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Cooking with Coffee for Preworkout Energy

For millions of Australians, waking up with a cup of coffee is the only way to start the day — even more so for those among us who are early-morning gymgoers. The great news is that research published in the journal Circulation reported that drinking 1-3 cups of coffee a day was associated with supporting cardiovascular health when compared to drinking no coffee. Because coffee hails from the seed of a fruit and contains a smorgasbord of healthy plant compounds that have antioxidant powers, even more benefit may be associated with drinking 3-5 cups a day!

With so much potential coming from coffee, why should we limit it to just a drink? Below are our top 3 coffee-food recipes for awesome pre-workout energy.

  1. Protein Coffee Pancakes

These healthy, java-infused pancakes are ideal for a lazy weekend morning before hitting the gym.


  • Oat or spelt flour: 3/4 cup
  • Cocoa powder: 2 tbsp
  • Cinnamon: 1 tsp
  • Baking powder: 1 tsp
  • Vanilla protein powder: 1/4 cup
  • Large egg: 1
  • Strongly brewed coffee (cooled to room temperature): 3/4 cup
  • Banana, mashed: 1/2 medium
  • Hazelnuts, chopped: 2 tbsp
  • Coconut oil: 2 tsp (for oiling the frying pan)
  • Raspberries: 1 cup (for topping)


In a large bowl, stir together the flour, protein powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and coffee before stirring in the mashed banana and nuts.

Gently mix the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and let the batter rest 15 minutes before cooking for 2 mins each side. Top with raspberries and sugar-free maple syrup.

  1. Espresso Energy Balls

Perfect for those who are always in a rush, these pre-workout energy balls can be made in bulk to last a week, and are great example of how good healthy coffee desserts can be.


  • Finely ground coffee: 1 tbsp
  • Almonds: 1/2 cup
  • Rolled oats: 3/4 cups
  • Sultanas: 1 cup
  • Dried unsweetened coconut: 1/3 cup
  • Almond butter: 2 tbsp
  • Cocoa powder: 3 tbsp
  • Chia seeds: 2 tbsp
  • Lemon zest: 2 tsp
  • Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
  • Protein powder: 2 scoops (optional)


Place the ground coffee in a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons boiled water, and stir to dissolve. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Place the nuts and oats in a food processor, and blend until pulverised. Add the dissolved coffee and remaining ingredients until the mixture clumps together.

Form into 2.5cm balls (yield should be about 20 balls) and refrigerate until consumption.

  1. Coffee & Fig Sauce

Not only does this sauce enhance any coffee dessert, but it can be used as a topping on yoghurt, oatmeal, ice cream, or cottage cheese.


  • Strongly brewed coffee: 1.25 cups
  • Dried figs (quartered with stems removed): 15
  • Honey (or sugarfree maple syrup): 2 tbsp
  • Star anise: 1 whole
  • Orange zest: 2 tsp
  • Cinnamon: 1/2 tsp
  • Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
  • Cacao nibs (optional): 3 tbsp


Combine the coffee, figs, honey (or maple syrup), star anise, orange zest, and cinnamon in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes (covered).

With a slotted spoon or small sieve, remove the figs and star anise from the pan. Keep the figs on the side, but discard the star anise.

Simmer the liquid over medium heat (uncovered) until reduced into a syrup.

Return the figs to the pan, and stir through with vanilla extract and cacao nibs (if using). Remove from heat and let cool before using.

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