As research proves it, a morning workout might be more effective for torching those calories! The research has been covered by Gretchen Reynolds of New York Times and suggests that working out before having eaten a breakfast can speed weight loss and keep the body primed for burning higher levels of fats all day long.
A Look At The Research
Belgian researchers conducted a 6 week study on 28 young healthy men in 2010. They divided the men into 3 groups. All men were given a diet with 30% more calories and 50% more fat than their regular diet. Group 1 was assigned no workouts. Group 2 began a balanced workout mid-morning post a hearty breakfast. And Group 3 was put through the same workout early in the morning before breakfast. As can be expected, at the end of 6 weeks, the results looked like this:
Group 1 – all the men gained weight, minimum 6 pounds each, and also developed insulin resistance from their unhealthy lifestyle
Group 2 – the average weight gain was 3 pounds and quite a few developed insulin resistance despite their mid-day workouts
Group 3 – none of the men gained weight and retained healthy insulin levels. Despite a supersized diet, they were also burning more fat all throughout the day.
“We demonstrated…that early-morning exercise in the fasted state is more potent than an identical amount of exercise in the fed state for maintaining healthy waistlines,’ Peter Hespel, a professor in the Research Center for Exercise and Health at Catholic University Leuven in Belgium and the study author told the New York Times.
What Does This Mean For You?
As can be inferred from the research report, a strenuous workout alone isn’t enough to lose weight. Yes, Group 3 maintained their weight and healthy insulin levels despite eating far more calories and fat every day. But your goal here is to lose weight. So, the ideal scenario for people looking to lose weight happens to be —- Make healthy alterations in your diet to cut back on caloric intake and prefer to work out in the mornings before breakfast.
Why this will work? Early morning workouts force your body to tap into stored fat reserves for fuel. For those who workout post a meal, muscle glycogen is readily available to be burned for energy during a workout, so the body doesn’t have to burn off the excess stored fat; until and unless your workout is so strenuous and long that all muscle glycogen has been depleted.
This study provided one of the first evidence that an early morning workout in fasting stage is better for weight loss as compared to identical amount of exercise some time later in the day after a meal.
Is There More To It?
Some health experts have also pointed out that healthy lifestyle habits contribute largely towards our health, and hence, towards maintaining a healthier weight. Early morning workouts require an individual to follow a more strict bed time- waking up time schedule. Aligning our internal clocks with the natural world creates healthier circadian rhythms and helps give our metabolism a much needed boost, so we are burning fat throughout the day and not only while exercising. And that is probably also the reason your grandfather was so particular about his early morning walks and never quite enjoyed an evening stroll as much!
So the next time you want to hit the snooze, remember that an early morning workout will not only help you meet your weight loss goals, it could also kick-start the day on the right note to give you a lot more energy and fat burning capabilities throughout the day.