by Amanda Russell

If you type this question into Google, you will come up with thousands of articles and discussions about what the answer is, however, when you start reading them, one thing becomes obvious, many of the articles have conflicting opinions, and very few are backed with valid evidence, so what can we conclude?

I was curious about this myself, and so I started digging a little deeper, I wanted to know if there was a true answer with facts to back it up. I reached out to a French medical doctor, scientist and biotech entrepreneur, Jean-Loup, who is also a marathon lover having run 8 marathons and 3 time Boston. There is no question this was the person who could help me get to the bottom of this.

Together we decided to tackle this question.
Jean-Loup was able to track down some of the best evidence from the scientific literature and after synthesizing it together, we found one thing to be clear: The scientific research confirms that people do actually burn more fat when exercise is done before breakfast in the morning rather than later during the day. How? Well, when we wake up our levels glycogen (carbohydrates storage) in our muscles are normally very low, we are in the perfect condition to burn fat instead of carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates, or glycogen, are our body's primary and preferred source of energy. When they're low, our body will tap into our secondary energy reserve, which is our body fat.

But, the benefits of exercising early morning before breakfast go further than just being in a higher fat burning zone, the research clearly shows that for young healthy adult, it will also increase our resistance to insulin helping us to stay away from type 2 diabetes. In other words, exercising before breakfast (on an empty stomach) will make us use fat as the main source of energy, increasing our fat catabolism and global fat turnover AND doing so we will reduce our risk of getting type 2 diabetes. This evidence alone is a great motivation to exercise early in the day even if the fat will get renewed later in the day to restore our energy reserve. That is good news to stay healthy and away from diabetes but to lose weight, exercise has still to be combined with appropriate nutrition.

I can also argue a host of other reasons why morning exercise is preferable. First of all, if you exercise in the morning, it is done for the day, and you don’t have to worry about fitting it in, or risk having other things cut into your time. But even more than that, I believe there is no better way to start your day, the positive effects on mood and energy is simply amazing, I actually find myself more alert and focused on the days I get an early morning sweat session in. And, would you believe that morning exercise helps spike your metabolism for the day and even regulates your appetite? It’s true!
Of course, if you just can’t get into the idea of waking early to exercise, it’s better to exercise later in the day than not at all, but if you are wondering if there really is a ‘best’ time to do it, there is no question: early morning before breakfast it is! Sorry to all you night owls!

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