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Performance and Health Benefits from Coffee

Senior Nutrition and Wellness: Performance and Health Benefits from CoffeeIf you’re planning on going to the gym try taking two large cups of coffee beforehand. In a study on lifters, the groups were split up into taking, coffee, decaf coffee, caffeine pills, and placebos. The group that performed the best in the before and after testing was the group that drank two cups of coffee before starting their workout. The coffee group outperformed the decaf and placebo group which was expected, however, they also outperformed the caffeine pill group. This shows that there’s more to coffee than just the caffeine. Coffee is loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients even though it’s very low in calories.

Please note that if you’re working out later in the day, having too much caffeine before working out can interfere with the quality of your sleep. The exercise tested in the study was 1 set to failure on the bench press as well as the squat. If you plan on hitting the weights, 2 cups of coffee beforehand should be plenty to give you an increased performance boost.

But what do you do if you don’t feel like exercising? Actually, coffee can be beneficial in this instance as well. In a study with 12 endurance athletes who cycled for 90 minutes at 70% of their VO2 max, they perceived their efforts to be less strenuous with caffeine in their system. The athletes in the study took 6 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. For example, a 220-pound male weighing 100 kg would have to take 600 mg of caffeine. This is a very high dose of caffeine and should be avoided by more caffeine sensitive people. If you struggle with fatigue and mood, try having some caffeine before you exercise. Coffee can help make long distance cycling seem less fatiguing and more enjoyable.

Now you’ve worked out with weights, done some cardio, and you are naturally feeling a little bit sore from working out. This is where coffee can help you once more with your fitness and health. Ingesting coffee before your workout has also been shown to reduce the amount of muscle soreness you get from the workout. In one study the participants took 5 mg of caffeine per kilograms of body weight. They saw improved performance benefits and a reduced amount of soreness after the workout. Caffeine seems to lessen the soreness response to exercise which will help you feel better and get more done in the gym.

Senior Nutrition and Wellness: Performance and Health Benefits from CoffeeCoffee obviously has many benefits for your exercise program. It helps you enjoy exercise more, lift more weight, as well as keeping the soreness at a more comfortable level. Coffee has also been shown to improve other health factors. Coffee consumption can decrease the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. The underlying mechanism for how coffee helps to do so is not fully understood.

One possible explanation is that the antioxidants in coffee help improve health and wellness overall. Especially chlorogenic acid which is an antioxidant in coffee, seem to have many health benefits. The type of coffee that is used in most research is regular filtered coffee. The sweet spot for how much coffee to drink for optimal health seems to be around 2 to 3 cups per day. If you drink less than this you might not get the full benefit and exceeding 4 cups a day will probably not give you better results.

Follow these steps and improve your health and performance with coffee:

  • Drink 2 to 3 cups of filtered coffee per day

  • Drink your coffee before exercise and preferably in the a.m. time

  • Drinking coffee later in the day can interfere with sleep quality

  • Avoid adding too much milk, cream, or sugar.

  • Choose coffee over caffeine supplements for the antioxidant benefits

Ingesting too much caffeine can have serious health consequences. Exceeding a gram per day Will not be beneficial. Be cautious with caffeine pills and don’t use powdered caffeine since it’s very hard to accurately measure the amount needed.

Coffee and resistance training performance –
Caffeine and prolonged cycling performance –
Caffeine and muscle soreness –
Coffee and type 2 diabetes –

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Oscar Isacsson, M.S., CSCS

Oscar Isacsson, M.S., CSCS

Director of Training and Head Coach at CrossFit TNT
M.S Human Performance from Lindenwood University

B.S. Exercise Science from Lindenwood University

Started CrossFit in 2010.

Favorite thing about what I do:

To help and see people improve their fitness and confidence


Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association

CF L1 Coach

CF L2 Coach

CF Endurance

CF Weightlifting

CF Mobility

CF Gymnastics

USAW Sports Performance Coach & club coach

CPR Certified
Oscar Isacsson, M.S., CSCS

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