Coffee is a world-renowned beverage, spanning a multitude of cultures and countries with over 100 different species. We drink it in the morning to start the day, in the afternoons while lounging, and we’ve even made cakes that taste like coffee!

Some consume coffee so they can enjoy the heightened focus and renewed energy, making their workout routines more productive. But when you’re trying to get healthier and lose a few pounds, does the caffeinated beverage help us shed that excess weight or does it actually make workouts harder?

The Science

All sorts of coffee, from Arabica to Robusta, piping hot to freezing cold, whatever varieties of coffee you get, it can help you on your path to a healthier body. A 1979 study showed male cyclists who had consumed caffeine before a two-hour ride increased their distance by 7% as opposed to cyclists who had no caffeine.

Another study with caffeinated runners showed they increased their endurance by 44%. Increased metabolic rate plus a boost in serotonin and dopamine are just a few more positive health aspects. This could be because of the thermogenesis process inside the body that burns more calories per day, increased due to ingesting caffeine. Coffee has also been known to suppress appetites, possibly helping those who struggle with over-eating and snacking.

The Catch

Before you head over to Starbucks and buy a caramel Frappuccino with extra whipped cream, remember there’s always a catch. Adding creamer or milk to your coffee might make your drink more delicious, but it adds extra calories, fat, and sugar, making all that hard work absolutely pointless.

These add-ins can also make your drink more acidic, wreaking havoc on sensitive stomachs. Basic black coffee is considered the best choice—all coffee and zero calories. If you want low-calorie caffeine but don’t take kindly to the bitterness that usually comes with black coffee, add only a minimum amount of flavoring or opt for hot tea instead.

The Limits

It’s important to know your limits with coffee to prevent jitteriness, high blood pressure, headaches, and other ailments that can hinder your health. Insulin resistance, muscle tremors, and sleep deprivation are some conditions that come with excessive caffeine intake; these can lead to serious health problems down the road if not monitored.

If pre-workouts are part of your daily regimen, take into account how many milligrams of caffeine you’re already drinking. 400 milligrams is the recommended limit for adults, equating to about four cups of coffee. Everyone is different so always be aware of how many cups of coffee you’ve had and listen to your body’s reactions.

There’s certainly a worldwide love for coffee and the refreshing warmth (or chill) it gives. In moderation, coffee can prove to be an aid when it comes to fitness. In excess, the drink can stall your weight loss journey and damage your health. Learning how coffee works with your body lets you know how to incorporate it into your daily life in a safe and healthy way.