PhotoFinding the time to fit a workout in can be difficult for many consumers who already have busy schedules, but a new study suggests that finding time before eating could yield the most benefits. 

According to researchers from the University of Bath, consumers who work out before they eat breakfast could be maximizing the exercise benefits. They say that working out early not only burns more fat, but it also reduces the risk of serious health conditions. 

“Our results suggest that changing the timing of when you eat in relation to when you exercise can bring about profound and positive changes to your overall health,” said researcher Dr. Javier Gonzalez. “We found that men in the study who exercised before breakfast burned double the amount of fat than the group who exercised earlier. Importantly, whilst this didn’t have any effect on weight loss, it did dramatically improve their overall health.” 

Getting the most out of your workout

To see how big of a role timing played in the effectiveness of a workout routine, the researchers divided 30 men into three different groups based on when they ate breakfast and when they exercised. One group carried on with their routines as usual, one group exercised before eating breakfast, and another group ate breakfast before their workout.

After analyzing data from the six-week study period, the researchers determined that working out before breakfast led to increased fat burning. The researchers believe that waiting to eat allowed participants’ muscles to utilize fat already stored within the body to power through the workout. 

The researchers say that working out before breakfast could reduce the risk of diabetes or cardiovascular disease, as the body was more receptive to insulin when participants exercised before eating. 

Overall, the study emphasized the importance of consumers paying more attention to how their mealtimes and exercise times can work together to leave them with the greatest benefits and better health outcomes. 

“This work suggests that performing exercise in the overnight-fasted state can increase the health benefits of exercise for individuals, without changing the intensity, duration, or perception of their effort,” said researcher Dr. Gareth Wallis. “We now need to explore the longer-term effects of this type of exercise and whether women benefit in the same way as men.” 

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