Coffee and Exercise

I figured there’s no better day than Monday to talk about coffee.

If you love your morning coffee ritual as much as I do, this post is for you.

Let me start by saying coffee is not bad for you (hallelujah).

As long as you keep your consumption to 1-2 cups a day studies have shown that your health can actually benefit from your morning habit.


Last fall I hosted The Balanced Life Run Club and people were very curious about whether or not you should drink coffee before running.

I’ve always had my morning cup about 30-45 minutes prior to my workout with no problems.

But I dug into the research a bit and here is what I found…

  • Caffeine can boost performance. It can help you to run faster and longer as long as it’s timed right. Generally speaking if you drink a cup of coffee one hour before your run, you may feel an extra boost that will improve your time and speed.
  • But it IS possible to have too much. According to Runner’s World “Research shows that about three to six milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight is all you need to see benefits. (For a 150-pound person, that’s roughly 12 ounces of strong coffee.) Higher doses don’t do more to improve performance, and you run the risk of developing negative side effects like dizziness, anxiety, and heart palpitations.”
  • It’s less dehydrating than we once thought. Unless coffee causes you to run to the bathroom multiple times, your hydration probably won’t be affected all that much. It can’t hurt to drink a bit of extra water if you have caffeine but it shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
  • Caffeine boosts brain activity. So you just may have some clear, brilliant thoughts while out on your run. 🙂


As with anything, moderation is key and each body is unique.

But if you love a mug of coffee to get you going in the morning, enjoy!

I’m curious, do you drink coffee before exercise?



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  1. Tana 6 years ago

    So glad to hear this! Yes, on days I work out in the morning I make sure to get up at least an hour early for a cup of coffee. And I have never noticed negative side effects. Now, were I to NOT have that cup of coffee? That’d be whole other story 😉

    Thanks for doing the research!

  2. Michelle L. 6 years ago

    Hi Robin! I’m enjoying your PBP now and have cut out coffee as part of that– but I do miss it, and would love to enjoy coffee in small doses. I previously drank it with added sweeteners (not great– like the flavored cream-based ones!…almond or coconut flavored, for example), so I think that not drinking my morning cup has saved me some sugar intake as well. Wish I could do black coffee, but I just don’t enjoy it that way. Wondering if you have suggestions on what to add to coffee that would add a bit of creaminess/flavor without a huge amount of empty calories?

    • Robin Long 6 years ago

      Hi Michelle! I cannot do black coffee either. 🙂 I add a bit unsweetened vanilla almond milk + cinnamon. It gives it that extra bit of creaminess without extra sugar. You could use coconut milk as well.

      • Michelle L. 6 years ago

        Great ideas! Thank you for the suggestions. Will definitely try these ideas when coffee is back in my life again. 🙂

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