Finding time in the day to exercise is a struggle for many people, but now a new study suggests that setting your alarm a bit early could be the key.
Researchers from the Universities of Bath and Birmingham have revealed that exercising before breakfast can help you to burn more fat.
In the study, the researchers studied 30 obese or overweight men over a six week period – some of who exercised before breakfast, some who exercised after breakfast, and some who made no lifestyle changes.
An analysis of the results revealed that participants who exercised before breakfast burned double the amount of fat than the group who exercised after breakfast.
Dr Javier Gonzalez, who led the study, said: “Whilst this didn’t have any effect on weight loss, it did dramatically improve their overall health.
“The group who exercised before breakfast increased their ability to respond to insulin, 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.”
The researchers suggest that this effect may be down to insulin levels first thing in the morning – when people have fasted overnight, their insulin levels are low meaning they can use more fat as a fuel.
However, the researchers note that this effect has only been tested in men, and further studies including women are needed to verify the findings.
Dr Gareth Wallis, co-author of the study, said: “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.
“We now need to explore the longer-term effects of this type of exercise and whether women benefit in the same way as men.”