Is Coffee Good for Pre-Workout?

Should you incorporate coffee into your pre-workout routine? Discover the answer to the question is coffee good for pre-workout in this article.

is coffee good for pre-workout
If you choose the right coffee, then the effects of caffeine on athletic endurance are undeniable

Your pre-gym routine might include pre-workout supplements, healthy carbs, and plenty of water. However, it’s also worth noting that a cup of brewed coffee could help.

There has been some research to suggest that the right amount of caffeine intake before a workout could actually be beneficial. If drank about an hour before your workout, it can affect your energy levels and exercise performance.

If you want to incorporate the right cup of joe into your pre-gym routine, you should read on, as we touch on the best types of pre-workout coffees. We also investigate what brands you should look out for when choosing your pre-workout cup of joe.

Pre-workout Coffee: The Benefits

Several studies have found that drinking coffee before your workout can boost your athletic performance, ease muscle pain, and help with wellness. But not every coffee provides the same benefit. For instance, more milky drinks can leave you feeling lethargic and add calories, which isn’t ideal when trying to beat your personal best on the treadmill and it’s not great for weight loss goals either.

However, if you choose the right coffee, then the effects of caffeine on athletic endurance are undeniable. It’s also worth noting that the research done on the subject comes from moderate caffeine consumption– so there’s no need to go overboard. You should be cautious with coffee consumption, as you don’t need to be a dietitian or sports medicine expert to recognize that too much caffeine will have negative side effects.

The consensus is that approximately 3mg of caffeine per kg of body weight is in the ideal range; the good news is you can get that with about one-to-two cups of coffee if you’re looking to gain these performance-enhancing health benefits. You should drink them about an hour beforehand, but be careful having coffee on an empty stomach as that can affect you too. You should also ensure that you stay hydrated as this will help with ingestion issues.

What to Look For in Pre-workout Coffee

Not all coffee is created equally. Some coffee beans are just better than others. However, there are some particular traits to look out for when it comes to pre-workout.

For example, right before you work out is not a good time to drink something very acidic, so for your pre-workout coffee, you’ll want something that’s light on acidity. 

It’s also a good idea to look for coffees that aren’t too heavily roasted since you want a solid caffeine boost. Dark roast coffees tend to have slightly less caffeine than their medium and light roast counterparts. 

Finally, consider looking for coffee that offers something beyond just caffeine. While the scientific jury is still out on many supplements, some show promise of helping to boost your performance further, helping you increase your gains. Although it is not a guarantee you’ll be the next Olympian, busting through a slump in your workout routine is still good. 

If you are allergic or sensitive to caffeine, then you should opt for green tea instead as it can also be useful in hydrating before a gym session. If you like this post, you might be interested in our guide on the best coffee for energy.

Fuel Your Workout With These Types of Coffee

Fuel your workout with these types of coffee
There are many different ways to brew coffee, and everybody will have their favorites

When thinking about the best types of coffee pre-workout, you need to consider the kind of coffee and the beans used to make it. There are many different ways to brew coffee, and everybody will have their favorites. However, my picks for the best types of pre-workout coffee are:

1. Cold Brew

If you’re about to work out, you don’t want to start things off hot and sweaty, so hot coffee is not the best option. Cold brew will have you entering the gym feeling refreshed, but it also has more caffeine than a standard cup of coffee.

For example, an 8oz cup of coffee will contain around 95 grams of coffee. If you drank the same amount of cold brew, you would be consuming about 100mg. Avoid a sugary or milky cold brew right before exercising. Otherwise, you’ll probably end up feeling ill once you start pumping iron.

2. Double Espresso

Espresso might not have as much caffeine as cold brew, but it still packs a punch. Given that you should not drink your coffee or pre-workout right before you plan on exercising, you will have time to cool down from this hot drink before hitting the gym.

Of course, if you are not used to caffeine, you can always go for decaf instead. Although, with decaf you won’t have the energy benefits… however, you won’t have to worry about the jitters either.

3. Drip Coffee

Many people say that drip coffee contains more caffeine than espresso and other brews. There is some logic to this claim, but it’s not the most accurate way to explain why you’ll feel more energized after a cup of drip coffee than espresso. 

A man pouring hot water to drip coffee maker
It’s best to take this as a black coffee too, as creamer and milk don’t react well to intense workouts

Ounce per ounce, espresso has more caffeine. However, espresso shots are usually only 1 ounce, while a cup of drip coffee could be 8 ounces or more. There are around 63 mg of caffeine in an espresso shot, while drip coffee tends to contain 12 to 16 mg of caffeine per ounce.

It’s best to take this as a black coffee too, as creamer and milk don’t react well to intense workouts.

The Best Coffee For Pre-workout: My Picks

So while the benefits of caffeine will come through no matter what coffee you choose, there are better and worse coffees to choose to make the most out of your pre-workout caffeine buzz. So what’s the best pre-workout coffee?

My picks for the best coffee for pre-workout are based on getting the right level of caffeine to boost performance and making sure the coffee isn’t too acidic. I also like to consider any other performance-boosting aspects that might also come into play.

1. Four Sigmatbrewushroom Ground Coffee

Typically, I don’t recommend pre-ground coffee, but the Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee blend is an exception. Despite the lion’s mane mushrooms in the coffee, it doesn’t have any funk–just regular coffee flavor. It’s not as caffeinated as some other coffees, being a 50/50 split of mushrooms and coffee, but the lion’s mane adds something to the mix.

Some studies show that this mushroom can help improve mood and focus and have potential anti-inflammatory effects that make it easier to work out for longer. And don’t worry, the coffee tastes like a regular cup, rather than one you have just dipped a mushroom into!

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09/15/2023 10:44 am GMT

2. Coffee and Kilos PR Blend

It’s rare to find coffee that specifically markets itself as the perfect pre-workout option, but Coffee and Kilos’ PR Blend does just that. The organic, fair-trade coffee features 50% more caffeine than the average brew, sourced from South American beans.

The flavor is excellent, too: mild acidity with light sweetness and a nutty taste that works well with protein powder, creatine, or shakes to make an all-purpose pre-workout drink. It’s nice to have an option that you will look forward to drinking before making your way to the gym.

3. Shock Coffee

There is no shortage of caffeine in this coffee, so ensure that you’re having it a good hour before your workout. Despite the high caffeine content, this coffee is a tasty option that leaves very little bitterness while at the same time giving you that valuable energy boost.

If you have any friends in the military, they may be already familiar with shock coffee as it is served in military bases throughout the US. And if it’s good enough for the hard work those people are doing, then it’s good enough for a pre-workout.

Shock Coffee Ground, The Strongest Caffeinated All-Natural Coffee. Up to 50% more Caffeine. 1 pound
  • Wake Up, Work Smarter, Play Harder with Extra Kick in Every Sip
  • Medium to Dark Roast Smooth Bold Flavor - No Need for Milk or Cream
  • All Natural. Extra Caffeine comes from Select Delicioso Beans. No artificial caffeine added
  • Served on 350+ U.S. military bases worldwide. Used by troops to stay alert during Iraq and Afghanistan incursions
  • Shock + Gym = Focus better, Lift more, Run faster, Spin longer, Lose weight & Feel really good

4. Kicking Horse Smart Ass

Who doesn’t need a kick up the a** before doing fat-burning reps at the gym. This coffee gives you just that. It has hints of chocolate, vanilla and other fruits.

Best made in an espresso machine, or via your French press, this is a coffee that truly tastes epic. In fact, this is a coffee that we also enjoy post-workout. But you should probably give your heart rate and blood pressure time to normalize first.

After all, your body will be worked up after a heavy cardio session.

Kicking Horse Coffee, Smart Ass
$8.99 ($0.90 / Ounce)
  • Smart Ass
  • Medium Roast
  • Whole Bean
  • 10 Oz
  • Certified Organic
  • Fairtrade
  • Kosher Coffee
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09/14/2023 09:43 am GMT

5. Four Sigmatic Store

If you are looking for an organic coffee, then Four Sigmatic produce delicious coffees that are smooth enough for those of you looking for a cup pre-workout. It’s another medium roast that isn’t overly strong tasting, so ideal if you’re not a seasoned coffee drinker.

Asides from caffeine, this coffee also has a few other additions which are great for your morning cup. It contains powerful, immune-supporting Chaga mushrooms, as well as vitamin D. Thus, you’re not just having all those milligrams of caffeine with your coffee, but you’re also having vitamins and immune-supporting veg.

Yet another reason to choose a coffee instead of an energy drink pre-workout.

Organic Ground Coffee by Four Sigmatic | Medium Roast | Fair Trade Gourmet Coffee with Vitamin D, Chaga Mushroom, Zinc & Turkey Tail Mushroom | Nootropic Mushroom Coffee for Immune Support | 12oz Bag
  • BREWS MEDIUM WITH NOTES OF CHOCOLATE AND CARAMEL — Each brew creates a delicious cup of medium roast, flavorful coffee. But the decadence of this java is just the beginning. Each serving contains 140% of your daily Vitamin D and 100% of your daily Zinc (in the form of zinc gluconate).
  • AN INCREDIBLE INFUSION OF IMMUNITY — Elevate your morning with a potent mixture of immune support supplements. Turkey tail mushroom extract, known for its immune defense boosting properties, is combined with Vitamin D2, extracted from whole mushrooms, and the natural antioxidant power of zinc, for a phenomenal health-enhancing elixir.
  • RISE AND REALLY, TRULY SHINE — Each cup contains 250mg of wild-harvested, organic Chaga. Known as "The King of Mushrooms," Chaga got its title from its incredible immune-supporting effects. Chaga is absolutely loaded with antioxidants. In fact, it is one of the most antioxidant-dense foods on the entire planet.
  • REMARKABLY ELEVATED COFFEE — Grown in the Marcala, La Paz region of Honduras, at 5,500 feet above sea level, these specialty-grade, single origin coffee beans brew a delicious, low acid coffee.
  • SCIENTIFICALLY SPEAKING, THIS COFFEE IS PRETTY MUCH MAGIC — Functional mushrooms have been used around the world for centuries to improve productivity, immune support, and more. Unfortunately, the majority of the mushroom supplement market aren't mushrooms at all, but rather the mycelium (basically the root system). At Four Sigmatic, we bring only the best of nature to your daily routine, so we always use the mushrooms' fruiting bodies which contain 15x more active ingredients than the mycelium.


  • Cian Murray

    Cian Murray is an experienced writer and editor, who graduated from Cardiff University’s esteemed School of Journalism, Media and Culture. His work has been featured in both local and national media, and he has also produced content for multinational brands and agencies.