What should you do before you head out for your morning run, swim, bike ride, or other vigorous exercise? One or two cups of coffee. You may already know that coffee is good for you in many ways, including improving your mental focus and delivering antioxidants that may help you ward off diseases. Now it turns out it's a booster for your exercise routine as well.

Here's why coffee is such a good pre-workout drink:

1. You won't be sleepy.

OK, I realize this is stating the obvious. But caffeine isn't a traditional stimulant, instead it blocks neurotransmitters in the brain that promote sleepiness and relaxation.

2. You'll burn fat faster.

Coffee boosts your metabolism which will cause you to burn fat more efficiently. Unfortunately, some research suggests that if you drink coffee very regularly (I do and I bet you do too) that effect diminishes.

3. You'll perform better.

That same metabolism boosting effect can make you run faster or climb higher. Indeed, athletes routinely use it to train hard and longer--and gain a little edge during competitive events.

4. You'll focus better.

You know how coffee helps you focus when you need to lead a meeting or write a document? That same effect can help you keep your mind sharp during your workout. If you're performing a complex aerobic sequence or doing something else that needs sustained attention, coffee is definitely your drink.

5. You won't get as sore.

Surprisingly, research has shown that regular coffee drinkers who partake before they exercise experience less pain from their workouts.

6. You'll have more fun.

And not just because your muscles aren't hurting you. In a fascinating experiment, researchers gave volunteers either coffee or decaf and had them ride a stationary bike. Those with caffeine in theirs systems reported that the ride was way easier than those without it.

So next time you're planning a workout, go ahead and have a cuppa. You'll be happy you did.