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Four Awesome Athletic Performance Benefits of Coffee

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There are numerous health and performance benefits of drinking coffee. In fact, caffeine is the most effective legal performance-enhancing aid available to you.

How effective is it?

Controlled studies show it can enhance athletic performance by a whopping 25 percent, which equals about 5 to 7 percent in real-world competitions. Coffee can also radically accelerate recovery and raise motivation to train, so it’s sure to give most individuals a valuable advantage.

Here are four of the best-researched performance benefits of coffee.

#1: Reduce Muscle Soreness & Recover Faster

Coffee is one of the most effective aids for reducing the debilitating muscle soreness that appears a day or two after a hard workout. Plus, it’s one of the only methods of restoring strength and muscle function when suffering from a major muscle thrashing.

#2: Overcome Early Morning Sluggishness & Boost Performance

Coffee is a godsend when you feel sluggish and unmotivated to work out because it boosts mood and blunts physical fatigue. Coffee also helps you overcome the fact that athletic performance is diminished in the morning compared to later in the day due to lower activation of the central nervous system and reduced body temperature.

#3: Increase Workout Quality

There are a number of physiological benefits to drinking coffee:

  • •It raises stimulatory hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine.
  • •It helps free fatty acids to increase the use of fat for energy.
  • •It decreases the sensation of pain, influencing the brain’s message of fatigue, allowing you to keep going when you’d normally collapse in exhaustion.

This combination of benefits translates into a 3 to 6 percent improvement in sprint and endurance performance.

#4: Improve Body Composition

Because it enhances motivation to train, coffee improves your desire to work hard, lift heavy weights and burn more energy for greater fat loss. It also increases your metabolic rate and enhances your ability to burn fat. By consuming the caffeine in coffee (rather than caffeine pills), your blood sugar is better modulated and insulin sensitivity is enhanced due to the antioxidants coffee contains.

What About Health Effects of Regularly Drinking Coffee?

Contrary to the old school belief that coffee is bad for you, it’s actually protective against a number of diseases, including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. Due to the powerful bioactive compounds caffeic and chlorogenic acids, coffee lowers risk of all these diseases as well as your overall risk of dying (known as all-cause mortality) by 10 percent.

How Much Coffee Should You Drink?

Most research shows performance benefits from 3 to 5 mg/kg/body weight of caffeine, which equals 2 to 3 cups of coffee. Drink it pre-workout to get the benefit. Avoid coffee immediately after training because it elevates cortisol.


Hurley, C., et al. The Effect of Caffeine Ingestion on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2013 Published Ahead of Print.

Koot, P., et al. Comparison of changes in energy expenditure and body temperatures after caffeine consumption. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism. 1995. 39(3):135-42.

Mora-Rodriguez, R., Pallares, J., et al. Caffeine Ingestion Reverses the Circadian Rhythm Effects on Neuromuscular Performance in Highly Resistance-Trained Men. PLOS One. 2012. 7(4), e33807.

Tarnopolsky M. Effect of caffeine on the neuromuscular system--potential as an ergogenic aid. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 2008. 33(6), 1284-1289. 

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