Alexa, play: Death Bed (Coffee for your head) by Powfu

Hey all, Mike here from Echo Athletics. Today we’re diving into the pros and cons of adding coffee to your workout, pre or post.

Besides it being the sweet, delicious, golden nectar sent from the heavens above (can you tell I like caffeine?), coffee can definitely have an effect on your workout game. On a personal level I find if I go without my morning coffee I'm a little uneasy throughout the day. Not necessarily because I’m craving caffeine but being a creature of habit I like to keep my routine and coffee is certainly high on the list when looking at my daily habits. What’s my coffee order you ask? If I’m looking for something to keep me warm and last for a little while I’ll go for an americano, no milk. If I’m looking for something on the move but with a little kick it’s always a double cortado - hits the spot every time.

What does coffee do to the body?

We all know caffeine is a stimulant, but what’s it actually doing to the body? Ultimately, you're getting a short, sharp shock to your nervous system resulting in an increase in brain activity and higher circulation of chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline. 

Your body temperature may increase a little bit and yes, you'll feel less tired (for a short period anyway), though that’s not because you’re more awake, caffeine simply blocks your body’s tiredness receptors for a period of time! 

The pros + cons of a pre- or post-workout coffee

Coffee, if being used for its stimulating effects, should be consumed no less than 45 minutes before your training session to reap the rewards. It can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes to hit your system and have a positive effect on your training but keep in mind the time of day - if you workout in the evenings, a coffee pre-workout might have you up later than planned!  

Consuming caffeine before your workout could add to your mental focus helping you improve reps and stay on target throughout. A post-workout coffee on the other hand could help muscle recovery by keeping your body’s production of glycogen at a higher level, reducing soreness. 

Keep in mind that caffeine affects your CNS (central nervous system) and if you’re having a stressful day or need to concentrate this may impede your ability to perform even some basic tasks. Have you ever had that one extra coffee to get over the mid morning slump but it’s had the opposite effect and you’re now jittery, sluggish and feeling a little off? You might just have coffee to thank for that.

Different coffee combos

Sprucing up your coffee with some toppings, additives and alternative milks can, for sure, make it taste better and definitely more Instagram worthy but what effect is it actually having? Again, this all depends on what you’re adding but ultimately, if you’re adding milk, sugar or sugar-alternatives to your coffee then you’re also adding a very small amount of carbs to the mix. It likely won’t have a major effect on your performance but if you’re in a weight loss phase, doing fasted cardio or won’t be eating before your workout then it’s best to keep to black coffee, which contains no carbs at all! 

What about tea?

Aside from the hydration benefits gained, tea can add some pluses to your workout and depending on the type of tea you consume, can help with increasing your metabolism, providing a quick energy boost and help to relieve muscle aches and pains (try chamomile or lemongrass). So although we’re firmly on Team Coffee, there’s a lot to be said for a classic cup of tea! 

So what’s the key takeaway you ask? Coffee for training is definitely something to explore and has the potential to help your performance but as with anything, misuse or overstimulation can have a negative impact on your training days so keep your coffee hits in check!

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