The caffeine in a double shot of Devil Mountain, the self proclaimed “World’s Strongest Coffee”, has 264mg – more than half your RDI in 60ml. A 330ml can of Nocco energy drink had 180mg. That’s a little less from a lot more liquid, but still plenty to fire up your session.
One very robust meta-analysis found that the caffeine in your pre-gym shot can boost muscle strength by a fifth, accelerating your progress towards a squat PB. On top of caffeine’s benefits, the University of Córdoba found the citrulline added to pre-workout drinks helps you add up to 53% more bench-press reps per workout.
Coffee helps you use up more fat during exercise: the caffeine releases adrenaline, which stimulates your fatty tissue to break down and release fat into your blood
In a 10-year study, coffee drinkers cut their risk of premature death by as much as 16%. Curiously, the positive effects weren’t linked to caffeine: decaf drinkers benefited equally.
Whether it’s the gym or the rugby pitch, downing an espresso half an hour before go time will boost performance by 11%, according to the University of Luton. Your citrulline-packed pre-workout can provide a potent boost. In one study, cyclists could bike 12% longer before exhaustion – a tasty edge over the peloton
THE MH VERDICT: PRE-WORKOUT WINS
...with one major caveat: this fight took place in the gym. To kick-start your day and improve your health, espresso wins out easily. But when your training needs extra fizz, the micros in pre-workouts have an undeniable edge. Drink them more than that, though, and you’re opening a can of worms.