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I love coffee. I really do.
It tastes amazing, offers a range of health benefits, and makes me feel warm inside.
But I appreciate it’s not for everyone.
(If it were, the world would be a much more productive place!)
Those who would prefer not to drink coffee may be wondering:
Are there any alternatives that give you the same boost of energy?
To which the answer is a big fat YES!
Many alternatives in fact.
Here’s why pre workout is an excellent alternative to coffee:
You can take pre workout instead of coffee as the caffeine in pre workout will give you the same buzz as a coffee would. Also, pre workout offers additional benefits such as improved performance in the gym.
In this article, we’re going to cover why you may want to take pre workout instead of coffee, as well as the best pre workout supplements to replace coffee. Enjoy!
What is Pre Workout?
Pre workout is a supplement that’s mainly used by bodybuilders and weightlifters.
As its name suggests, it’s taken right before your workout with the goal of boosting energy and giving you a better pump.
Pre workout is typically sold as a powder, so it’s mainly consumed as a drink mixed with water.
It usually includes many ingredients like BCAAs, Creatine, Caffeine, Beta Alanine, and Artificial Sweeteners.
Why You May Want To Take Pre Workout Instead Of Coffee
Pre Workout is High in Caffeine
Thanks to its high caffeine content, coffee is famous for giving you that sudden burst of energy in the morning.
(I don’t know about you, but I struggle to function before my first coffee!)
In one cup of coffee, you’ll find 100mg of caffeine.
Whereas a serving of pre workout typically provides 150mg to 300mg of caffeine.
In other words, there are some pre workouts that offer 3x more caffeine than a cup of coffee!
So, if you’re looking for that boost of energy in the morning but aren’t a fan of coffee, then pre workout certainly ticks the caffeine box.
(Speaking from personal experience, too much caffeine can make you feel jittery, anxious, and irritable. So, more isn’t necessary better. But the beauty of pre workout is that you can just use less powder so you’re in full control of the amount of caffeine.)
Pre Workout May Help You Focus
Another reason why people drink coffee is their ability to focus afterwards.
Research shows that this can be credited to the caffeine.
In one study, those who ingested the most caffeine had improved verbal memory, reaction time, and spatial awareness.
Now as you know, pre workout is also high in caffeine.
Which is great.
Many pre workouts contain additional ingredients which help you focus even more!
For example, Genius Pre Workout Powder contains an adaptogenic herb called Rhodiola Rosea.
Well, according to research, Rhodiola Rosea can help improve mental performance.
In one study, 56 night shift workers took either 170mg of Rhodiola Rosea or a placebo each day for 2 weeks.
The results showed that those who consumed Rhodiola Rosea had less mental fatigue and improved performance compared to the placebo takers.
Another example is Hooligan Pre Workout Powder which contains Lion’s Mane mushrooms.
In a study, 30 adults took either 3000mg of Lion’s Mane extract or a placebo each day for 16 weeks.
After just 8 weeks, the Lion’s Mane group had significantly improved mental function.
(Related Reading: Is Pre Workout Good For Studying?)
Some People Dislike The Taste Of Coffee
Believe it or not, there are some (strange) people out there who dislike the taste of coffee.
(Yep – I’m just as shocked as you are.)
Well, luckily for these people, pre workout powder comes in all sorts of flavors!
According to the Bodybuilding.com community, the 10 best flavors are:
- Fruit Punch
- Blue Razz
- Green Apply Envy
- Cherry Limeade
- Wild Berry
- Pineapple Mango
- Icy Blue Razz
- Green Apple
- Strawberry Margarita
- Sour Watermelon
Plenty to keep your taste buds happy.
Pre Workout May Help You Build Muscle
While coffee is capable of many things, one thing it can’t do is help you pack on muscle.
But to be fair, no one expects to look like the Hulk after a morning espresso.
Pre workout, on the other hand, contains many different ingredients which help you gain size.
Let’s explore a few of these ingredients in a bit more detail.
Creatine is broken down into ATP in our body, which is what our cells use for energy.
As I’m sure you’re aware, every single muscle movement requires energy, and thus ATP.
So, having sufficient ATP supplies is key to a brutal workout.
There’s a ton of research to support the use of creatine for muscle gaining too.
In one study, 18 males took either creatine or a placebo for 9 weeks while undertaking a strength-training program.
The results showed that those in the creatine group gained 2kg of mass while those in the placebo group had no change in mass.
BCAAs, short for Branch Chained Amino Acids, are the essential amino acids Valine, Leucine, and Isoleucine.
(They’re classed as essential as our bodies can’t produce them, so they must be obtained from food/supplements.)
BCAAs help you gain muscle through multiple mechanisms.
For example, research shows they help reduce fatigue by blocking the production of serotonin.
When you’re less fatigued, you can push yourself even further which can help you put on muscle.
Beta-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid that’s used with histidine to produce carnosine – a substance that reduces lactic acid build up in your muscles.
Like creatine and BCAAs, there’s a lot of research that backs up its muscle building potential.
In one study, 30 subjects took either 6400mg of Beta-Alanine or a placebo each day for 5 weeks while undertaking a strength training program.
According to the results, those who took Beta-Alanine had significantly greater improvements in 1 rep max and power compared to those in the placebo group.
Best Pre Workout Supplements To Take Instead Of Coffee
Now that we know why some people may want to choose pre workout over coffee, here are 3 epic pre workout supplements at different price points.
Best Budget Pre Workout To Take Instead Of Coffee: MP Assault Pre Workout
A cheap and cheerful pre workout supplement that’s reasonable quality.
Perfect for those with a smaller budget.
What I like about it
The variety of active ingredients in such a cheap supplement is impressive to say the least.
For example, there’s a handful of vitamins for overall wellness.
(Vitamins that you wouldn’t get in a coffee 😉)
And then there’s stuff to improve your strength and performance, like creatine and Beta-Alanine.
There’s also caffeine and Acetyl L-Carnitine in there which have been added specifically to improve energy and focus.
While the variety of ingredients is impressive, the strength is pretty tame.
For example, there’s 150mg of Acetyl L-Carnitine per serving, even though studies suggest a standard dose of anywhere between 630mg and 2500mg.
But for the low price, you can’t complain too much.
Best Mid-Range Pre Workout To Take Instead Of Coffee: Evlution Nutrition ENGN Shred Pre Workout
A fat-loss focused pre workout that’s super high in caffeine.
Ideal for those who want to get stuff done while burning blubber.
What I like about it
Let’s start with the caffeine.
Each serving has 260mg of the stuff, which is nearly 3 cups of coffee’s worth!
What’s great is that some of this caffeine is derived from green tea extract, which contains many healthy antioxidants to help combat oxidative stress.
And with ingredients like L-Tyrosine to help you focus, the Mind-to-Muscle Matrix blend is impressive too.
The Mind-to-Muscle Matrix is classed as a proprietary blend, meaning it doesn’t specify the amount of each ingredient, which kinda sucks.
Best Premium Pre Workout To Take Instead Of Coffee: Bucked Up Pre Workout
Premium quality? Check.
Premium strength? Check.
Premium price? Check.
Bucked Up Pre Workout is the Rolls-Royce of pre workout supplements.
What I like about it
What separates this supplement from the rest is the inclusion of 2 key ingredients – Actigin and Astragin.
Actigin is a pharmaceutical-grade ingredient composed of extracts from Panax notoginseng and Rosa roxburgii plants.
It helps increase VO2 max and boosts athletic performance.
Astragin is a similar compound to Actigin that’s been shown to help improve the absorption of amino acids.
(It’s believed to help improve citrulline absorption by 66%!)
The caffeine content is respectable too with 200mg per serving.
Bucked Up Pre Workout is a LOT more expensive than your standard pre workout.
So if you’re on a smaller budget, I’d look elsewhere.
Wrapping up, it’s clear that pre workout can be a solid coffee replacement.
Not only will it make you more alert and give you more energy, but there’s a good chance it’ll help you build muscle too.
We’ve also covered 3 awesome pre workout supplements at different price points to help you whatever your budget.
Some of you may be wondering:
Are you going to be substituting coffee for pre workout, Robb?
To which my answer is no.
I don’t have anything against pre workout, but I’m a coffeeholic.
That’s all I have for today guys!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and are now more informed over whether you should be taking pre workout instead of coffee.
Is Pre Workout Better Than Coffee?
This ultimately depends on your goal.
If you’re focusing on muscle building, then I’d argue pre workout is better than coffee.
Whereas if you’re focusing on general health, I’d lean towards coffee.
Is it OK To Take Pre Workout First Thing In The Morning?
If you need a big caffeine hit in the morning, but aren’t a fan of coffee, be sure to give pre workout a try.
In fact, taking pre workout in the morning is much better than taking it at night.
Can You Drink C4 Pre Workout Instead Of Coffee?
As C4 is the best-selling pre workout in America, I’m sure many of you are wondering if you can take C4 instead of coffee.
And the answer is a resounding YES!
A serving of C4 provides 150mg of caffeine which is a tad more than your standard cup of coffee, so it should provide a similar caffeine buzz.