Enjoying a cup of coffee while reading this? If so, you might want to consider exercising 30 minutes from now.
In a small study in Spain, researchers found that drinking a strong cup of coffee half an hour before aerobic exercise can significantly boost the body’s rate of burning fat, something that is known as maximal fat oxidation rate (MFO).
The study, which was carried out by scientists at the University of Granada, involved 15 active men with an average age of 32. As reported in New Atlas, these men took part in four different aerobic exercise sessions, with each session spaced seven days apart. The subjects were given caffeine doses equal to a strong cup of coffee or a placebo at either 8 am or 5 pm and then took part in an aerobic exercise routine half an hour later.
To measure the MFO rate of the exercisers, the scientists used a technique called indirect calorimetry. What they found was that those who drank the strong coffee before exercising burned more fat.
“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,” explains study author Francisco J. Amaro.
According to the researchers, the effects of strong coffee on MFO are actually stronger in the afternoon. While strong coffee boosted MFO by an average of 10.7 percent in the morning compared to the placebo group, MFO was boosted by an average of 29 percent in the afternoon.
We recognize that the sample size of this study is small and that more research must be done before we can confirm that drinking coffee half an hour before exercise improves the body’s ability to burn fat. We’ll keep an eye out for further research. In the meantime, it won’t hurt to have some coffee before exercising.