Coffee is the original pre-workout elixir, thanks to a number of natural stimulants including caffeine, theobromine, theophylline, and chlorogenic acid. That hyperdrive feeling you get is caused by caffeine stimulating the release and activity of adrenaline, a stress hormone that triggers temporary superpowers so you can fight, run from danger, or, for our purposes, crush a training session.
According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, subjects did more squats when they drank coffee or took caffeine plus decaf coffee, compared to being given caffeine tablets, decaf coffee, or a placebo.
“Caffeine can improve exercise performance whether it is consumed before, spread throughout, or taken late in exercise when fatigue is increasing,” says Carwyn Sharp PhD, Chief Science Officer for the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
But with so many different ways to brew and savor your cup of Joe, we wondered: Which method best helps you break your personal records at the gym? According to Edwin Parnell, Director of Coffee for Black Rifle Coffee Company and a former Green Beret in the U.S. Army's Special Forces, the answer is, hands down, the coldest, slowest method out there.
“Cold brew’s immersion method delivers a bold coffee concentrate that’s uber caffeinated and 50 percent less acidic, with a two-week shelf life,” Parnell says. You’ll use time, not heat, to extract the caffeine by steeping coffee grounds in cool water for 12 to 24 hours, depending on your taste preference. Simply dilute the coffee extract with cold water or drink it straight. Then buckle up and hold on.
Here's Parnell's method: