With the hectic, fast-paced lifestyle that many Americans live, oftentimes our conversations around exercise get stuck on where we can sneak in 10 minutes of physical activity between work and errands. While regular physical activity throughout the day is of course important to our overall health and well-being, when it comes to exercising for weight loss two things may be more of a factor than we ever imagined: Making the time and timing it right.
According to some recent studies, the time of day that you engage in exercise may actually help us maximize the effectiveness of our workouts. A 2010 study of 28 healthy adult men found that despite increasing the amount of calories and the amount of fat they consumed, the group that exercised first thing in the morning prior to eating breakfast managed to avoid any weight gain, in comparison to the group of men who consumed the same amount of fat and calories but who worked out after breakfast.
While it is a small and short-term study, the findings were very interesting in that they supported the idea that timing one’s workout to occur after a long period of fasting (or first thing in the morning) will support more rapid weight loss. The idea behind this is that your body will be geared toward burning your stored fat reserves, as opposed to utilizing its energy toward burning off the food you just ate.
Now, if you are like many, the idea of waking up one to two hours earlier to exercise may not sound appealing. But if you want to give it a shot to make the most of your workout, there are some simple things you can do to help you be a little bit more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed before a refreshing morning workout:
1. Go to sleep earlier: Easier said than done for many, but early to bed, early to rise!
2. Find a morning workout buddy: A friend can make drudging out in the morning a little bit more fun, plus you’ll have the pressure/motivation of knowing someone is waiting on you.
3. Set up your morning the night before: Before going to bed, set your coffee pot to brew when your alarm clock goes off (smell that caffeine!), lay out your gym clothes for a quick change, and have a pre-made pre-exercise snack ready to go. Once you convince yourself to get out of bed, you can be ready for the gym and out the door in 10 minutes or less, making it feel less like a drag.
Changing up your workout schedule may seem difficult at first, but after a few weeks of commitment and consistency, you may start to appreciate the benefits, not only for weight loss, but also with being able to start your morning off on a productive note. A morning workout can help to set the tone for the rest of the day, and you may find that it can support you in flourishing throughout many aspects of your work and personal life. Give it a try and let us know on Facebook what the difference has been in your mood and your health!