Cycling for weight loss: What Everybody Ought to Know About Cycling and Coffee

Cycling for weight loss: What Everybody Ought to Know About Cycling and Coffee

Caffeine is so effective that its consumption is limited by the UCI

Get RIDE to 75

By Clint Latham – Get Free updates of new posts here

Peanut butter and jelly, ketchup and mustard, Cycling and Coffee. Things that just seem to go together. One of the great benefits of joining the cycling community is sitting down at your local cafe for your pre or post ride coffee. This coffee ritual might have a greater impact on your weight loss goals then you might realize.

world governing body for sports cycling

Caffeine appeared to have such an affect on performance enhancement that in 2012 the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) placed it on its banned substances list. Professional cyclists every where were in a deep time of mourning as the pre-race espresso ritual was now being taken away from them. The UCI have sense lifted the ban but have placed restrictions on the amount of caffeine that a racer can consume.

Caffeine prohibited when its concentration in urine is greater than 5 micrograms per milliliter.”

Rice University study

Glycogen is the primary fuel source for your muscles, but its amounts are limited. The secondary fuel source, which is more abundantly available, is fat. As long as you still have glycogen available your body can continue to utilize fat as a fuel source.

Chris Froome in the lab Photo Credit:

The research scientists at Rice university found that caffeine had increased affect on fat mobilization; while also decreasing the use of glycogen during the first 15 mins of exercise. This allowed the athletes in the study to increase the duration of their exercise before they had depleted their glycogen stores. The amount of glycogen that was spared during those first 15 minutes of exercise was up to 50%. They found this by testing the athletes glycogen levels on and off caffeine. Every time the athletes consumed caffeine prior to exercise, glycogen sparing occurred.

Your pre-ride coffee will help you to burn more fat and increase the length of your ride!

Affects on EPOC

When we Ride to 75 we are riding to optimize fat loss during and after our ride through the effects of EPOC. The European Journal of Applied physiology performed a study, (The effects of intensity of exercise on excess postexercise oxygen consumption and energy expenditure in moderately trained men and women.) to exam the fat burning affects of EPOC with and without caffeine consumption. What they found was pretty amazing.

“During the hour post exercise, oxygen consumption in CAF1 and CAF2 remained significantly higher than in CON (Control group). At all times throughout the exercise, free fatty acid (FFA) concentrations were significantly higher in the caffeine trials than in CON. The FFA concentrations 1 h post exercise (+ 60 min) were further elevated above resting values for all three trials.”

Not only will caffeine help to promote the offset of glycogen consumption and increase fat use during your ride; it also increases the effects of EPOC. Caffeine helps you to become a fat burning machine! This is also why it is a key ingredient in most major fat burning supplements.

Social Aspect of coffee
Cafe Etiquette Photo Credit:

If the fat burning affects of caffeine weren’t enough the social aspects of the pre-ride coffee are just as important. Studies have shown that when a person has the obligation of meeting up with a workout partner they are much more likely to go and not skip the workout. Therefor if part of your motivation to ride is the social aspect of the pre or post ride coffee, there’s no reason not to make a coffee stop a part of your cycling ritual.

Furthermore; when buying coffee from a local craft coffee shop the coffee is typically “fresher”. Fresher in the craft coffee market is determined to be coffee that is no older than 2 to 4 weeks from its roasting date. Caffeine is a drug; so the ‘fresher’ the coffee the more potent the caffeine will be. As coffee sits on the shelf and begins to stale the potency of the caffeine will also decrease. Decreasing its fat burning affects.

Thus to get the full affects of that next cup of joe, make sure its fresh. And yet another reason to stop visiting the Green Mermaid and support your local coffee roaster. Looking to find a craft coffee roaster in your neighborhood? Visit and in the search box enter your city or state to find the best speciality coffee shops near you.


The take away

A pre-ride coffee is a great way to increase your fat burning potential and turn cycling into a social event. Find your local cafe grab a cup, a couple of friends and pedal your way to better health.

Leave me a comment below and tell me what  your favorite pre-ride coffee or coffee shops are?

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  1. I’ve been drinking coffee for quite a while and it has seemed to lose its affect. Will I still reap the benefits?

    1. Author

      Hello Samantha, great question. The body is great at adapting to environmental changes. But given that pro cyclists ride that limit of 5 micrograms of caffeine I and they still find it effective enough to continue to consume it. I would guess that even though you don’t quite feel the mental affects as much the physiological affects are still there. You could also try small batch roasted coffee from a local roaster. As the coffee will be ‘fresher’ and more potent.

      Hope that helps.

  2. Just remember: If your target is purely weight loss, changes in nutrition is A&O.

    1. Author

      Thanks for the comment S. I also wasn’t sure of the correct use. According to ‘In everyday speech, affect is a verb. It means to influence something’ Here we are using coffee to influence our fat burning potential. Caffeine’s affect on the use of FFA’s.

    2. I aprcpeiate you taking to time to contribute That’s very helpful.

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