Coffee before exercise?

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Many people like to use coffee or an espresso prior to training as a workout stimulant or enhancer.


But is this best or healthy? Everyone will have their own opinions and trials, but here’s my thoughts – I’d be interested to hear yours;


Caffeine has been shown to improve alertness, act as a stimulant, and improve the mental fatigue side of the brain during intense, or prolonged exercise.

Some people will also take a coffee before HIIT training for it’s fat loss promoting benefits.

Basically, if your body is in a carb depleted state (have carbs at lunch, then a coffee first thing the following morning, on an empty stomach prior to exercise) you can shuttle fatty acids from the fat cells, into the blood stream to be used as energy during exercise.


Coffee is acidic – therefore it will throw off the bodies PH balance, often upsetting the digestive system , leading to additional water loss – not great if you’re setting out on an hour + run.

By increasing the acidity in the body it will further affect your lactate threshold (ability to work harder/longer as lactic acid builds in the muscles)

It will therefore affect your blood levels, and could impair oxygen delivery to working muscles, crucial for optimal performance when exercising (as per the PH levels above)

Coffee/caffeine is a diuretic so will make you lose additional water, which could be a problem in hot weather or long training, when you want to hold onto as much waster as possible.

Exercise, especially when intense will naturally raise cortisol levels in the body – by taking on board coffee/caffeine, you’re exacerbating this reaction.


With the stimulant effect of coffee/caffeine, you release adrenaline from your adrenal glands which increases heart rate and puts you in the “alert” state. Today many people already tax their adrenal glands through too much stress, sugar and stimulant foods, and taking on board excess coffee will exacerbate this problem leading to raised cortisol levels which if consumed/repeated often can lead to further hormonal imbalance including raised insulin levels, lowered testosterone, raised oestrogen levels and lowered thyroid. ┬áConsistently elevated levels of cortisol will offset all other hormones in the body causing health issues.


Many people don’t sleep well and excessive caffeine consumption will further compound these problems, again affecting health and fat loss results.


A sure sign coffee and caffeine affects the body and brain in a non-too positive way is when regular consumers stop intake for a week or so and experience headaches for a number of days – a fine sign the body has been overloaded with stimulants/toxins!

I had a coffee this morning for the first time in a week and really didn’t feel great, so am going on a coffee amnesty for a while! I can get enough caffeine without the downsides from a good quality green tea, or from drinking Super Brain Talk from Phil Richards which increases my mental focus and concentration without the “comedown and side effects” of coffee; not a sales pitch, my opinion but feel free to search or checkout the product on his site and give it a try if you’re intrigued.


So, rather than follow the bandwagon, or drink it because you’ve heard it’s good, try a few other options, test things out for yourself, but worth considering the above.


Let me know your experiences – thoughts on this!

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