Do you burn more fat exercising in the morning than the evening?
This is a question that lots of people ask me. I think I remember reading that morning workouts were best for fat burning back when I was at college in a teen magazine, but the answer is a bit more complicated than yes or no.
If you exercise in the morning on an empty stomach, since you haven’t eaten for 8 hours or more, then you’re not going to have a lot of readily available fuel. This means you’ll tap into stored fat for energy.
However, doing your workout first thing in the morning doesn’t translate into increased fat loss. Weight loss occurs when you’re in negative energy balance over a period of time – generally a week to make a difference on the scales. In the end it comes down to total calories in vs total calories out, regardless of what fuel you’re buring when you exercise.
The downside to exercising on an empty stomach is that you probably won’t be able to exercise as long or as hard as if you’d had a pre-exercise snack. Our muscles prefered fuel is carbohydrates and without a source of carbohydrate available before exercise, it’s likely to feel harder.
If you do want to workout in the morning, have a snack before you do, a banana or smoothie is a good snack to fuel a small morning workout.
Working out in the morning does have the benefit of giving your metabolism a boost first thing, meaning it will be more active for a longer period than if you exercised later in the day. Plus if you exercise in the morning, there are no excuses to avoid it later on.
But, whatever time, whatever place, exercise is beneficial for your health. Don’t worry too much about the time of day, as long as you’re out there moving, you’re doing your body and mind a good thing.