Why Exercising in the Morning Burns More Fat

List: Posted: 09/06/11

If your goal is weight loss, you've probably read one too many articles informing you about proper nutrition and exercise.  Here's another, because it's important to understand your body and food in order to get maximum results. 


Timing your exercise routine at home or at the gym may seem inconsequential, but you can actually lose more weight if you exercise in the morning.  I'll explain why.


How Your Body Stores Fat


Typically, the goal of a fitness routine is to lower fat levels, so let's do a quick overview of the body to understand how fat loss works.

Calories are measurements of energy in food.  25 grams of carbs = 25 grams of proteins = 11 grams of fat = 100 calories = 1 mile to burn.  It's that simple.  If you eat 100 calories, you need to walk or run a mile to burn it off.  You probably know that after you swallow your food, it's digested in the stomach and then the elements of fat, protein, carbs and minerals are separated out in your small intestine where it is absorbed.  The nutrients are then broken down into molecular levels where they enter to bloodstream as glycogen and used by cells for energy.

Your blood stores glycogen constantly so that your cells can have easy access to energy in case you need it.  You have about a day's worth of calories in your blood, about 2,000 calories, or 20 miles of running.  Don't believe me?  Try running for 20 miles right now and you'll see that after about 20 miles you'll 'hit a wall' and feel more tired than you've ever felt in your life.


What happens after your glycogen stores are out?  Besides getting tired, your body starts using the stored fat.  It takes a while to burn the fat in order to be accessible by your cells, so your energy levels are not as strong as with glycogen.


The Illusion of Fat-Free Energy


Have you ever eaten candy and gotten a 'sugar-high'?  What happens is that your body can easily process simple carbs, like sugars, and make them almost instantly available in the bloodstream, which gives you a jolt of energy.  However, it doesn't last long and you become tired shortly after.


Runners use this to their advantage when they exercise by eating complex carbs that burn slowly for constant energy.  This is why it's more effective to exercise in the morning! 


How does morning exercise burn fat?  When we sleep, we don't eat.  When we don't eat, our body uses energy from glycogen in our blood.  After waking up, your glycogen is depleted and we need to refuel with carbs, proteins and fats.  This is the reason why breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day. 


If we exercise without eating though, our body won't have any glycogen to use and will straight away start to turn our fat into energy.  As soon as you eat something in the morning, guess what?  Your body will stop burning fat, and start using the 'new' food as instant energy.

Lift Your Metabolism


Another benefit to exercising in the morning is that your body goes into a high metabolic rate.  Studies have shown that when you exercise, your body burns calories much faster throughout the day.  If you exercise right before going to bed, you're not taking advantage of this increased metabolism.  With morning exercise, your body will be working even while sitting at work! 


Incredible?  I know!  So begin by waking up tomorrow, take a walk or jog before having breakfast, and work out first thing to ensure a better and healthier workout.

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