There has been a burning question in my mind recently. Is coffee good for muscle growth? Before we dig into the facts, we need to understand what this delicious drink can do for your body.
The positives of coffee is that it gives you extra energy, which allows you to push through your workouts with strength and intensity.
The negatives of coffee are that it has extra calories (depending on how you prepare it), it can suppress your appetite, and it can cause anxiety. These can be pretty serious if you don’t recognize them and counteract them.
In this article we are going to discuss the benefits and downsides of coffee in regards to muscle growth. Is coffee good for muscle growth? Only if you learn to take advantage of its effects.
Before we get started, I encourage you to download our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). Our FREE workout plans will put you on the right path for muscle building.
Coffee suppresses your appetite
According to the Mayo Clinic, caffeine has been proven to slow down your appetite for brief amounts of time. While appetite suppression might be great for people who are trying to lose weight, it can be very detrimental to those wishing to grow their muscles.
If you are trying to build muscle, you need to eat at a caloric surplus. This is the only way that you are going to be able to build muscle alongside a consistent workout routine.
The only way to know if you are in a caloric surplus is by calculating your maintenance calories, and eating at a number over that every day.
Unfortunately, we all have different maintenance numbers, some very high and some low. For those with high maintenance numbers, like me, we struggle to eat enough calories to begin with.
Now if you add in coffee, it’s going to be difficult to get enough calories if my appetite is suppressed. If you find yourself overeating on a regular basis, use coffee to your advantage and only eat after drinking coffee.
If you already struggle to eat enough calories, you will definitely want to drink your coffee after you eat. Otherwise, it will be a constant struggle for you to eat enough calories with a now suppressed appetite.
In this context, we have to ask again, is coffee good for muscle growth? It can be, but we need to use timing to our advantage. Before anything else, if we want to build muscle, we absolutely need to be in a caloric surplus. There is no way around that.
If you have done your part and figured out your maintenance calories, it is just up to you to determine when or if you want to drink coffee.
Take advantage of the energy giving effects of coffee
Drinking coffee obviously gives you a surge of energy for at least a few hours. What you do with this time is extremely important for the success of your muscle growth.
This is why a lot of people swear by working out in the morning. They eat their breakfast, they drink their coffee, and then they take advantage of that time when their energy is the highest.
If you are new to muscle building, you will need to understand that the best way to build muscle is to lift heavy weights and eat at a caloric surplus. It’s important to note that heavy is relative to what you can personally lift.
Don’t go right into it trying to lift 400 pounds. Start off small, and work your way up over time.
The energy giving effects of caffeine are going to help you with lifting weights. And in no time, you will have increased your muscle mass.
One thing to keep in mind is that you aren’t going to build a beastly body overnight. Everything happens with gradual progression. And I totally understand the feeling of going into a workout full of caffeine and crushing it. Then you wonder why you didn’t spontaneously grow muscle.
If you are new to working out, it is important to set realistic fitness goals for beginners.
While one workout might not bring you all the muscle you want, 6 months straight of working out 3-5 days per week will.
Don’t let your energy window go to waste. If you aren’t currently working out within the window that your caffeine gives you the most energy, try switching up your schedule.
Don’t drink too much coffee
This might seem obvious, but a study in 1984 about caffeine tolerance suggested that caffeine in increased doses can cause feelings of anxiety, hostility, and depression.
But how does this affect your muscles growing? When you have increased levels of anxiety and depression, you are less likely to follow through with your goals. It becomes more about emotional survival in the current situation rather than long term physical well being.
This is why it is very important to know your body and your mind. I personally have an extremely low tolerance to caffeine. So when I do drink coffee, I am really careful with how much I drink.
Another downside that I mentioned in the introduction was the fact that coffee can have a ton of calories depending on how you prepare it. It is important to mention that yes, extra calories are usually good if we are trying to build muscle.
But the extra calories in coffee usually come from sugar, so let’s be sure to keep that at bay.
At the end of the day, only you can decide for yourself how much coffee is too much coffee. We can use it to our advantage, or we can use it to our detriment.
You also have to think of the fact that caffeine is a drug, and it can have negative side effects just like any other drug. Find out what works for you and make it happen.
Main Point: Is coffee good for muscle growth?
Circulating back to our question, is coffee good for muscle growth, we now have the answer. The reality is that yes, coffee can be good for muscle growth, but it all depends on the person drinking the coffee.
We learned that you cannot build muscle in a caloric deficit. Therefore the only way that you can build muscle is if you are in a caloric surplus. Eating enough calories is the number one way that you build muscle, assuming you are lifting weights.
With that being said, if drinking coffee is affecting your appetite so much that you are finding it difficult to reach a caloric surplus, then it might be time to re-think your strategy.
Remember that you can always eat before your coffee. This journey is all about finding out what works for you while still being able to build muscle.
There are 3 things that you need in order to build muscle. A caloric surplus, lifting heavy weights, and doing this consistently over many months or years.
If you can stick to those 3 things, you will have no problem building muscle. This is all independent of your coffee intake. Think of coffee as a background actor in your life. You can take it or leave it.
All in all, coffee isn’t going to negatively affect you if you can just stick to the 3 truths about muscle building.
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