Working At this Time Creates The Most Optimal Fat Burn.

For years now I've struggled with finding a way to work out consistently.  I think one of the issues is that I haven't really set aside a dedicated time to exercise on a regular basis.  I've dabbled in working out in the mornings, as an afternoon pick me up, and sometimes at the end of the day.

Thanks to a study published in 2017, I now realize that not all workout times are created equal. It turns out that workouts, when done at a certain time of day, actually have the power to greatly crank up your fat burning abilities.

If you're one of those people who like to leverage your actions to produce even greater results, listen up!

A study was conducted featuring 10 overweight men.  They were put on an exercise program that involved intense walking for an hour at either a fasted or fed state.  Fed, meaning that they ate a meal (a typical breakfast) at least 2 hours prior to working out. Other times, the men were asked to complete their workout on an empty stomach.  They arrived at the study center at around 9:00 am and fasted for at least 12 hours for this experiment.

After measuring the biological responses in the body, the researchers realized there was a huge difference when we engage in fasted exercise.

The most notable shift that occurred is in the type of energy used as fuel for the workout.  Typically, our bodies burn either carbohydrates or fat for energy. Carbs are an easier, more accessible fuel source so our bodies want to burn up carbs first.  And, when we've finished eating a meal, there are a bunch of carbs readily available for use as energy.

But when we workout, we're looking for the fat burn.  Burning fat is possible but much more challenging if we've eaten prior to exercise.  The workout has to be incredibly intense in order to tap into our fat stores.  That's why high-intensity interval training is so effective.

The difference between working out fasted versus fed was huge! Especially when it comes to fat burn.  The post-meal workout resulted in a high carb burn. Meaning, the body instinctively sought carbohydrates as a fuel source.  But fasted workouts, the carbs weren't as readily available which caused the men to burn 7 grams more fat.  Seven grams!

That's a big deal.

What's even more interesting is the long-term effects of fasted workouts.  The study provided evidence that fat tissue behaves differently when we exercise in a fed state.  When we eat, we activate various responses in the body related to the breakdown and digestion of food.  Fat cells become highly responsive when we eat.  So when we workout out directly after eating, our fat cells are responding to the heightened blood sugar levels.  Post meal insulin spikes signal our bodies to store fat.  But when fasted, our fat cells are primed to be converted into fuel.

Don't get me wrong, working out after eating still has some benefits.  Post meal exercise can help us to lower triglyceride and blood sugar levels in the blood.  Both of these outcomes are great! I often use post-meal walks to help burn up some of the carbs from my meal to prevent all of it from converting to fat.  But if you are serious about burning your stored fat, try squeezing in a workout before breakfast.

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