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Everyone knows the benefits of working out to overall health. However, some wonder or even argue on the best time to work out. Some people prefer to work out in the morning, while some do it at night. Some prefer to opt for working out just before they take their first meal of the day.
The best time for exercise may be in the morning, just right before breakfast. A study by researchers in the UK backs this up.
Meal Timing and Its Impact on Response to Exercise
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism published a study that shows exercise done before eating breakfast has two benefits. It tends to burn more fat and normalize blood sugar levels as compared to exercising after a meal.
The researchers explained that fat-burning benefits from having lower insulin levels. People who work out before a meal use energy taken from fat in fat tissues.
Javier Gonzalez, a senior lecturer and reader at the Department for Health at the University of Bath stated that the timing of meals affects exercise. He explained that the timing “can have a profound impact on the responses to exercise”.
Gonzalez has taken part in multiple studies on nutrition and exercise science. One of the studies he took part in compared how pre-exercise breakfast fared against extended overnight fasting. This is about increasing postprandial glucose flux among healthy men.
Fasting and Exercise
Obese or overweight men living in the vicinity of Bath in England were invited to take part in the study. Some were asked to engage in workouts such as cycling while the rest were asked to stick to their sedentary lifestyle.
The men in the exercise group need to have dinner before 8 PM. They were asked to either eat breakfast the next day or to cycle first.
Six weeks passed and those who cycled before breakfast burned two times more fat than those who didn’t. They also showed lower insulin levels as compared to the men who ate their breakfast before exercising.
Gonzales added that maximizing the health benefits of exercise can be done by fasting overnight instead of working out after breakfast. The six weeks of exercise helped the participants to increase their fat usage for energy.
Improved Insulin Levels
Weight loss wasn’t much affected for those who exercised first but their insulin levels improved significantly. This shows how pre-exercise breakfast can help people monitor their blood sugar levels.
Todd Astorino, a professor at the Department of Kinesiology at California State University San Marcos, remarked that the findings can help people with conditions like Type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
Astorino didn’t take part in the research but he praised the study, saying that it is one of the first that showed how exercise reduces insulin levels before any carbohydrate intake. He said that exercise needs to be done in a fasted state to foster an insulin response to a meal.
Tips for Maximizing the Benefits of Exercise
- Make your breakfast healthy.
- Monitor your meal servings.
- Snack on healthy food.
- Keep hydrated by drinking water.
Exercising without maintaining a healthy diet and proper nutrition won’t do much for your health. The amount of exercise needs to be coupled with the right food and timing so you can reap the most health benefits.