Is Coconut Water Before Workout Good? (4 Things to Know)

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico | Co-Founder & Marketing Director
Last updated: November 24, 2023
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As a fitness trainer, I often peruse online forums to see what's new in the fitness world, and I've learned from numerous posts that many athletes drink coconut water before working out.

So, I set aside a few days to research and discuss the topic with our dietitian at Total Shape and see if coconut water could be a good pre-workout drink to give my clients more energy and strength while working out.

I compiled all my findings in this article, so continue reading to discover if coconut water can be an effective pre-workout drink.

Quick Summary

  • Coconut water is a great pre-workout drink because it is packed with electrolytes such as calcium, manganese, and magnesium, which contribute to energy production when working out.
  • People who take coconut water not only get increased energy levels, but also get carbohydrates for increased stamina, and vitality.
  • Coconut water also protects the cells against inflammation, and lowers the blood sugar levels.

Is Coconut Water a Good Pre-Workout?

A bottle of coconut water

Coconut water might be good for pre-workout because it has many B vitamins like riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and pantothenic acid, which contribute to energy production during an intense workout [1].

Furthermore, coconut juice is high in nutrients and electrolytes, such as sodium, calcium, and magnesium, which help prevent muscle cramps, allowing you to exercise longer [2].

Many athletes I know who are living in tropical countries drink coconut water rather than manufactured sports beverages because of the natural weight loss benefits they claim they get from drinking it.

However, it may not provide the other nutrients needed to enhance focus and endurance. Given this, I usually advise my clients to take multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements to improve overall performance.

How Does It Work as a Sports Drink?

Coconut water makes pre-workout taste better and works as a sports energy drink by hydrating the body and supplying the minerals and natural carbohydrates required for increased vitality and stamina while working out.

Some sports drinks have carbs like high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and dextrose, while others have low-calorie sweeteners that give them flavor.

Coconut water is naturally sweet and can help you get energized before a workout. It is low in calories and has a low glycemic index, which is why it won't spike your blood sugar levels [3].

“It [coconut water] has about 40 to 60 calories in 8 ounces — about 1/2 that of orange juice. If you enjoy the taste, it can be part of a healthy diet.”

- Maxine Smith, Registered Dietician

In addition, a study conducted in 2012 concluded that coconut water had similar effects on rehydrating and improving performance as other sports beverages [4].

When mixed with an all-natural protein powder, it can be a better organic pre-workout drink than sports drinks because of the healthy source of nutrients and natural electrolytes.

Other Coconut Water Benefits

Drinking fresh coconut water

Consuming coconut water benefits health by lowering blood sugar levels and protecting cells against inflammation due to its antioxidant properties.

It has also been shown to help prevent kidney stones due to the hydrating effects it has on the body [5].

According to research, coconut water drinks without added sugars can reduce glucose levels in the blood and help people with diabetes better control their condition over time [6] [7].

Furthermore, coconut juice contains significant levels of antioxidants that strengthen the body's ability to fight off free radicals, thus improving the body's overall health [8].

Risks of Drinking Too Much

Drinking too much coconut water may pose risks, such as having high potassium levels in the blood, known medically as hyperkalemia.

According to research, the normal range for potassium levels in the blood is between 3.5 and 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/l). When levels go above 5.5, it is considered hyperkalemia [9].

Hyperkalemia can lead to high blood pressure, paralysis of the muscles, and kidney disease, which is why talking to a healthcare professional is important before taking any pre-workouts [10].


Should I Drink Coconut Water Before or After Working Out?

You should drink coconut water after working out because your body requires rehydration and replenishment of lost minerals to aid muscle recovery.

Nonetheless, drinking coconut water before working out may prove to be equally as important as taking it at any time around your sweat session.

How Much Coconut Water Should I Drink Before a Workout?

You should drink 500 mL of coconut water before a workout to get at least 20 percent of your daily potassium requirements.

You can take it on an empty stomach to maintain fluid balance in body cells and prevent muscle spasms during exercise.


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