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Cup of Joe Eases Exercise Pains

By , SparkPeople Blogger
For many morning exercisers, a cup of coffee is part of the pre-workout routine. It can help a person gather the energy to jump on the treadmill for a run instead of running back to bed. But according to a new study, coffee can also help lessen some of the pain of working out.

Subjects were divided into 2 groups: those who regularly consumed caffeine (equal to 3-4 cups of coffee per day) and those who rarely consumed caffeine. Both groups were put through the same workouts on a stationary bike. They were asked to describe their quadriceps muscle pain during the activity, and the results were surprising. Those who had consumed caffeine (in the form of a pill) before the workout reported less pain than those who did not. Interestingly, the 2 groups- regular caffeine users and those who don't- had similar results. Therefore, tolerance to caffeine played no role in the way it diminished pain during exercise.

So what do these results mean? At this point, it's hard to know whether or not caffeine will help improve performance. But for those people who are easily discouraged when they feel pain at the gym, caffeine might reduce that discomfort. Drinking a cup of coffee before working out could end up making someone more willing to stick with a regular exercise routine.

Do you drink coffee before a workout? Do you notice a difference in how it makes you feel? How so?

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Like most people, I enjoy my morning conversation with Juan Valdez. I never thought of what it would add to my morning walk, however (and to be honest, me and Juan talk several times throughout the day).

It's nice to see that coffee can have a (potentially) beneficial effect to exercise. Maybe that's why my physical therapist has a big urn always brewing in the waiting room... Report
On my swim nights where I typically burn 1300 calories in the pool, I treat myself to a Starbucks latte about an hour before my swim. I don't drink coffee regularly (I'm a tea drinker if anything and I don't drink soda), but I find that the caffeine gives me a boost of needed energy after work to get through such a strenuous workout and the skim milk helps fuel my tummy and my muscles and keeps me focused on the task at hand and not whether or not I'm hungry. So I definitely agree with the article! Report
I workout before work every week day. So yes I have a coffee during by 45 min drive into the city for my 6 am class at the gym. Report
I hate coffee, even the SMELL. Report
i generally always have coffee before i go to the gym. im not really sure if it actually does anything, but at this point i have it in my head that if i dont get my coffee in, i'll preform poorly. Report
I love coffee, however I don't drink it until after my workout, otherwise I am too jittery. Report
Woo Hoo~ that is the BEST NEWS EVER! Report
Best news ever
I have given up a lot of foods but I will never give up coffee. Have a cup before a workout and one afterwards. Nothing better Report
I don't know about the effect that coffee has on my workout, but I'm glad its getting good press. I don't have to feel bad about drinking it. Woohoo! Report
I have alway drunk coffee since I was little.can't live without.mmmmmmm coffee Report
Before my Saturday morning muscle pump class, I try to have my cup of coffee so I'll be more inclined to put my weights up! It might just be a mental effect as a result of reading these studies, but whatever works hey? Report
I never used to drink coffee. Now it's part of my daily ritual. Wake up, drink my coffee then start my workout. It's like clock work now. Report
I don't think coffee helps pain or performance. It actually makes me kind of queasy if I have it before exercise, and I don't crave it after exercise. On days off or days I will be on the road for a few hours, I like to drink lots of coffee. Report
I don't drink coffee, but I do take a caffeine pill in the mornings before going to the gym. I haven't noticed a difference in the level of pain v/s not taking the caffeine pill. What I have noticed is the increase in energy level when I do. Report
I definitely love coffee always have it at I can tell my friends and family that it may also be beneficial. hehe Report
I love coffee, drink of choice. It is nice to hear that it might have another benefit. Report
I don't drink coffee in any form.....ick! Report
Love the aroma of coffee brewing but could never drink it. Love my tea, though. Report
I like a cup or two of coffee in the am, like the aroma when it,s perking and love the taste.
I drink an occasional citrus green tea.... Report
I'm not a coffee or tea drinker, and since the gastric bypass (11/07), I've given up all carbonated drinks (including caffeinated drinks). I can honestly say that I don't need caffeine to do my workout in the morning. Just give me an iPod full of ZZ Top and I'm off and running! Report
I have to have my coffee.. I do not feel like i am alive with out it LOL !!!! Report
Yes I do drink coffee before my workout but not for any reason other than I like coffee. If this research is true, all the better. Report
I'm not so sure ingesting a stimulant like caffeine is such a good idea prior to a workout. While coffee gives most people a temporary pick me up, it is actually a diuretic and depletes the body of potassium, which is why some coffee drinkers develop a habitual habit. They'd be a lot better off substituting some of that coffee with a banana or an orange! Report
Jibbie49, I'd be careful with the Yerba Mate if you're avoiding caffeine. It contains xanthines which simply put are the same as caffeine. The content varies but is similar to a cup of coffee.

I drink coffee sometimes but never for the caffeine. Report
I don't like coffee and usually keep my teas decaf. too much caffeine keeps me awake and makes me a little wacky. What little pain I have from exercising can usually be relieved with a hot shower. Report
P.S. Just thought - maybe what I have described is part of caffeines stimulant effect.
BTW - this is a known effect of caffeine, when I read about it, it was a penny dropping moment. Report
Caffeine. The big dilema. Is it good or is it bad?
I am not addicted to caffeine. I can go days, weeks or months without. I do not find that it has any stimulant effect on me either.
I don't like coffee and I prefer green teas or tisanes over regular black tea.
My problem with caffeine is 'hallucinations' - nothing serious, but I have a very vivid imagination and when I've consumed caffeine I start to see things more vivdly. You know - shapes in clouds (I've seen Santa in his sleigh ride across the night sky at Christmas). I prefer to avoid caffeine. Report
This is particularly interesting after just reading how coffee before a w/o (on here) is bad because it effects oxygen getting to your heart.????? what are we to believe.. Report
I get my caffeine from Diet Coke . . . and think it does the same thing. Any opinions? Report
My gym has a coffee lounge. I thought that was strange--now I know why it's there. The things I learn on this site! Report
ohh, thank to the person who wrote about the Army experience- I'm going to have some coffee before my timing run next week and see if it's worth doing the same during my PT test! Report
WooHoo! Another reason why coffee is not "BAD" LOL ^.^ Report
I don't exercise in the morning, but I do drink coffee which I believes gives me the energy to run through the office. Now if the gyms offered coffee instead of sports drinks, that would be interesting! Report
I love coffee and have some everyday, but I have never connected it with feeling more or less pain after working out. I could tell you about the considerable pain I experienced one day (back in grad school) when I inadvertently switched regular and decaf, and unknowingly went through a whole day without caffeine. But that's another story. Report
I'm a coffee lover but not for the caffeine. I can drink it at night and it does not affect my sleep time. I have not really paid attention to how it affected my runs, but i do that today and see if there's a difference (distance/time gains and lessening of pain) Report
You know, what interested me about reading this study is that when I was in the Army, I knew a few soldiers in my old unit that had to have their morning coffee before PT. For one, when getting up at "o'dark thirty" for it, they said they need to something to wake them up. Another thing was they felt like it helped them perform better in their running, especially when it came to PT tests. My take is that their so-called heighten performance is simply due to a caffenine buzz. Their talk never encouraged me to get a coffee pot of my own.
For me, coffee is not one of my staple drinks. I think it's mainly b/c growing up, I wasn't allowed to have it (and I wasn't around avid coffee drinkers). I wasn't hard pressed to try coffee back then anyways, even when I moved in with other relatives that drinked coffee somewhat regularly. I didn't try it until my late teens, and never liked (the bitterness of) the taste. I soon found out to put enough cream and sugar to dull the taste of coffee, and it was good to me. Later in college, I tried flavored and iced coffee, same thing, enough cream and sugar and it was good. There were two jobs with a coffee pot section, and during that duration of those jobs were the only times I drank coffee regularly. Other than that I drank it sporadically.
Today, I don't drink it at all due to GERD symptoms. Coffee and cafferined drinks were one of the things on the list of trigger foods, and I couldn't take the pain when just having it (and soda) sporadically, so I quit altogether. Now that my symptoms have lessen, I drink tea sometimes which doesn't bother me anymore. Maybe tea could work for me for pain lessing.
But I think if I saw those soldiers again, (I am out of the Army and some are in other locations), I think they would use this study as another reason to have their morning coffee.
I love coffee! I don't use it for waking up though or my workouts, just my midmorning slump after waking up early, or if i'm having a bad day,if I got up early and actually put in the work to make a cup before my workouts it would probably help me, but i try to get out the door as fast as possible in the morning becuase I avoid working out like crazy. I also love drinking coffee socially, My siblings and I have referred to coffee as "elixir of the gods" Its awesome stuff and life would be dreary without coffee. :) Report
Now I know why I rely on it so heavily :( But I also found out it can intensify arthritis pain & interfere with Thyroid Med absorbtion! Report
I love finding a GOOD reason to have a cup of coffee.
How about Tea? Report
not a coffe drinker. i drink green and white tea , also diet pepsi, i do need my caffine fix Report
I love my coffee in the morning because I'm not a morning person, so that motivates me in the morning. I workout after work so the research doesn't do much for me. Report
I've never been a coffee drinker--can't stand even coffee-flavored ice cream! I gave up Diet Coke, but would gladly go back to it if had the same effects that this study claims coffee does.

Seriously, I can't think that this is I would think it would do more harm than good. Report
I normally drink 4 (5 oz) cups of coffee every morning, but I gave coffee up for lent. After reading this article, I'll do my morning workout after I have my coffee Report
I have one cup of coffee when I first get up, but have never noticed any effects when exercising. Interesting findings, though. Report
I have a cup of coffee with a bowl of oatmeal before I go to the gym. I feel more energized after I eat (and drink) something. Does anyone drink coffee the way I do? Heat a mug of skim milk, then add instant coffee and/or sugar to taste, and stir! This is a good way to get more calcium. Report
I'd never noticed the effect of caffeine before, but then I can't remember a time when I made it to the gym without my morning coffee... Report
Another reason to love my coffee. For those of you that don't drink coffee, you can take a caffeine pill (like No Doz). They also sell a lot of mints now that have caffeine in them. Report
Where do people like me fit in? I'm 42 and never had a coffee in my life. I can't get past the smell.... YUCK! lol Report
This study makes sense. I seem to remember something about caffeine being in excedrin which was a popular pain medication in the 1960's. Report
This is interesting since I changed my workout routine to BEFORE coffee a few months ago after reading a Health Article here on Spark speaking of coffee causing your heart rate to accelerate if consumed before exersize, and suggesting to abstain till after working out. I did notice that cardio, and my bike, were less fun and more uncomfortable doing that. Especially my quads. I'm not sure it was pain as much as the muscles too closer to 20 minutes or longer to get warmed up and not straining, verses the average of 7 minutes when I do cardio later in my morning, particularly AFTER I've done my coffee ritual of 2 mugs. This study seems to confirm what I noticed in myself, so guess I won't feel guilty when I simply can't wait for my first mug of joe until after the bike:) Thanks Report
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