Pre-Workout vs. Coffee: Which Will Give You the Optimal Workout & Why

Pre-Workout vs. Coffee: Which Will Give You the Optimal Workout & Why

Energy is your most precious resource as a fitness enthusiast. It is the currency that you use to achieve your fitness goals.

If you don't have the necessary energy, you won't be able to perform at your highest level. And if you don't perform at your highest, you won't be able to maximize your potential.

This is the main reason why people drink coffee or pre-workout supplements before working out.

However, there is a floating conversation about pre-workout vs coffee – which one is better for your workouts?

There are varieties of coffee and pre-workouts in the market. And with these many options available to you, it can be difficult to assess which will be more conducive for your workouts.

Both of these are composed of unique ingredients and they can impact your workouts in different ways – positive or negative. Knowing which one will enhance the positive impacts while minimizing the negative impacts is vital.

In this article, we will answer the question together.

Pre-Workout vs. Coffee: Which Is Best for Your Workout?  

For us, it’s not a hard question to answer – pre-workouts are the superior option.

Coffee is considered a worthy contender for a pre-workout supplement because it contains caffeine and it is readily available and affordable. It is also a drink that is known throughout the world.

According to research, around 166.63 million 60-kilogram bags of coffee were consumed worldwide in the year 2020-2021.

However, if you're looking for performance-enhancing ingredients beyond caffeine, a pre-workout supplement is the superior choice.

It typically contains a blend of ingredients designed to increase energy, focus, and endurance. Some of the most common ingredients found in pre-workout supplements include caffeine, beta-alanine, creatine, and nitric oxide boosters.

With pre-workout supplements, you’ll get more edge and boost compared to a regular cup of coffee – because it is designed to enhance your workouts.

The Problem With Drinking Coffee Before a Workout

Caffeine Crash

One of the most common problems with drinking coffee before a workout is the caffeine crash that can occur. While caffeine can provide a temporary boost of energy, it can also cause a crash in energy levels once it wears off. This crash can leave you feeling fatigued – which can be counterproductive to your workout goals.

On the other hand, most pre-workout supplements are formulated to provide a sustained release of energy – without causing a crash in energy levels. This sustained release of energy can help you maintain your focus and performance throughout your workout.


Coffee is a natural diuretic, which means it can cause your body to lose fluids quickly. This can lead to dehydration, especially during an intense workout when your body needs to stay hydrated to perform at its best. Dehydration can cause fatigue, cramping, dizziness, and even fainting, all of which can negatively affect your workout.

With pre-workouts, this won't be a problem. because pre-workout contains electrolytes and essential amino acids that will help you stay hydrated during your workouts.

Some People Have High Caffeine Tolerance

If you have a high tolerance for caffeine, you may find that coffee is not strong enough to provide the desired effect. If that’s the case, a pre-workout supplement is a better choice.

Pre-workout supplements generally have higher amounts of caffeine per serving versus coffee. As a result, you'll be able to drink less liquid and still have more energy.

With that said, let’s compare the average caffeine dosages of pre-workout supplements and coffee:

How much caffeine is in a regular cup of coffee?

According to FDA(Food and Drug Administration), an 8-ounce cup of coffee contains 80 to 100 milligrams of caffeine.

How much caffeine is in pre-workout?

According to WebMD, pre-workout supplements have a range of 150 mg to 300 mg of caffeine per serving.

That is a huge difference in the caffeine that you’ll get on the quantity of serving. And if you switch from coffee to pre-workout supplements, you’ll immediately notice the difference in your alertness and overall performance.

It Lacks Essential Nutrients

Coffee does not provide any essential nutrients that are necessary for athletic performance. Furthermore, coffee can prevent the breakdown of some nutrients, including calcium and iron. This can be a setback for athletes because these nutrients are necessary for oxygen transport and bone health.

Stomach Discomfort

In addition to the potential negative effects mentioned above, consuming coffee before a workout can also lead to gastrointestinal discomforts, such as nausea or diarrhea. Especially if it is consumed on an empty stomach.

This is because coffee is acidic. It can irritate the lining of the stomach, leading to indigestion, heartburn, and acid reflux.

This can be especially problematic during high-intensity workouts or long runs.

Why You Should Stick to Pre-Workout Instead of Coffee

It Has Different Flavor Options

Pre-workouts are a great option for those who dislike the taste of coffee but need an extra boost for their workouts. You can experiment with a range of pre-workout brands and flavors to find the one that is effective and best for you.

Like our Legacy all-natural pre-workout, it comes in 2 tasty flavors:

  • Sour Apple
  • Grape

You Can Control Your Caffeine Intake Better

While both pre-workout and coffee contain caffeine, pre-workout allows you to have a more controlled amount of caffeine intake.

The caffeine in pre-workout is measured in specific amounts, so you know exactly how much caffeine you are consuming. This factor is crucial because too much caffeine can lead to negative side effects such as jitters, anxiety, and heart palpitations.

You Have the Option of Stim-free Pre-workouts

Some people prefer to eliminate caffeine because it affects their sleep. With pre-workouts, you have the option to buy stim-free pre-workouts.  It will give you the performance boost that you need without caffeine.

Improves the Delivery of Nutrients

Pre-workout supplements can help to optimize nutrient delivery to the muscles during a workout. This is because they contain ingredients that help to increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles.

It Improves Your Endurance

Most pre-workouts contain ingredients that can help you with your overall endurance.

Ingredients like L-citrulline, beta-Alanine and beetroot powder can reduce fatigue, aid in prolonged exercises, and boost your overall endurance.

Pre-workout Supplements Can Help You Build Muscle

Compared to coffee, pre-workouts have ingredients that help with muscle gain. Ingredients like creatine and BCAAs can help you maximize your workout results.

Pre-workout Supplements Can Aid In Your Recovery

Many pre-workout supplements contain ingredients that can help to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation after exercise. Ingredients such as beta-alanine, citrulline, and taurine can help to reduce muscle fatigue and soreness – allowing for faster recovery.

The Final Verdict: Pre-Workout or Coffee?

The long conversation about pre-workout vs coffee is easy to answer if you look at the big picture. Pre-workout is the clear winner.

While coffee can provide you with some energy before your workouts, you’ll get more benefits for your workout if you use pre-workout instead of coffee.

It will provide you with better energy, endurance, and nutrients that you can’t find in coffee. The nutrients that are in a pre-workout will maximize the results that you want to have.

And if you are currently using coffee as a pre-workout, you’re missing out on the edge that you can get with pre-workout supplements.

Luckily, we're offering a special sale for you! You can get the benefits of a pre-workout at a cheaper price.

Try Legacy’s all-natural pre-workout for 20% off!

Don’t miss this sale and see the improvements for yourself – you’ll never go back to coffee again.