Timing Your Workouts
Researchers at the Universities of Bath and Birmingham conducted a six-week study with 30 obese or overweight men and scheduled their workouts before or after breakfast. Results showed that the men who exercised before breakfast burned twice as much fat as those who worked out afterward. One study leader, Javier Gonzalez, Ph.D., of the University of Bath, said the pre-breakfast workouts dramatically improved the men’s overall health. “The group who exercised before breakfast increased their ability to respond to insulin, which is all the more remarkable given that both exercise groups lost a similar amount of weight and both gained a similar amount of fitness. The only difference was the timing of the food intake,” Dr. Gonzalez reported. The team now plans to look at the longer-term effects of this type of exercise and whether women benefit the same way as men.
My take? The scientific consensus on this subject appears to be that “first thing in the morning” is the best time to work out, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Exercising before breakfast burns fat much more effectively than it does later when you have food in your stomach. Early in the morning your blood sugar levels and carbohydrate stores are low because of your overnight fast. Rigorous walking or weight training at that time prompts your body to draw on stored fat to meet the caloric demands of exercise. If a morning workout doesn’t fit with your daily schedule, wait until two to three hours after a meal.
Javier Gonzalez et al, “Understanding the Influence of Pre-Exercise Nutrition on Post Prandial Carbohydrate Metabolism and Energy Balance; Can Exercise in the Fasted State Unlock Metabolic Health Benefits for Overweight and Obese Individuals.” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. October 18, 2019.
More from this week’s bulletin:
- Your Finances & Your Heart Health
- Why Children Should Eat Fish
- A Fall Favorite: Autumn Ingredient Salad
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