Coffee and Training

There’s an ad on in the gym at the moment for a particular coffee chain that amuses me every time it comes on.  In it the voice over guy says there’s no better way to recover from a workout than having a coffee at their particular establishment.  It amuses me because it couldn’t be further from the truth!  Don’t get me wrong, coffee is GREAT if you can tolerate it.  But post workout it is probably the worst supplement you can put in the body.  Here’s why.  

Coffee stimulates adrenaline which is your ‘fight or flight’ hormone.  In response to this the body raises cortisol which is your stress hormone. Intense exercise also raises cortisol as, most of you know, intense exercise is kind of unpleasant and stressful at the time.  So whats the problem?  After enduring a stressful event the no.1 goal should be to calm down yes?  I don’t know too many people who would reach for a coffee after being chased by a wild animal or involved in a fight.  Chances are they’d be doing their best to try and calm down.  

Having a coffee straight after exercising does the opposite to calming down.  It adds stress to the stress. 


Being stressed out for extended periods of time isn’t a goal I hear mentioned to me too often.  And the implications of  long term exposure to cortisol are quite clear :  

  • Impaired cognitive performance
  • Suppressed thyroid function
  • Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia
  • Decreased bone density
  • Decrease in muscle tissue
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, slowed wound healing, and other health consequences
  • Increased abdominal fat, which is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, the development of metabolic syndrome, higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems!

So if you like to meet up with friends after the gym have a green tea instead which has an anti oxidant in it called theanine which is anti stress anti fatigue. Better yet add some glycine to your post workout shake to bump the cortisol down so the body can start repairing itself from your workout.  

The best option is to have your coffee pre workout!  

Consuming caffeine pre-workout, either in supplement form or from organic coffee  is an excellent way to improve vigor, training drive, and work capacity.  There’s a reason caffeine is a banned substance in many sports.  It works! It improves performance!

Side note : Coffee is one of the highest pesticided crops in the world along with soy so make sure your coffee bean is organic.  Chocolat downstairs use an organic coffee bean and have some great friendly staff.

See you in the gym.

Personal Training Bondi Junction