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A cup of pre-workout coffee may help burn off more calories while exercising.

A cup of pre-workout coffee may help burn off more calories while exercising.

While some may be reticent to have any food or beverage sitting in their stomachs before hitting the gym or going on a run, a recent study found that drinking coffee before working out may help boost the body's ability to burn calories.

These findings, which were published last month in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise, determined that athletes who ingested caffeine before their workouts exhibited a 15 percent increase in calories burned following exercise. While this particular study involved subjects drinking what was tantamount to a 12-ounce cup of coffee, other researchers have found that just half of that amount can help to improve blood flow and circulation. Additional studies have linked other benefits to coffee intake, such as stronger memory support and reduced levels of post-exercise aches and pains.

Dietician and YMCA exercise instructor Diane Lancaster told TWC News, a local Charlotte, North Carolina, affiliate, that while she can see the health advantages of drinking coffee in conjunction with exercise, it's also important not to overdo it.

"So I do think it can help some. I don't think it's the key to losing weight and having the best workout ever. But it definitely can help some people have a better focus, workout and intensity," Lancaster told the source. "I think the typical American just wants to take something like this and make it extreme and then say, 'Well, if I have twice as much as they're recommending then I'm going to have twice as good a workout.'"

In addition to a cup of coffee, Lancaster also recommends drinking plenty of water and a breakfast worth 200 to 300 calories (400 at most) approximately an hour before working out.

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