Healthy Living

Drinking Coffee Before A Workout Could Boost Your Endurance

Changes the meaning of a "coffee run," ey?
12/28/2015 03:27pm ET

Coffee, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways. Number one: You give us life. Number two: You help keep things moving. Number three: You make mornings bearable.

The list goes on and a new study has given us more grounds to call coffee our most beloved beverage: The caffeine in a morning cup of joe could boost athletic endurance, according to new findings published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

Previous research has examined the pre-workout powers of coffee, and Simon Higgins, a third-year doctoral student in kinesiology in the College of Education at the University of Georgia analyzed more than 600 scholarly articles, scanning for the ones that measured caffeine and endurance performance, to find a more concrete conclusion about the drink's benefit.

Higgins found that between 3 and 7 milligrams of caffeine from coffee per kilogram of body weight boosted endurance performance by an average of 24 percent. The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee can vary depending on how it's roasted and brewed. The average cup contains anywhere from from 75 mg to 150 mg (FYI: Starbucks tends to have more caffeine than Dunkin').

"This is helpful for athletes because coffee is a naturally occurring compound," Higgins said in a statement. "There's the potential that getting your caffeine by drinking coffee has similar endurance benefits as taking caffeine pills."

The study author examined nine different trials in which participants either cycled or ran after drinking a cup of coffee. In most of the cases, endurance increased when coffee was ingested. According to Higgins, his findings suggest caffeine can improve physical performance and that there needs to be more research done on the use of straight caffeine versus the use of caffeine from coffee.

"While there is a lack of high-quality research on coffee as a source of caffeine, there is an abundance of research on pure caffeine," he said. "It's surprising how little we know about caffeine from coffee when its endurance effects could be just as beneficial as pure caffeine."

Athletes who do rely on coffee for a boost should be mindful of every cup's caffeine content. "Be careful because you don't know how much caffeine is in some coffee, especially when it's prepared by someone else," Higgins said. Athletes could benefit from sticking to the brands with a caffeine content of which they are aware.

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