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Coffee: From Fueling Your Workout to Overall Health

Coffee: From Fueling Your Workout to Overall Health

Sean Mohney Certified Personal Trainer

Whether you enjoy your morning cup of coffee to boost your energy levels, fuel your workout, or for it’s documented health benefits, you’re certainly not alone.  According to the Harvard School of Public Health, 54% of Americans over the age of 18 consume coffee every day.  Caffeine has been heavily examined and published in numerous exercise physiology and nutrition journals, and coffee is one source of natural caffeine that has gained popularity amongst researchers.  Find out how your morning cup of coffee can not only improve your overall health, but also help you push to new workout heights. 


Coffee contains small compounds, known as phytochemicals, that offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  Antioxidants protect our cells against dangerously reactive molecules known as free radicals.  The American Institute for Cancer Research notes that “small intervention studies suggest that coffee may improve markers of antioxidant status and reduce markers of inflammation in the short-term.”  Because of its high concentration of phytochemicals, coffee is believed to protect against chronic diseases like cancer, liver cirrhosis, and type II diabetes.  Many studies suggest that regular and decaffeinated coffee may decrease insulin resistance, a condition that leads to high insulin levels in the body, and contributes to type II diabetes.  Reducing insulin resistance could help decrease the risk of certain cancers whose growth is promoted by excess insulin and additionally defend against the onset of type II diabetes.


So coffee has demonstrated an ability to promote overall health and defend against chronic diseases, but what about its pre workout effects?  As previously mentioned, caffeine has been heavily studied in the scientific community.  Because caffeine is a stimulant by nature, it has an ability to augment heightened central nervous system activity and, therefore, pulls a great interest from sports physiologists.  The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) offers a position stance on caffeine in relations to its ergogenic effects.  Noted within the position stance occur numerous viewpoints but key points pertaining exclusively to exercise include; enhanced sport performance in trained athletes in doses 3-6 mg/kg while higher doses do not further enhance performance, beneficial in aerobic and anaerobic exercise, enhanced performance in exhaustive exercise and in sleep deprived states.  Naturally, we do not tend to “dose” coffee prior to our workouts. So, a general guideline for a 3 mg/kg dose is equivalent to 2-3 cups of coffee (dependent on brew and roast). 


Coffee is a very versatile beverage.  From caffeine content to hundreds of phytochemicals fighting against inflammation and free radicals, coffee offers a wide array of health benefits. So, whether you’re in the spectrum of benefiting your overall health or looking to push through your next cardio or strength session, consider the worlds’ favorite beverage to help reach your goals.





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