Pre Workout vs Coffee Before A Workout

By HumanWindow
Updated on 1 October 2019

What’s best to have before hitting the gym – a pre workout or some coffee?

This article is going to take a detailed look at everything you need to know to make a decision as to which option is better for you.

We all want to make sure that we’re feeling at our best during our time spent at the gym. Our time spent lifting and exercising is limited, so it’s only natural that you want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your sessions.

Pre workout supplements are one of the most popular types of health and fitness products and they can help to support your goals during training.

Coffee really needs no introduction. We already know all about its benefits and what it can help with.

In this article, we’re going to break down the basic things you need to know about pre workout supplements and coffee, so you can decide which option is best for you before training, or even whether both together could help you.

So, with the introductions out of the way, let’s start taking a closer look at what you need to know about pre workouts and coffee.

What Does A Pre Workout Do?

The best pre workout supplements are usually delivered in flavored powders, to be mixed with water and drunk before starting your training session.

There are literally hundreds of options on the market right now if you’re looking for a pre workout supplement to take before your session.

The idea behind a good pre workout is that it should be able to support your health and fitness goals by providing you with the tools you need to get the most out of your time at the gym.

Pre workouts usually contain a range of different ingredients specifically selected to support normal functions within the body.

For example, one of our top rated pre workout supplements 4 Gauge uses a range of different ingredients from Caffeine to Creatine to ensure that you can get the most from your session.

Here are some of the common ingredients to be found in a good pre workout supplement:

• Caffeine
• Low-Dose Creatine
• Beta Alanine
• Citrulline Malate
• B Vitamins
• Essential Minerals like Magnesium

The exact formula will, of course, vary from product to product. For example, if you are sensitive to stimulants, you could chose a non-stimulant pre workout such as the Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout supplement, which is delivered in capsule form.

We do always recommend checking to make sure that your pre workout of choice contains some essential Vitamins and Minerals.

For example, we always like to see Vitamins B6 and B12 included in pre workout formulas because they both support the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, as well as normal energy release.

The Bottom Line: A pre workout supplement is a health and fitness product that is designed for consumption before training. Pre workouts usually contain a range of naturally-derived ingredients which can help to support you during training. Most pre workouts come as powders to be mixed with water, but some are available as capsules.

Best Pre Workout Supplements
We've picked out five leading pre workout supplements on the market right now.

What Does Coffee Do?

You probably already know all about coffee and its benefits.


A cup of Espresso Coffee (Photo: Adobe Stock)

In case you don’t, coffee is a hot drink that is brewed from roasted coffee beans, which are the seeds of berries from certain Coffea species.

Coffee is one of the most popular hot drinks in the world and it is consumed by millions of people on a daily basis.

It contains Caffeine, which gives it a stimulant effect. It’s commonly consumed in the morning.

A regular cup of coffee contains about 100mg of Caffeine. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant, so it’s always worth keeping a close eye on your daily total consumption of it.

Lots of people choose to drink coffee before hitting the gym in the morning. It’s a safe and natural way to get the stimulant effects of caffeine without adding in any other ingredients.

Caffeine is a good partner for a solid gym session when used sensibly and in controlled doses.

The Bottom Line: Coffee is a highly popular hot drink that’s brewed from roasted coffee beans, which are the seeds of berries from certain Coffea species. It contains the stimulant Caffeine, which is why many people choose to consume it in the morning.

Pre Workout vs Coffee Before A Workout

So, now that we’ve covered the basics about pre workouts and coffee, it’s time to take a look at which is best before a workout.

• Pre Workout

The good thing about pre workout supplements is that they have been specifically designed to help support your training goals during a workout.

They will usually contain a small dose of Caffeine, along with other ingredients that have been selected to ensure that you get the most from your training.

Pre workouts are designed to be taken around 20-30 minutes before training, and depending on the quality of the product, they should work pretty well in helping to support you through your session.

The one thing to bear in mind when it comes to pre workouts is overkill in terms of caffeine or other stimulant content.

We recommend that you carefully check the label to ensure that your supplement of choice does not contain more than 200mg of caffeine per serving.

Generally speaking, we also prefer pre workouts that have shorter ingredients lists, and higher doses of the important substances.

Pre Workout Supplement drink

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

• Coffee

The first thing to realize is that the main reason why you’d want to consume coffee before a workout is to make use of its Caffeine content. You probably already know all about caffeine and its benefits as a stimulant.

Simply put, caffeine can help to support you through a rigorous training session and ensure that you’re feeling energized.

As we mentioned above, a regular cup of coffee will contain about 100mg of caffeine, so you can adjust your dose accordingly.

Caffeine generally takes around 20-30 minutes to ‘kick in’, so we recommend drinking your coffee around this long before starting your workout.

It’s important to keep tabs on your overall caffeine intake throughout the day, as you don’t want to be overdoing it on the stimulant front.

One potential benefit of (black) coffee comes if you practice intermittent fasting. If you drink your coffee black, then it is generally accepted that it won’t kick you out of a fasted state.

However, many pre workout supplements contain ingredients that do break a fast, making them not suitable for consumption during intermittent fasting.

The Bottom Line: Whether you choose to consume a pre workout or coffee before training really comes down to your individual needs and goals. Pre workouts are a great way to supply your body with important ingredients to support you through your training. Drinking black coffee before training may be a good idea if you’re practicing intermittent fasting or if you’re simply looking for a more natural caffeine hit before your workout.

Can Use A Pre Workout With Coffee?

You may now be wondering whether it’s a good idea to consume a pre workout with your coffee in the morning.

Again, this answer will depend on your individual circumstances. The main thing to be aware of is your total caffeine intake.

Coffee and Caffeine

Black Coffee (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Consuming too much caffeine is not a good idea and it will only put an unnecessary stress on your body. As a general rule, we don’t recommend consuming more than 300mg of Caffeine per day from all sources.

Whether you can have a coffee with your pre workout comes down to the ingredients of the supplement and how strong your coffee is.

It’s always best to take a close look at the label and make sure that you know exactly what it is you’re putting in your body.

Anything Else To Consider?

We strongly recommend that you speak to a certified medical professional before taking any new supplement for the first time.

It’s also important that you carefully check the label of any supplement that you’re considering taking to make sure that you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients.

The main thing to be aware of when it comes to pre workouts and coffee is the potential for over-consumption of caffeine, so keep a close eye on your total daily intake.

Wrapping Things Up – Final Thoughts

So, that brings us to the end of our look at pre workouts vs coffee.

Both offer benefits before training. Coffee can supply a nice, natural ‘caffeine hit’ before your workout, while a pre workout supplement can deliver a stimulant boost, along with other ingredients to support your training.

Black coffee can also be consumed before training if you practice intermittent fasting, while many pre workouts would break a fast.

All in all, it comes down to what your goals are and whether you’d prefer to be drinking coffee or consuming a supplement.

Best Pre Workout Supplements
We've picked out five leading pre workout supplements on the market right now.
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