If a workout is one of those things you do first thing in the morning, then you must be familiar with the sluggish feeling of getting out of bed, and getting to the gym.
So what do you do?
You make your way to the coffee maker for that extra jolt.
But is caffeine before a workout a good idea?
We’re familiar with what caffeine does. It’s a pick-me-upper. It helps us stay awake and alert. It ‘wires’ us up.
But some athletes and their performance entourage have taken this to a whole another level. They tap into caffeine’s “ergogenic” properties that enhance speed and stamina. 
In fact, three-fourths of the world’s elite athletes take advantage of caffeine’s performance-enhancing properties.
Caffeine helps us perform better during exercise.
In a report published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in 2010, experts find that caffeine stimulates our central nervous system. This makes our exercise and workout routine feel less painful and rigorous. 
In a high-intensity workout – say HIIT exercises and resistance training, caffeine can even increase the number of muscle fibers that get involved in muscle contractions. This makes our movements become more powerful. It can also help us endure more reps!
Essentially, caffeinated beverages can help “promote endurance and a lower rate of perceived exertion (RPE) during exercise.” 
Reports vary, but the range you’re looking at is somewhere between 30 and 90 minutes.
Some studies show that the peak of your caffeine hit goes roughly 45 minutes after consumption. 
It’s safe to say that you should have your cup of joe or a pop of caffeine mint an hour before you hit the weights or start doing your sun salutations.
Here’s the thing. You can apply the timing above… as long as it’s NOT AT NIGHT.
As a general rule of thumb, you should steer clear of caffeine 6-8 hours before you hit the hay. Otherwise, you can say hello to sleepless nights and interrupted sleep.
If you’re planning to work out in the next two hours or so, then here’s some good news.
A caffeine fix before heading to the gym can power you through the entire workout. And as a bonus, you won’t feel drained; none of that huffing and puffing mess!
We’re talking quality over quantity here.
A common misconception about caffeine is that the more you take it, the more benefits you get.
But it’s more of like – the more you take it, the more jitters you get!
It’s good to stick to small doses pre-workout.
(If you’re not sure how much caffeine you’re about to take, here’s how much is in your favorite brand of coffee.)
You can also have any forms of caffeine pre-workout – whether it’s a cup of coffee, caffeine pill, warm tea, or Diet Coke (hope this is your last option though!)
Can you really drink coffee while working out?
If we’re to see someone downing a cup of Starbucks in the gym, that’s just plain weird.
The jury’s still out on this one.
It’s likely to bring about reduced perceived exertion as a key benefit. But if you want to experiment with it, you can stick to low levels of caffeine – around 20 to 50 mg.
While there’s no report validating the benefits of caffeine post-workout, some experts believe that the stimulant can aid in muscles replenishing their glycogen stores. This helps with muscle recovery and get your body more ready for the next workout.
If you were to try this, have as much caffeine as before the workout – around 3 to 6 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight.
If you want to know more, here’s a video by Bodybuilding.com on why caffeine makes workout better.
Is there a big difference between synthetic and natural caffeine? Which gives a stronger jolt? Does it even matter?
Natural caffeine in coffee, tea, and chocolate is much less common than the synthetic caffeine found in so many other products.
Caffeine is found in plant species such as the more popular ones like Coffea arabica and Coffea robusta, as well as tea leaves, kola nuts, cacao beans, Yerba mate and guarana berries.
Not only does naturally-occurring caffeine from said plants keep your cognitive functions at their peak, but it also contains antioxidants that help you fight illnesses like cancer and Alzheimer’s.