Coffee is perhaps best known for its ability to inject a little pep into an otherwise sluggish morning routine. But waking up with a cup of joe may have even more benefits for those who exercise in the morning.
Research shows that those who drink coffee before a workout experience a boost in performance.
The energy-imbuing elixir helps your mind and body work harder during a workout, says Heidi Skolnik, M.S., a sports nutritionist and owner of Nutrition Conditioning, Inc.
"Caffeine is a stimulant that acts on the central nervous system, the heart, and possibly the 'center' that controls blood pressure," Skolnik told the Daily Burn.
She adds that coffee can also help you enjoy the workout more, since it can increase the release of feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine, which affects mood and pain receptors.
Studies have also found that pre-workout coffee drinkers consume 72 fewer calories later in the day and have an easier time resisting the urge to succumb to food cravings.
But before you decide to swing by the coffee shop on your way to the gym, be advised that timing can play a role in how coffee impacts your workout performance.
One hour before
Skolnik explains that drinking a cup of coffee about an hour before you hit the gym is optimal, as the body wastes no time putting the caffeine to work.
"Caffeine is quickly absorbed from the stomach within 15 to 45 minutes of consumption, but it hits its peak stimulatory effects between 30 and 75 minutes," Skolnik says.
But while coffee is a fluid, Skolnik emphasizes that a 250-300 mg cup of coffee isn’t enough fluid to get your body ready for a workout. In addition to drinking coffee, she recommends drinking at least seven to 12 ounces of water during the hour or two before your workout.
Indeed, staying hydrated is key -- and water is usually best. A recent study found that attempting to rehydrate with soft drinks may actually increase dehydration.