There seems to be much debate on whether exercising before a meal or after a meal is better for you. According to a New York Times article, a study published by The Journal of Physiology found that working out before breakfast has the most significant impact on weight loss. Three different groups were studied for the experiment: 28 healthy, active men were recruited and given a diet of 50 percent more fat and calories than their usual diet. Each group consumed equal amounts of food. One group did not exercise at all, while the other two groups exercised heavily. Their exercise routines were identical. The only difference: one group worked out before breakfast while the other group exercised after breakfast.
At the end of the six-week study, the non-exercise group gained an average of six pounds and developed insulin resistance. The men who ate breakfast before exercising also gained weight, but only about three pounds. They also had developed some level of insulin-resistance. Only the group who exercised before breakfast gained almost no weight at all and developed no indication of insulin-resistance.
The study reported that, “Exercising in a fasted state (usually possible only before breakfast) coaxes the body to burn a greater percentage of fat for fuel during vigorous exercise, instead of relying primarily on carbohydrates. When you burn fat, you obviously don’t store it in your muscles.”
I have to admit that I’m not exercising as much or as regularly as I was a few years ago when I was at my thinnest weight since college. At that time, I was doing an hour of exercise six days a week in the mornings before work. I usually ate a banana or a protein bar before my workout. Otherwise, I ate breakfast after my workout. I’m not sure why I have such a hard time getting up early enough in the mornings to workout. I’m not a morning person, but once I’m out of bed it doesn’t take me long to wake up and get moving. It’s just the getting up out of a cozy, warm bed that’s the hard part. But hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock for 45 minutes every morning isn’t particularly a restful sleep. In the 45 minutes I’m lying in bed being lazy, I could be finished with a decent workout.
Do you workout in the mornings? If so, is it routine to eat breakfast before or after your exercise?
Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!
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