Drinking strong coffee just 30 minutes before your next workout could help you speed up your weight loss, according to a recent study (opens in new tab).
Research from the Department of Physiology of the University of Granada found consuming 3mg/kg caffeine (the same as one large coffee) half an hour before aerobic exercise significantly increases the amount of fat you'll burn.
The study was recently published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. As reported by EurekAlert! (opens in new tab), researchers aimed to determine whether caffeine actually does increase "burning" of fat during exercise. Despite the fact it appears regularly in nutrition supplements, there remains minimal scientific evidence for its benefit in sports performance.
- Best workout for stamina: go longer, go harder with our cardio-pushing tips and advice
- How to get fit: 5 easy strategies to start your 2021 fitness journey… even if you're feeling lazy!
- How to lose belly fat and get in shape for the year ahead
Surprisingly, research also found the effects of caffeine are more significant in the afternoon, suggesting an early morning fasting cardio session isn't actually the best way to drop those excess kilos.
People regularly train early in the morning on an empty stomach in the belief that this will see them drop more weight. But the lead author of the research, Francisco José Amaro-Gahete of the UGR's Department of Physiology, said weight loss from morning workouts could just be due to a longer period without food.
He said: "The recommendation to exercise on an empty stomach in the morning to increase fat oxidation is commonplace. However, this recommendation may be lacking a scientific basis, as it is unknown whether this increase is due to exercising in the morning or due to going without food for a longer period of time."
Results showed caffeine increased fat burning during morning exercise in a similar way to that observed without caffeine intake in the afternoon.
According to the study, the "optimal scenario" for people trying to burn fat at the gym is consuming caffeine half and hour before aerobic exercise performed at moderate intensity in the afternoon.
"The results of our study showed that acute caffeine ingestion 30 minutes before performing an aerobic exercise test increased maximum fat oxidation during exercise regardless of the time of day," Francisco José Amaro-Gahete added.
Research was conducted with a group of 15 men completing an exercise test four times at seven-day intervals. Subjects ingested 3 mg/kg of caffeine or a placebo at 8am and 5pm, with each completing the tests in all four conditions in a random order.