Let’s get one thing straight, any exercise you do, whatever time of the day will be beneficial for you.
We should all be doing some form of physical activity every day, whether it’s walking to work, going up flights of stairs, hitting the gym or playing sports.
However, if your goals are targeted towards weight loss, the time you choose to exercise can have an important effect on achieving your fitness goals.
In my experience, I get the best results for fat loss when I exercise in the morning before breakfast on an empty stomach, for two reasons:
1. Higher percentage of fat is used as energy
Upon waking up in the morning, you are already in a fasted state, which means your body has digested the food from the night before. This is the time we usually eat breakfast to fill us up again and provide us with energy for the day.
If you choose to exercise before eating breakfast, your major energy source will be from fat stores, due to lower levels of glycogen in the body from fasting when we sleep. Glycogen is the sugar from carbohydrates that releases into our body after eating a meal, it stores in the liver, muscles and blood stream.
Performing a moderate intensity cardio workout on an empty stomach, will burn a higher percentage of fat, more so than when you eat before a workout.
Exercising after a meal means you’re primarily using glycogen as your energy source, as opposed to fat stored in your body when fasted.
Please note, if you are an athlete or an advanced body builder, training on an empty stomach will probably not elicit the most optimal performance, if that is your goal.
2. Exercise for the day is completed
When I exercise first thing in the morning, I feel physically and mentally energized, and find that I become more productive throughout the day. It also ensures that a session is already completed, burning calories to push you towards your weight loss goal and comforted to know you can relax for the remainder of the day.
If you are a beginner and wanting to start an exercise program to help lose weight, performing moderate cardio exercise first thing in the morning will produce the best results. This type of activity will burn the most calories. Activities such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, light circuit training and boxing provide suitable options.
A 30-60 minute brisk walk, 15-30 minute jog, hills setting on a stationary bike, walking up stairs, boxing drills with gloves or shadow boxing and bodyweight circuits (including squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, all performed in a row).
Start off with easy exercises/physical activities to build your fitness level (E.g. Bodyweight exercises before weight lifting). Then, slowly start to modify your exercises by making them more vigorous or by increasing the duration of the exercise. When you combine these two elements, you will start seeing some promising results and a reduced waistline.
However, remember at the end of the day, weight loss occurs when the body burns more calories, than the amount of calories going into the body. So, it is equally important that there is a balance between exercise and the food you put into your body.
Everyone has a busy schedule these days, which can make finding the time to exercise a challenge. Some may prefer to get up early in the morning and get those endorphins pumping in order to feel more energized to tackle the day ahead. But, if you’re not a morning person, you may prefer to exercise in the afternoon or at night after work.
So give it a go, rise up early, get that espresso shot of coffee in and exercise. I guarantee you will feel amazing after it!