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Should You Drink Coffee After a Workout?

man working out

There’s nothing like a big iced coffee to soothe the soul, especially after an intense workout like kickboxing or weightlifting. After leaving the gym and driving past coffee shops and chains, it’s hard to fight the temptation to grab that coffee. But caffeine is a stimulant and not really found in post-workout supplements, usually found in formulas before working out to help boost your endurance and stamina.

So, with that in mind, should you drink coffee after a workout? Post-workout coffee is a hot debate in the fitness and science world, but it seems that coffee can potentially help the body recover. While caffeine may also be bad after working out, the good seems to outweigh the bad. Let’s take a look at why you should (or shouldn’t) drink coffee after a workout:

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Coffee and Working Out

Pre-workout supplements are one of the hottest supplements in the fitness world, with many people grabbing the latest formulas for maximum performance as they exercise. Caffeine is in many pre-workout formulas for its stimulant effect, but it can cause caffeine jitters and anxiety at high levels. So the idea that caffeine is good to take after a workout may seem completely foreign.

Oftentimes, people drink protein drinks, BCAAs, and other similar supplements for recovery. Most of these supplements do not contain caffeine. A coffee after an intense workout would seem to be a bad choice, but there is some evidence that it could help your body heal.

Why You Should Drink Coffee After a Workout

When we exercise, we push our muscles and bodies to the limit in order to become faster, leaner, or stronger. Recovery is a huge part of fitness that should always be part of your workout routine, including any supplements that could help you repair the muscles and regain your energy. Since caffeine is a stimulant, it can help you wake up a bit after an intense session at the gym.

According to a study, caffeine can be beneficial to muscle and energy recovery by keeping the muscle glycogen levels elevated after a workout. If your glycogen levels are depleted, you’ll feel muscle soreness and fatigue from exercising. The study claims that caffeine can help prevent soreness and the heavy-body feeling from a lack of energy.

girl having coffee after working out
Image Credit: Merla, Shutterstock

Why You Should NOT Drink Coffee After a Workout

There are some potential problems with having caffeine after a workout, so there are reasons you may not want that iced coffee after the gym. If you already had a pre-workout with caffeine, you don’t want to add to it with a big cup of coffee and get the jitters.

Since the pre-workout already has caffeine, it will raise your glycogen levels, and you won’t need more. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, adding a post-workout cup of coffee may heighten your anxiety and stress. Save your caffeine for your pre-workout, or skip it entirely if you continue having anxiety.

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Conclusion

There’s a big question mark when it comes to coffee and working out, both before and after working out. Some say that caffeine can help with muscle soreness and energy depletion, but more studies need to be done to confirm these claims. If you’re in the mood for an iced coffee after hitting the squat racks, don’t hold back, as it could help you recover. However, check all of your supplements for any “hidden” caffeine ingredients, as too much caffeine will give you unpleasant side effects. Until there are more studies, we can only say that drinking coffee after a workout might help.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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Jaimie Wisniowski

Jaimie is a freelance writer fueled by coffee, whether it’s hot, iced, or made from a local coffee shop. She enjoys writing all things coffee, especially if it means trying the latest coffee shop trends (hello cold foam!). After spending years writing poems, college essays, and short stories, it only a matter of time to turn writing into a career. Writing about coffee simply combined two of her favorite things! When she’s not drinking coffee by the minute and writing at her laptop, Jaimie spends time hiking, exercising, and living an active life. She also loves to snuggle up with a good book and her dog, Margo. If you catch her without a cup of coffee, she’s probably on her way to the coffee maker now.

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