Love to sip on a cup o’ Joe (or two) throughout the day? It turns out in addition to making you more alert and focused, that extra coffee can work wonders for you when you exercise.
Researchers from the University of Grenada recently published a study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition looking at just that. The supplements industry has long touted the effects of caffeine on exercise, including claiming that it can contribute to fat loss, but interestingly, little scientific work has actually been done to affirm that assertion. Moreover, it’s a common piece of advice that working out on an empty stomach in the morning burns the most fat. This team wanted to take a closer look at both assumptions.
Their study called for 15 participants to complete an exercise test four times at seven-day intervals. They were separated into two groups, one who received a placebo and one who received caffeine from a green coffee bean powder that was potent enough to mimic the effects of a “strong” coffee. Both groups received their concoctions twice daily at 8AM and 5PM before completing a standardized cycling test.
Researchers discovered that drinking strong coffee 30 minutes before any form of aerobic exercise increases fat oxidation, the process where fatty acids are broken down at the molecular level in our bodies, enabling the cells to “burn” fat. Moreover, another interesting finding was that the fat-burning effects of coffee-exercise combo were more pronounced following the afternoon coffee stints than the morning ones. Even better, the team said that they saw these results from moderate aerobic exercise, meaning that you don’t need to be doing only intense HIIT training to burn fat. Scientists believe that the notion that caffeine can increase your metabolism is true, and the additional cognitive focus it provides also ups the intensity of workouts.
The team behind the study says that there needs to be more research before making more definitive conclusions, but drinking coffee before your next workout could be a good idea.
And hey, maybe you can rev up your weight loss even more by adding some cocoa powder to your next cup o’ Joe!