Having a good workout and a strong cup of coffee are two of my favorite simple pleasures, but the thought of combining the two always seemed like a recipe for dehydration, muscle cramps and potentially a stomach ache. So I’ve played it safe and saved the cup of coffee as a post-workout reward.
Unfortunately, a growing amount of research suggests I’ve been very wrong and that coffee may be a natural and effective pre-workout drink. In fact, caffeine is a natural stimulant used by many athletes to enhance their physical performance — so much so that the International Olympic Committee and other anti-doping agencies banned the use of it during competition between 1984 and 2004. But ever since caffeine’s been permitted again, the concentration of caffeine in urine tests has progressively increased, perhaps because it works.