Those early birds who hit the gym at 6 a.m. may be onto something. People who exercise in the morning lose more weight than people who do the same workout in the afternoon, finds a new study.
Previous research shows that morning workouts can be more beneficial for heart health, metabolic function, and hormone response than afternoon workouts. If you’re intermittent fasting, exercising in the AM means you get the bonus fat-burning benefits of fasted exercise.
Fat-burning in the morning
As part of the new study, overweight, sedentary women and men worked out five days a week at a lab, over a period of ten months. They could exercise at any time they wished between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The researchers tracked the participants’ calorie intake and how much they moved on a daily basis using activity trackers.
They found that the people who typically exercised between 7 a.m. and noon lost more weight, on average, than those who usually worked out after 3 p.m. It’s not entirely clear why the early exercisers dropped more pounds, although they did tend to clock more steps throughout the day than those who worked out later. They also tended to eat roughly 100 calories less per day.
It’s important to note that the people who worked out later still lost weight, so don’t sweat it if you can’t get to the gym in the morning.
Whenever you choose to exercise, follow these tips to get the most out of your workout:
- Get the right fuel: Food impacts your progress in the gym. The wrong workout meals will prevent you from losing fat, while the best workout meals will help you burn fat and repair muscle. Learn about the best pre- and post-workout meals here.
- Listen to your body: Adjust the intensity of your workouts accordingly. Your body isn’t a machine and it needs recovery time, whether you’re an athlete or not. If you’re feeling tired, sore, or stressed, you could be doing your body more harm than good if you push it too hard at the gym. Learn more with this What Workout Should I Do? flow chart.
Ready to start sweating? Download the Bulletproof Exercise Roadmap to help you figure out the best way to move (includes sample routines).
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