What are the benefits of drinking decaf coffee for athletes and sports people?

It’s well known of that regular caffeinated coffee can have multiple health benefits and contribute to an improved performance as a pre or post-workout drink.

But, what about decaffeinated coffee? Are there benefits of drinking of decaffeinated for exercise and running?

Can decaf coffee improve exercise and running performance and does decaf coffee offer the same performance-enhancing effects as regular coffee?

Well, there are actually a number of benefits of consuming decaffeinated coffee when exercising as follows:

Decaffeinated coffee is rich in antioxidants

Well, the answer is that decaffeinated coffee is still rich in antioxidants, which makes it a great option for a post-workout drink.

When you exercise or finish your running or jogging routine, the movement of free radicals increases in your body, so the antioxidants in coffee can help neutralise some of those free radicals and make them unreactive. 

Decaffeinated coffee is almost zero calories.

Decaffeinated coffee, when served black, is almost zero calorie free. Moreover, decaf coffee contains vitamin B3, potassium, and magnesium, which are important for health and sports performance.

Decaffeinated coffee increases your metabolism rate.

Decaffeinated coffee naturally increase your metabolism rates, which thus increases the amount of energy your body uses, which can help burn excess fat in your body. So, a cup of decaf coffee before exercising can help you target the fat more effectively.

Decaffeinated coffee can help reduce your appetite.

If you are embarking on a diet, combined with exercise, then the chlorogenic acid in decaf coffee can also reduce  your appetite, causing you to eat less amount of foods less frequently. This makes it an ideal post-workout drink to keep your calorie intake low, so you don’t immediately resort to food.

Decaf coffee is ideal for late night training or exercise

Decaffeinated coffee can be a good option for late-night training or races. If you're training or competing late at night, caffeine can interfere with your sleep and recovery. Decaffeinated coffee can help you avoid this issue.

Decaf coffee can improve hydration

Caffeine can act as a diuretic, which can lead to dehydration. Decaffeinated coffee does not have this effect, so it can help you stay hydrated during exercise or running.

Is it better drink decaf or regular caffeinated coffee for exercise and sports training?

The question of whether decaf or regular caffeinated coffee is better for exercise and sports training depends on various factors, including individual tolerance to caffeine, the nature of the sport or exercise, and the specific goals of the training.

Caffeinated coffee is widely recognised for its performance-enhancing effects in sports and exercise. Caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant, can increase alertness, delay fatigue, and improve endurance.

For athletes participating in endurance sports or those needing a quick burst of energy, regular caffeinated coffee might offer significant benefits. The stimulation provided by caffeine can improve reaction times, concentration, and overall physical performance.

However, it's important to note that caffeine affects individuals differently. While some athletes may experience enhanced performance, others might suffer from side effects such as jitteriness, anxiety, or gastrointestinal distress.

On the other hand, decaffeinated coffee, though less studied in the context of sports performance, offers its own set of advantages. It is particularly beneficial for those sensitive to caffeine or who engage in late-night training sessions.

Since decaf coffee lacks the stimulating effects of caffeine, it is less likely to interfere with sleep patterns, an essential aspect of recovery and performance. Additionally, decaf coffee still contains antioxidants and other beneficial compounds found in regular coffee, which can aid in post-exercise recovery by neutralising free radicals produced during intense physical activity.

Some studies suggest that decaf coffee can still enhance endurance and performance, albeit to a lesser extent than its caffeinated counterpart. Furthermore, for athletes concerned about hydration, decaf coffee is a better option as it doesn't have the diuretic effect associated with caffeine.

Ultimately, the choice between decaf and regular coffee for sports and exercise should be based on personal preference, tolerance levels, and specific training requirements. Athletes are advised to experiment with both types of coffee in training to determine which aligns best with their body's response and their training goals.

Decaffeinated coffee may still provide some of the performance-enhancing effects of regular coffee. Some studies have found that decaffeinated coffee can still improve endurance and exercise performance, although the effects may be somewhat less pronounced than with regular coffee.

Decaffeinated coffee may also be less likely to cause negative side effects as caffeine can cause jitters, anxiety, and other unpleasant side effects in some people. Decaffeinated coffee can help you avoid these effects while still getting some of the benefits of coffee.

Overall, decaffeinated coffee can be a useful option for people who are looking to reduce their caffeine intake or avoid the negative effects of caffeine on sleep and other aspects of health. While the performance-enhancing effects of decaffeinated coffee may be somewhat less pronounced than with regular coffee, it can still provide some benefits for exercise and running.

It's important to note that the effects of decaffeinated coffee on exercise performance may vary from person to person. Some people may not experience any benefits, while others may find that it helps to improve their performance. It's always a good idea to experiment with different pre-workout strategies to see what works best for you.

IMPORTANT: This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. Nothing in the content or products should be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs.


December 18, 2022 — Guy Wilmot

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