RUNNING ON COFFEE Utilize the caffeine in your daily cup of joe to enhance your run/workout/lift, to fuel recovery and even to maximize weight loss. PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE Athletes have long reaped the benefits associated with pre-performance caffeine ingestion. Studies show that the caffeine found in coffee primarily enhances alertness and arousal but also boosts muscle performance, by blocking adenosine receptors. Adenosine is a bodily byproduct contributing to brain fogginess and muscle fatigue, and receptor blockage can reduce one’s perception of pain, therefore, increasing physical stamina. Caffeine also triggers the release of dopamine, one of the body’s natural “feel-good” neurotransmitters. Peak performance typically occurs about one hour after ingestion, but caffeine can have effects for up to six hours. RECOVERY Research suggests that a post-workout cup of coffee can reduce muscle soreness and increase the body’s ability to replenish energy stores. In addition, antioxidants found in coffee help regulate and even suppress the body’s inflammation levels. So if you decide to add a cup of coffee to your warmup routine, you may want add an iced one to your cooldown as well. WEIGHT LOSS Muscles use glycogen, stored glucose, for energy, and when glycogen reserves are depleted through exercise, fatigue sets in. Caffeine shifts energy consumption, however, from glucose stores to fat stores, preserving glycogen for stamina and increasing fat burn. According to a study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, athletes who ingested caffeine pre-workout burned roughly 15% more calories post-workout than those who didn’t. Caffeine can benefit one’s fitness journey in a variety of ways, but it’s important to consider all its effects. Here are a few tips from Health and U.S. News to keep in mind when coffee-loading your workout.