When it comes to keeping fit, early risers may decide a morning workout rather than evening exercise suits their work schedule. However, if you are waking up early for an extra metabolic kick, you may be disappointed.
Working out in the morning does not burn more calories than exercising later in the day. This does not mean that you should skip a morning workout. The willingness, or convenience of a morning workout can help you stay consistent with your fitness program and burn more calories. And the only danger of working out on an empty stomach is that you may over-eat after your workout.
Morning exercise does not burn more calories than exercising in the evening. It does, however, leave you free for the day and feeling righteous that you did something good for yourself.
Calories and Fat
When it comes to exercise, burning fat and calories are often used interchangeably, but they're different. When you exercise, your body burns the calories you consume from food and the fat stored in your body to sustain energy during the workout and recovery.
How much fat or calories you burn depends on the amount of food you have eaten and the duration of the exercise, according to the Mayo Clinic. For instance, if you exercise in a fasted state, your body would use your fat storage as fuel. Eventually, you burn through muscle sustain your energy level if you workout intensely on an empty stomach.
The Breakfast Question
There's been a lot of research into whether working out in the morning in a "fasted state" is beneficial. The American Council on Exercise determined that it could be a short-term solution if you're trying to lose weight.
Getting out of bed and heading to the gym without something on your stomach ensures that the calories you burn come from fat. Unfortunately, your body could also burn calories from the protein in your system. And that's bad because protein is needed for rebuilding muscle.
The most important takeaway is that your body will adapt to this new routine. And stick there. It's important to change up the time of day you work out and when you consume food if you want to move toward a specific weight-loss or strength-gain goal.
Best Time to Work Out
The best time of day to burn calories through exercise depends on your personal circumstances. If you are more willing to exercise in the morning, you are more likely to burn more calories.
Factors such as cooler weather in the morning than later in the day or having more energy in the morning can increase your likelihood of exercising more vigorously. And research has shown that vigorous exercise, such as high-intensity interval training, leads to more calories burned during and after a workout.
How to Eat
Whether you exercise in the morning or not, preparing your body for exercise can help you burn more calories. Give your body time to digest and absorb the food you have eaten. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends eating no more than 35 percent protein from calories every day.
If you are working out in the morning right after you wake up, choose a carb-heavy, low-fat breakfast of about 300 calories, such as a whole-grain bagel with natural peanut butter or a fruit smoothie, at least an hour before you exercise.