preworkout vs coffee

Coffee or pre-workout supplements? A common question from fitness buffs is if they should drink coffee or take a pre-workout before hitting the gym.

Pre-workout supplementation has its benefits. But if you are wondering whether you should add it to your diet, there are some things to consider…

Caffeine is the main ingredient of a pre-workout supplement. It has been shown to increase energy and burn more calories throughout a workout. Caffeine is also present in coffee, which is readily available and can be a cheaper alternative.

A hot Java can boost your energy levels and offer you some extra focus as pre-workout does. But the difference can lie in the supplement’s extra ingredients.

A Bit Of History

Coffee has been a common part of many people’s morning rituals for a long time. Whether it’s desperado coffee or the fancy, $5 latte from your local coffee shop. Caffeine use has been in our daily lives since the days of the Ancient Egyptians.

Coffee has long been a controversial subject in America. Many people swear by the morning cup of coffee as a way to start the day with a natural energy boost. Many others claim that drinking coffee throughout the day can be detrimental to your health in many ways.

Pre-Workout supplements are becoming more and more popular. Athletes understand that they can enhance their training regimens with supplementation.

Pre-workouts have it all when compared to coffee. They deliver energy, improve focus, enhance endurance, and even help with muscle pumps!

There are even crazy stories of some gym-goers snorting pre-workout. We don’t recommend that you try that!

The Curse pre workout

If you are not a bodybuilder or powerlifter, then you may not benefit from consuming a pre-workout supplement as much as an athlete.

Yet, they can help you improve alertness and energy if you are seeking to improve workout performance or endurance in the gym. Here we’ll take a look at how the two stack up against each other. Read on to find the pros and cons of coffee and pre-workout supplements.

Common Pre-Workout Ingredients

Pre-workout is better than coffee when it comes to the number of ingredients. There are hundreds of varieties of these supplements on the market. They each have different ingredients, blends, and target audiences. But the most successful pre-workouts always have similar ingredients which tend to work for the majority of people.


Caffeine is the most popular and effective ingredient found in a pre-workout and is known to increase energy and focus at the gym. If your goal is to lose body fat, then caffeine can have thermogenic effects. This can help to burn additional calories during exercise and throughout the day.

Some pre-workout supplements can have upwards of 400 mg of caffeine per serving, which is equivalent to about 4 cups of coffee. If you are caffeine sensitive, then assess your tolerance first before you increase your dose.


creatine powder

You can expect your average pre-workout supplement to contain creatine. Creatine is another supplement that is better to take daily but many people decide to take either creatine or pre-workout and not both at the same time.

Citrulline Malate

Citrulline malate has been shown to increase blood flow by increasing nitric oxide while also reducing blood pressure. This dilates blood vessels to increase blood flow and will help to increase muscle pump, vascularity, and nutrition partitioning.

In layman’s terms, this means your muscles will look bigger and they will absorb more nutrients. If you don’t train for bodybuilding or strength, then citrulline malate may not be beneficial to you.


Beta-alanine can help you perform more reps in the gym, the body uses it to produce carnosine which delays lactic acid build-up in the muscles.

This works best if you take it every day, but there are still benefits to taking it with a pre-workout too. But if you don’t plan on consuming your supplement every day, then you won’t get optimal benefits from these ingredients.


L-tyrosine helps to increase alertness and focus. It can also help you with indulging in fewer distractions at the gym. L-tyrosine can complement the caffeine present in pre-workout for an energized effect and laser focus at the same time.

Branched Chain Amino Acids

BCAAs are important in building muscle tissue.  Weightlifting causes more muscle breakdown than some other endurance exercises. So the addition of BCAAs in a pre-workout supplement can help with recovery and growth.

Why Choose Pre Workout Vs Coffee

Coffee Beans

The benefits of a pre-workout are plentiful; let’s talk about them in more detail:

Easy To Consume

Pre-workout supplements are quicker and easier to make than coffee. All you need is a shaker, water, and a scoop of your favorite powder. Then you can see a quick improvement in your exercise performance. The ease of making a pre-workout drink can come in handy when you are on the go. They are useful when you need something quick without stopping or preparing.

Coffee will need at least hot water (unless you are making a frappe). Depending, on the type of hot drink that you want, it can take much more equipment and more time than a supplement.

High Caffeine Content

Pre-workouts usually have higher stimulant content when compared to most caffeinated beverages such as energy drinks. If you are someone with a high caffeine tolerance, then you may benefit from a pre-workout tremendously.

Sweet Taste

Pre-workouts have a sweeter taste than coffee. Most of these supplements have been developed to have a nice taste with the use of sweeteners.

Many gym-goers select their pre-workout based on taste alone! If you are not a coffee drinker, this makes pre-workout supplements a much tastier alternative. Caffeine pills are another option for those who don’t like the taste of coffee.

Better Focus

Pre-workout has many ingredients which increase your cognition and help you have a great exercise session. Ingredients like L-tyrosine work beautifully with caffeine and can give you the additional boost you might be looking for. The best pre-workouts for focus generally contain several additions to improve brain cognition.

Increased Muscle Endurance

man building biceps muscles

With the ingredients such as citrulline malate, beta-alanine, and creatine, you can expect to squeeze out a couple of more reps than you usually do. The ability to get more reps can help you progress quicker in muscular strength and size.

Benefits Of Coffee Vs Pre Workout Supplements

Even though coffee might not be as sophisticated as a pre-workout, it still comes with many benefits:


Most coffee drinkers love the taste of coffee beans, and they may prefer to consume a cup of black coffee rather than a scoop of pre-workout. If you drink something you enjoy before a workout, then you will be in a better mood and complete your exercise routine with a big smile.


For the most part, coffee is less expensive per serving than a pre-workout. The only time coffee can be more costly than a pre-workout is if you purchase one from Starbucks or a fancy coffee shop. If you make your coffee, then you can enjoy the fruits of your labor for very cheap.

Natural Caffeine


Coffee has natural caffeine, which is just as effective as the caffeine found in pre-workout. If you are cautious about your health, consuming lab-made ingredients, or concerned about their side effects, then coffee is a great source. If you are looking to lose weight, then decaffeinated coffee can also make a good appetite suppressant [1].

Tip: Take some L-theanine with your coffee to avoid the jitters but still have focus.

An Appropriate Amount Of Caffeine

The great thing about coffee is that it has the right amount of caffeine for most people. A cup of coffee has 100mg of caffeine which is sufficient enough to increase energy without overconsumption of caffeine. Drinking coffee can be a great energy booster for people who have a suitable caffeine tolerance [2].

Can Coffee Be A Substitute For Pre Workout?

Yes! Coffee can be an excellent substitute for a pre-workout. Remember that pre-workout is ideal for people who have a higher caffeine consumption or are looking for additional benefits than just brain function.

If your goal is to be healthy and get the most out of your workouts, then coffee can be perfect. You can always take ingredients found in pre-workouts individually with your coffee if you would like to get the same benefits as you get from supplements while enjoying a tasty cup of pre-workout coffee.


You don’t need a pre-workout if you just need extra energy, you can get a similar energy boost from coffee. If you have high caffeine tolerance and or don’t enjoy coffee, then pre-workouts can be a great supplement to consume.