Most workout enthusiasts do their best to stick to a regular workout routine and follow the tried and true advice of fitness and nutrition experts. One recent finding may be challenging what was once widely accepted by experts to be true: a person should not consume caffeine before a workout.

 

It’s long been thought that caffeine should be avoided prior to any vigorous form of exercise. Caffeine is a known diuretic, so it is naturally dehydrating. Since staying hydrated during physical activity is extremely important, experts have previously warned against consuming caffeine pre-workout. However, recent research has shown there may be some benefit to consuming caffeine before hitting the gym.

 

Benefits of caffeine

Caffeine is a metabolism-booster. Consuming caffeine pre-workout is thought to enhance calorie-burning. In fact, a recent study showed that participants who consumed caffeine pre-workout burned 15 percent more calories post-workout than those who had a pre-workout without caffeine. This effect appeared to have lasted for about three hours post-workout.

 

Caffeine is also a performance booster. Consuming caffeine before a workout is thought to have the greatest impact on activities that require endurance, such as long-distance running. It is also believed to be beneficial for activities that require short bursts of strength.

 

Know your limits

While current research supports these findings, it’s important to note that every person responds differently to caffeine. For example, someone who never drinks coffee would feel the effects of just one 12-ounce cup containing approximately 300 milligrams of caffeine (the recommended amount for 150-lb woman in the study) much more than someone who regularly drinks coffee throughout the day. As such, while there may very well be benefits to consuming caffeine prior to your workout, know your body and think about how it might react to caffeine before incorporating any amount into your pre-workout routine.

 

Ignore your sweet tooth

This new finding is exciting news for coffee lovers. However, in order to benefit from any calorie-burning effect, you should only consume black coffee — no cream or sugar. Otherwise, you’d only be working out in an attempt to burn off the many calories you ingested. In addition, good hydration is still imperative before, during and after a workout. Be sure to stay away from sugary, high-calorie drinks in general, and drink plenty of water throughout the day.