If you are looking for an extra boost of energy before training, there are many different options. For natural pre workout products, there is not a more potent option than drinking coffee before exercise. However, there are numerous pre workout products which are “stronger” than coffee, and they contain other beneficial ingredients as well.
However, the debate about coffee vs pre workout before training does not only involve milligrams of caffeine.
Choosing to use coffee or a pre workout product before training is an excellent way to improve your workout quality, build an aesthetic body, and produce better results overall. Realistically, either will help you obtain your goals.
If you want to know whether drinking coffee or pre workout supplements before training will be better for you, keep reading below!
Benefits of Drinking Coffee Before Workouts
To understand whether a pre workout product will make a positive impact on your workout of the day or not, you also need to consider the pre workout ingredients.
However, with coffee, nearly all types of (real) coffee will produce the same results. More expensive organic coffee is better for you, but even a cup of coffee from McDonald’s before exercising can provide you similar benefits as the most expensive option.
However, my only suggestion is that you stay away from coffee drinks from Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts which contain loads of artificial sugar. According to a report from the University of Delaware Food & Nutrition Education Lab,
“coffee drinkers who add artificial sweeteners tend to have higher BMIs and larger waists compared to those who do not. Those who use very minimal additives or none at all benefit from better blood pressure, cholesterol and weight maintenance.”
If you are going to choose to drink coffee instead of a pre workout product, choose to drink black coffee, coffee which contains only real sugar, or Bulletproof Coffee.
If you want to try my personal coffee recipe which is my favorite for drinking before exercising, the recipe is:
- Organic Coffee
- Coconut Oil
- Maple Syrup
Compared to coffee drinks from Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, my recipe contains more healthy dietary fats, and a lower glycemic index sugar (maple syrup). I used to drink more traditional Bulletproof Coffee, but I prefer my new recipe even more.
Now, check out these benefits of drinking coffee before you head to a workout!
Improved High-Intensity Exercise Performance
Although there are numerous other health benefits of coffee, the most pertinence to our current topic is that coffee improves performance when performing high-intensity exercise.
According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine,
“results showed that ingestion of caffeinated coffee: decreases the time taken to run 1500 m (P less than 0.005); increases the speed of the ‘finishing burst’ (P less than 0.005); and increases VO2 during the high-intensity 1500-m run (P less than 0.025).”
Although this study only focused on running, it is likely that the benefits will apply to other forms of high-intensity exercise as well.
I often drink coffee before basketball practices, weight lifting sessions, my morning walks, and other activities.
Increased Fat Burning and Weight Loss
One of the other main benefits of drinking coffee before a workout is that it can help you burn more calories and lose more weight. Although coffee has additional useful properties, the caffeine content in coffee alone can help you increase your ability to lose weight.
According to a study in Obesity Reviews,
“caffeine ingested (coffee and pure caffeine), prior to an exercise bout, significantly elevated fat oxidation rates as well as performance.”
Related Reading: The Best Weight Loss Coffee
One of the main benefits of drinking coffee at any point during your day is the chlorogenic acid content.
As stated in a study produced in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,
“Chlorogenic acid (CGA), one of the most abundant polyphenol compounds in the human diet, is a group of phenolic secondary metabolites produced by certain plant species and is an important component of coffee. Accumulating evidence has demonstrated that CGA exerts many biological properties, including antibacterial, antioxidant, and anticarcinogenic activities.”
Consuming chlorogenic acid through drinking coffee is an excellent way to improve your health, and one of the main reasons that you should try drinking coffee before your workouts.
The Best Coffee to Drink Before Exercising
Although there are a few options for what I would consider my favorite coffee to drink before training, if I had to choose one, I suggest everyone try Puroast Low Acid Coffee.
The main reason that I chose this as my favorite coffee is that it contains 70% less acid than other coffees! As stated on their product,
“Puroast Coffee is for people that drink more than one cup of coffee a day, Puroast is THE specialty coffee that allows you to drink more coffee throughout the day without the bitter side effect because its unique roasting process yields less acid, more antioxidants, and a smooth, rich flavor.”
Besides the acid content, Puroast also contains 7x as many antioxidants as the average cup of green tea due to the unique processing of Puroast Coffee.
- 70% Less Acid than Other Coffees
- 7X More Antioxidants than Green Tea
- 100% Pure Coffee - No Additives or Extractions
- A "Feel Better, Not Bitter" Coffee - No Bitter Aftertaste
- Innovative Roasting Process developed by Puroast - Unlike any coffee company in the World
Benefits of Drinking a Pre Workout Supplement Before Training
If you don’t like the taste of coffee, or you have an allergy to coffee, pre workout supplements are an excellent option!
Unlike coffee, you can get pre workout supplements with a wide range of tastes, ingredients, and effects.
There are literally thousands of pre workout products in existence, and I have probably tried at least 100!
Check out these benefits of using pre workout products.
Pick Your Caffeine Content
Unlike coffee, which generally contains the same amount of caffeine in each cup, you can find an enormous range of stimulant levels in pre workout products. You can find products which provide stimulant-free energy, or you can find a pre workout product with 400mg of caffeine per serving!
Whether you need more caffeine to get you in the gym or less, choosing to purchase your own pre workout product gives you the freedom you need.
Nitric Oxide Boosters (Get the Pump)
One of the main benefits of using pre workout products compared to simply drinking coffee before training is that pre workout supplements often contain nitric oxide boosters which help you get a better “pump” in the gym and improve muscle growth in other ways as well.
“Citrulline Malate (CM) ingestion resulted in a significant reduction in the sensation of fatigue, a 34% increase in the rate of oxidative ATP production during exercise, and a 20% increase in the rate of phosphocreatine recovery after exercise, indicating a larger contribution of oxidative ATP synthesis to energy production.”
Unique Range of Ingredients
Aside from these two standard components of most pre workout products, you can also find pre workout products with a variety of other ingredients as well.
For example, if you are also looking to lose weight, you can find a pre workout product which contains L-Carnitine or other well-known fat burning products.
If you want to build as much lean muscle mass as possible, you can use a product which contains ample amounts of Creatine Monohydrate and maybe some additional carbohydrates.
Regardless, I do not doubt that you can find a pre workout product with precisely the type of ingredients you are looking for because there are so many options!
The Best Pre Workout Supplement
Unfortunately, I cannot choose only one pre workout product which I would call my favorite.
However, I can narrow it down to two.
My initial favorite pre workout supplement is RSP Nutrition AminoLean. I like this product because it contains BCAAs, an ample amount of caffeine (from green tea), and additional L-Carnitine for more fat burning.
- ALL NATURAL ANYTIME ENERGY - 130mg Energy & Focus blend made from fermented tea leaves, guarana and organic matcha to support energy levels, focus, and alertness.*
- VEGAN BCAAs + EAAs - Comprehensive blend of vegan aminos to boost performance and support muscle development and repair.*
- NATURAL WEIGHT MANAGEMENT - CLA, Carnitine, Green Tea Extract, and Green Coffee Extract promote clean, healthy weight management.*
- VERSATILE & CONVENIENT - Use Natural AminoLean as a pre workout, morning coffee replacement, or post workout recovery supplement.
- CLEAN ACTIVE NUTRITION - Zero Calories, Zero Sugar, Vegan Friendly, All Natural, Nothing Artificial
My second favorite product is the Cellucor C4 Original Pre Workout.
The reason I have to choose two products is that they are very different. AminoLean is an excellent product for pre workout energy and weight loss, but it does not contain many ingredients for improving muscle mass development. Cellucor C4 original contains nitric oxide boosters and other ingredients which are better for developing lean muscle mass.
- America's #1 Pre-Workout Brand
- 150mg of Caffeine Per Serving
- 0 Sugar and 0 Calories Per Serving
- 1.6g CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine
- Vitamin C for Immune Support - 417% of Daily Value Per Serving
Coffee vs Pre Workout – Comparing Their Attributes
Although you can drink either a pre workout supplement or coffee before exercising, each day you are going to have to choose one or the other.
Depending on which pre workout supplement you use, unless you use a stimulant free pre workout, pre workout supplements usually will contain at least twice as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. However, the caffeine content is very much dependent on which pre workout produt you use, and how many cups of coffee you drink.
Most cups of coffee contain around 60-80mg of caffeine per cup, and you could choose to drink two or three cups before your workout if necessary. Contrarily, most pre workout products contain 150mg-300mg of caffeine, which is significantly more.
If you need a stronger jolt of energy, choose a pre-workout with a higher amount of caffeine.
Innate Benefits of Each
When comparing pre workout vs coffee, there main differences are that coffee contains natural antioxidants (such as chlorogenic acid), and pre workout supplements contain additional helpful ingredients such as amino acids.
Depending on your regular diet, you can make a decision which is more important for you. If your diet already consists of a lot of foods high in antioxidants, you might not need the extra antioxidants from coffee and prefer the amino acids and other compounds of a quality pre workout supplement.
Concluding Thoughts – Pre Workout vs Coffee
As you can see, there are numerous unique benefits of using either pre workout or coffee before you go to exercise.
Depending on your goals and needs, either coffee or a pre workout supplement will probably be better for you. If neither of these options feels right to you, you can also drink drinking green tea before training.
Regardless, both coffee and pre workout supplements can make a significant positive impact on your workout performance, and they can both be a part of achieving your fitness goals!