Combining Caffeine and Exercise: Is It Healthy?

Combining Caffeine and Exercise: Is It Healthy?

Caffeine is the most popular psychoactive substance in the world.1 And for good reason: It provides an easy energy boost with minimal side effects. 

But while most take caffeine just to power through their day, it’s also been studied extensively as an ergogenic aid. Athletes at the highest level are known to use it, including Olympians.2

Here, we’ll break down what the research says about the effect of caffeine on exercise. 

How Caffeine Boosts Performance

Caffeine provides energy by blocking adenosine receptors.3 These neurotransmitters play a key role in telling your body when you’re tired. This makes it possible for some to exercise at a greater output and for longer.4

While some believe caffeine can cause dehydration or an ion imbalance, there is little evidence for this. In general, there are few proven adverse effects of caffeine when taken at a safe dosage, which is under 400 mg per day.4 

Who Can Benefit From Caffeine?

When it comes to hydration and energy, water is king. But if you’re going to work out longer than 45 minutes, plain water isn’t enough.5 You need to supplement with electrolytes and other safe energy stimulants. 

Studies show that caffeine, especially, helps during activities where prolonged energy metabolism is required, such as:

  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • High intensity interval training
  • Competitive sports

While it can help support cellular energy for weightlifters, caffeine’s effect on strength isn’t well-established.*4

What is the Best Way to Take Caffeine for Exercise?

A common time to take caffeine before exercise is 1-2 hours before your workout. That gives your body enough time to process your intake. (After your workout, make sure you drink at least 24 ounces of water for recovery.5)

When it comes to exercise and caffeine, individuals should determine responsible usage by monitoring how caffeine affects sleep, digestion, and feelings of jitteriness.

While caffeine is safe for most adults, some forms are better than others. The USADA does not recommend energy drinks for athletes.2 Powdered caffeine has been cautioned against generally due to its high potency.6

An Easy Way to Fuel

There are better ways to boost your workout with caffeine. Zhou recently introduced Hydro-Fuel+ Gummies, which delivers:

  • 75 milligrams of caffeine
  • Advanced electrolyte complex
  • Energy + focus support*

…all in a tasty gummy—no shaker bottle required.

The science is in: Caffeine, taken the right way, can be a safe and powerful ergogenic aid for fitness enthusiasts.*

Follow @zhou_nutrition for more fitness and wellness tips!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


  1. Daly, J.W. et al: Is caffeine addictive? National Institutes of Health, 1998.
  2. USADA. Substance Profile: Caffeine. United States Anti-Doping Agency, 2021.
  3. Jones, Gareth: Caffeine and other sympathomimetic stimulants: modes of action and effects on sports performance. National Library of Medicine, 2008.
  4. Graham, T.E.: Caffeine and exercise: metabolism, endurance and performance. National Library of Medicine, 2001.
  5. Hopkins Medicine: Sports and Hydration for Athletes: Q&A with a Dietician. John Hopkins University, 2024.
  6. Mayo Clinic Staff. Caffeine: How much is too much? Mayo Clinic, 2022.