What are you drinking before your work out? Water? A sports drink? How about coffee? Lots of coffee. University of Georgia researchers reviewed nine previous studies that looked at how caffeine from coffee affects endurance.
On average, participants' endurance jumped 24 percent after taking 3 to 7 milligrams of caffeine from coffee per kilogram of body weight; that translates to several cups for most people, in the 2- to 5-cup range, and that's just for athletes on the smaller side.
In the studies, participants drank coffee 45 minutes or more before they were tested to exhaustion while running or cycling.
One researcher said in a press release: "There's a perception that coffee won't give you the same benefits as pure caffeine. New research could mean that athletes could have a cup of coffee versus taking a pill."
If coffee's endurance benefits are confirmed, it might be better than pills since it's more readily available. Although that is a lot of coffee, and four of the nine studies didn't even show significant improvements in performance.
The authors are waiting for further research before recommending coffee to athletes.
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What's an espresso?
Like a concentrated coffee shot (and the drink of choice throughout Europe), an espresso is "seven grams of specifically roasted coffee, extracted by an espresso machine for approximately 24 seconds," says Tal Inbar, owner of NYC's Macchiato Espresso Bar. Want to drink it the insider way? Don't order it to go. Italians drink their espresso while standing at the café.
What's a macchiato?
A macchiato is "the same as espresso but 'stained' with a little bit of foam—the word macchiato comes from the Italian word that means to stain," says Inbar.
What's a cortado?
"Cortado means cut (it comes from the Spanish word cortar). It's an espresso 'cut' with approximately the same amount of steamed milk." If you find an espresso or macchiato a little too strong, you'll love this option.
What's a cappuccino?
Three equal parts: a third espresso, a third milk, a third froth. "If frothed correctly (and if the texture is correct), this is not supposed to be so distinct and broken apart but rather a smooth, silky texture blending each of the elements," Inbar says.
What's a dry cappuccino?
Don't like too much milk in your coffee? Try ordering your cappuccino 'dry.' "This is usually very little warm milk and more foam or froth," says Inbar.
What's a red eye?
If a regular coffee is no longer perking you up the same way, try a red eye for an extra jolt: "It's drip coffee with a shot of espresso."
What's a caffe latte?
For those who like more watered-down, less-intense coffee drinks, a latte is "the opposite of a cappuccino," says Inbar. "It consists of espresso with a lot of warm milk and a little bit of froth."