Assuming you're not dehydrated, coffee—and not water—is the best beverage to have before your workout, your game, or your race. It may even help save your life . . . But we're skipping ahead.
This whole coffee-before-a-workout concept may not be new to you. Scientists, trainers, and athletes (and, of course, energy-bar-makers) have long known—and proven—that a sugar-free caffeine jolt is a ticker-safe way to boost endurance and even improve accuracy. (Back in the eighties, Michael Jordan was famous for having a strong cuppa joe, often with a saucer, on his ride to the arena.)
Abiding by this java-plus-gym cocktail may do more than increase your performance—it may actually stave off skin cancer. Scientists at Rutgers University reported last month that in a recent study, mice that had caffeine before they hit wheel were far less likely to develop melanomas than caffeine-free mice.
This (very) new study is hardly a reason to ditch the sunscreen, but if you do down an espresso before you sweat, you'll not only go harder, faster, and farther, but you might very well outrun the Reaper a little longer.
We can all drink to that.
—Mike Dawson is a magazine writer and editor and a regular contributor to Details.