There are just some days when you feel tired and a workout might just seem impossible to push through. These are the days when you might be wondering what you could use to help you feel a little more energized and motivated right before you start your workout.
Amongst all options, there are two which usually stand out and can help you perform better. But there is again another question: is caffeine or a pre work out supplement better for enhancing your performance during a workout? Here are some points to help you decide between coffee vs pre workout supplements.
Benefits of having coffee before a workout
Coffee is something that almost everyone has in their home. Not only do we love it because of its aroma and taste but it’s also a great helper when it comes to waking up in the morning and getting started for another tiring day.
This is exactly the reason why many people choose coffee as a boost to help them be more active and efficient during a workout. The caffeine found in coffee can help you be more active as well as more focused during your workout and therefore help you perform better.
Along with these, there are many other benefits linked to the consumption of coffee before a workout. Caffeine can help improve the circulation in the body and therefore help your muscles have access to more oxygen. As a result, you will be a lot more active during your workout.
When should you have coffee before a workout?
The best time to consume your cup of coffee is 30 to 60 minutes before your workout as this is when the caffeine starts kicking in. This will help you feel energetic and ready for your next workout.
On top of that, coffee has also been linked with a reduction in muscle pain after exercise. A study from the University of Illinois has shown that consuming the equivalent of two to three cups of coffee before a 30-minute session of high-intensity exercise helped the participant experience less muscle pain while maintaining a high performance during the exercise.
Another great reason why coffee can be a great pre-workout fuel is because it can help boost fat loss. To make this simpler, when you drink coffee before you start your workout, your fat cells start being used as an energy source instead of your muscle’s glycogen.
This is also another big reason why coffee helps with muscle recovery, as it was mentioned earlier. In addition to that, you are also going to be burning more calories during your workout, as coffee can help boost your metabolism.
Are there side-effects of too much caffeine before a workout?
Too much caffeine can have a series of bad effects on your body so it is a good idea to always stay within the limits of healthy consumption. In order to enhance your performance with minimal side effects, you can consume about 2 cups of coffee before your workout, or about 6mg of caffeine per kg of body weight.
In this case, it seems logical to keep in mind that more is not better when it comes to caffeine consumption. Some of the side-effects you can potentially experience include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Digestive issues
All of these effects can seriously affect your athletic performance for the worse, as well as your other day-to-day activities. Caffeine can be helpful at fueling your workout but up to a certain extent and you will need to stay within the recommended intake in order to fully benefit from it without experiencing any of the aforementioned side-effects.
If you believe you have consumed a little too much coffee before your workout and you are starting to feel its negative effects, the best thing you can do is to drink plenty of water in order to counteract the effects of the caffeine.
You should also keep in mind that caffeine can have a very bad effect on already existing conditions like hypertension, so consulting your physician in advance is the right thing to do before making coffee a daily staple of your exercise routine.
Is having a supplement pre-workout the right option?
Pre-workout supplements are formulas which have been specifically created in order to help those who work out do so at their best capacity.
In case you didn’t know, many pre-workout supplements consist of 7 different ingredients, and in many of those caffeine is a component you will come across often. But what is the difference between a pre-workout supplement and coffee and how can it affect your performance?
Pre-workout supplements work in a way similar to caffeine. They are designed so that you can benefit from more strength, energy and endurance during your workout after receiving them.
One thing you need to take into consideration is that while supplements are highly marketed and used by many fitness enthusiasts, they are not always truly effective. Experts suggest that these supplements can help increase your heartbeat and therefore the blood flow around the body and improve focus but these effects don’t always apply to everyone and in every scenario.
This is mainly because not all pre-workout supplements will work the same and not are formulated in the same way. This happens because many supplements say they include a certain ingredient but it is often found only in a very small amount. Therefore, its effects cannot come into play as there is simply not enough of it.
After doing some research and picking the right supplement, you will come to find that there are plenty non-caffeinated supplements which can be a big help to those who can’t consume it for both personal and medical reasons.
At the same time, they will be able to experience similar benefits in regards to energy and endurance, as these supplements consist of many more ingredients such L-Theanine, L- Citrulline Malate, creatine, guarana and others.
Pre-workout supplements might not be helpful with every type of exercise and that greatly depends on the ingredients they include. For example, creatine, one of the most popular supplements in our day, is known by research to help safely increase muscle mass, strength and exercise performance.
This is exactly why a supplement containing higher amounts of creatine can help you improve and increase your muscular strength.
On the other hand, Citruline had been found to help with increasing your energy levels by also increasing the blood flow to body tissues and therefore helping you perform better at higher intensity exercises. It can also help with muscle soreness and recovery the next few days after the exercise.
Another thing to keep in mind is that including protein in a pre-workout supplement might seem logical at first as it could help you with gaining muscle mass but at the same time it can cause intense nausea and that will simply make you feel unwell. It is generally advised to keep your protein supplements for consumption after your workouts.
How to pick a good pre-workout supplement?
The best way to pick a supplement which will do what it’s supposed to do is by looking at the ingredients. If you come across a supplement which says that it contains “proprietary blends”, it is best to stay away from it as it will most likely include very small amounts of each ingredient as they are not easy to trace in this form.
A good idea to try in this situation is to, first of all, consult a professional who will be able to explain the differences between different ingredients depending on your exercise needs. Then, you can simply buy those different ingredients separately in order to create your very own pre-workout supplement.
Making your own pre-workout supplement would help you adjust the dosages of different ingredients to your own needs and find out what works best for you and your needs. At the same time though it might not be the easiest thing in the world.
The best options you have are to do enough research on online recommendations, read about the different ingredients and always pay very close attention to the labels on each supplement. If a supplement has not been tested in an independent laboratory and you can’t be certain of the percentages of each ingredient included in the formula, this should not be your no1 choice.
Which is the best choice for me?
At the end of the day, the choice will be up to you and whether you wish to consume coffee or not. All in all, coffee is much more inexpensive to buy and can last you for a long time whereas pre-workout supplements can usually be rather expensive to buy, especially if you’re looking for one that will do its job decently.
Caffeine is a good option for people who wish to have more energy and burn more fat during a workout, as long as you stay within the limits if healthy consumption.
Depending on your fitness goals though, a supplement could help you feel more energized and allow you to experience similar benefits to caffeine without the common side-effects, especially if its formula contains no caffeine.
Whatever you choose though, it is always a good idea to first come in contact with a medical professional who will be able to verify that you are in good health and able to start taking either of the two options.
Which of the two would you prefer based on your own fitness goals?