 

women walking in sunshine

  1. Reduces muscle pain

YAY!! Having caffeine before a workout may reduce muscle pain and stiffness. 

woman holding towel after workout

Look out for signs

Drinking coffee before working out is not for everyone though. Please keep track when you drink coffee before working to compare your results, like I did with the pre-workout powders. If you do not feel fine, please listen to your body. 


#AnaOcansey #CoffeeHabit #PreWorkout #HealthStudies #Training #EnergyBoost #Endurance