Is Coffee a Good Pre Workout?

Who doesn’t love coffee? Whether you are trying to get yourself up and ready to start the day, are looking for an afternoon energy boost, or are just in the mood for a warm beverage to soothe your soul, coffee’s got your back. 

As if that’s not enough, coffee may also be a great addition to your workout regimen. No, I’m not talking about lifting bags of coffee beans, but rather using that java as pre-workout fuel. 

How Does Caffeine Work in the Body?

While it may sound scandalous, coffee is a stimulant that falls in the same category as cocaine and methamphetamines. However, coffee of course is legal, and a lot better for you. 

What does this mean? The caffeine in coffee acts as a central nervous system stimulant, which means it can increase alertness which is why many people reach for it first thing in the morning or whenever they are feeling tired [1].

Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in your brain. These receptors are what typically promote sleep and blocking them helps to increase wakefulness. Too much caffeine however can create challenges with sleep, including insomnia [2]. 

Is Coffee Good Before a Workout?

Garnishing enough energy to kick butt in the gym is not always an easy feat, enter coffee. 

The stimulant effects of the caffeine in coffee can help to give you a quick energy boost to get the job done and may even improve performance. In fact, many pre-workout supplements aimed at providing the exact same benefits include caffeine. 

These pre-workouts may include excessive amounts of caffeine which can have negative health effects and swapping them out for a traditional cup of joe may actually be a better, safer, cheaper, and healthier option [3].

How Can Coffee Improve Exercise Performance?

Caffeine has been widely researched for its performance-enhancing benefits. Drinking caffeinated coffee prior to a workout may help to boost strength, endurance, and overall performance [3, 4, 5].

Muscle Strength

Studies have found caffeine intake prior to strength training may help boost muscle strength and power compared to those who took a placebo. While it’s believed this may be a result of the increased energy levels, the exact mechanism is not well known and more research is still underway [6, 7].


Drinking a cup of coffee prior to exercise may also help to boost endurance levels in all individuals according to research. Additionally, studies suggest some may metabolize caffeine differently due to a genetic alteration, which can affect the amount caffeine impacts your endurance levels [8, 9].

Exercise Performance 

In addition to boosting muscle strength and endurance levels, coffee may increase overall exercise performance. The energy from the caffeine in coffee can help boost motivation and cause you to push yourself harder during your workouts. 

Risks of Drinking Coffee as a Pre Workout?

While the risks of drinking coffee as a pre-workout are significantly less than taking a pre-workout supplement, those who are sensitive to caffeine should practice caution. 

Consuming high amounts of caffeine can cause jitteriness, rapid heart rate, headaches, diarrhea, and insomnia.

The average cup of coffee contains anywhere from 100-150 milligrams of caffeine. It is recommended to consume no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine daily to avoid any potentially uncomfortable side effects [10]. 

Keep in mind, caffeine can be found in more than just coffee. You can also get caffeine from energy drinks, green or black teas, some varieties of sodas, and dark chocolate [11].  

Can I Mix Protein With Coffee Before My Workout?

If you wish to try out coffee in lieu of a pre-workout supplement, you might consider adding a dose of protein to your brew. 

The combination provides valuable fuel and replenishment for your muscles along with a dose of energy that can boost muscle contraction and resist fatigue. This allows you to workout harder while also supporting post-workout recovery [4].

What is the Best Way to Mix Protein and Coffee?

Mixing protein and coffee is as easy as it sounds. Choose your favorite protein, whether it be a pre-mixed shake or a protein powder, and add it to your favorite brew. Some powders mix better in warm liquids while pre-mixed shakes work well in either hot or cold brew. 

If you prefer to use a powder, consider using a milk frother to help evenly disperse the powder into your coffee. Many “proffee” lovers prefer mixing protein with espresso, an Americano, or traditional brewed coffee. 

What Could Be the Potential Benefits of Mixing Protein and Coffee?

Some potential benefits to dousing your coffee with your favorite protein include improvements in exercise performance, ensuring you are meeting your protein needs, and potentially helping with weight loss. Not to mention, it can take your morning cup of joe to the next level.

If you are thinking of hopping on board with the “proffee” trend, be our guest. 

If traditional coffee isn’t your thing, try out a protein-packed, java inspired proffee shake. Simply add some ice to a blender with a shot of espresso, your favorite protein powder, and a touch of sweetener of your choice. Dress it up even more by choosing a flavored protein powder. 

With endless possibilities, anyone can enjoy the benefits of coffee.