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By: Jerrod Tarman, Sr. Fitness Specialist 

“But first, Coffee.” A phrase spoken by everyone. Whether you’re a coffee snob or an occasional drinker we all know the delicious kick to our consciousness we rely on to function optimally as human beings. But, how will coffee effect my exercise?

  •  Cognitive: Coffee has been seen to improve memory, learning, and reaction time. The caffeine in coffee is associated with these benefits, especially the increased reaction time. Multiple studies have highlighted the acute benefits coffee has on alertness and mental performance.
  •  Endurance: Caffeine is a well-documented performance enhancing supplement. The average cup of coffee contains anywhere from 80-100mg of caffeine. One evidence-based review looked at 9 studies that focused on coffee ingestion pre-exercise and endurance performance. It was suggested from the review that coffee was useful for providing a safe alternative for increased endurance performance.
  •  Power: Coffee, caffeine specifically, has an impact on our body’s nervous system by increasing our sensitivity to different stimuli. Hence, the increase in reaction time and alertness. When it comes to power output, multiple studies have provided insight that caffeine promotes muscle control; which allows us to lift more weights and become more coordinated. Multiple studies have highlighted the effects caffeine has on power output and sprint speed.
  •  Strength: With increased power output comes the possibility of becoming stronger through increased muscle development. Since the caffeine in coffee heightens our nervous system sensitivity and ability to produce power, this then increases motor recruitment for strength gains. Also, coffee has been suggested to slow the degeneration of muscle mass and increase the regeneration of injured muscle.
  •  Perceived Exertion: Another benefit of coffee is the impact it has on the amount of work we can perform during workouts. Coffee has been shown to inhibit the way we feel pain or muscle fatigue. A study performed by the University of Illinois found that caffeine allowed subjects to push harder and through more pain during a workout.

Coffee is a safe way to increase brain function, endurance, strength and power without all the harsh chemicals and stimulants you find in various other “pre-workout” supplements found at your local nutrition store. If coffee isn’t for you, other ways to receive your caffeine fix include; tea, kola nuts, mate leaves and guarana.