Reasons to Try Exercising Before Breakfast

With intermittent fasting gaining popularity, many people are now starting to adopt a diet that restricts calorie consumption to an 8-hour window every day. Many find that starting their morning without breakfast, and choosing a 12 PM-8 PM window for their meals, works best. 

A wave of research is supporting the notion that fasting can increase longevity, support weight loss, help aid in cell repair, promote healthy sleep cycles, and more. Now, a recent report outlined a study supporting the hypothesis that avoiding breakfast in the morning, and working out on an empty stomach, can increase health outcomes. 

Excerpt from MindBodyGreen

During this study, researchers analyzed whether working out before eating breakfast had any effect on health, specifically how fat becomes stored in muscles. This six-week experiment included 30 men who identify as obese or overweight and were split into three groups: a group who ate breakfast before working out, a group who ate breakfast after working out, and a control group who made no changes to their daily eating or exercise habits.

What they found was that the group of men who worked out before breakfast burned double the amount of fat as the group who exercised after breakfast. This increase in fat burning is super important, but not for the reason you might think—both of the exercise groups in this six-week experiment lost the same amount of weight.

Lead author of the study Javier Gonzalez, Ph.D., explains, “Importantly, whilst this didn’t have any effect on weight loss, it did dramatically improve their overall health.”

The study concluded that working out before breakfast, when their insulin levels were low, allowed them to use more of the fat from their tissue and the fat within their muscles as fuel. 

The participants who worked out before breakfast saw their bodies respond better to insulin. This improved ability to regulate blood sugar levels could lower people’s risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The muscles of the men in the fasted group also showed an increase in key proteins, despite the fact that they had the same workout program and meals as the other groups. 

“The group who exercised before breakfast increased their ability to respond to insulin,” wrote Gonzalez, “which is all the more remarkable given that both exercise groups lost a similar amount of weight, and both gained a similar amount of fitness. The only difference was the timing of the food intake.”