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Ever wondered about exercise timing?
Have you ever wondered which exercise is better for weight loss or weight management? No? Yeah, me too! I have never cared about exercise times before. In my mind exercises are just exercises and they burn fat. And therefore, they make you lose weight. Also, I know that, if you are a committed and consistent person, you get results. That is regardless of the time of the day you exercise. That’s all! Well, that was until I read a recent article claiming that morning exercises are better for weight loss. Amazing, right? Unless you are not a morning person. So today I want to look at why morning exercises for weight loss are the best!
But first, what is the relationship between exercises and weight loss?
What is the relationship between weight loss and exercises?
We all know that higher exercise volumes can help you burn fat quicker. And therefore, they help you lose weight. Studies show that completing more than 250 minutes of exercise per week elicits clinically significant weight loss. Well, 250 minutes a week is no joke. Not for most of us. The number alone makes us shake in our boots! That’s a load of work for and most people just don’t have that kind of time. But guess what it’s doable!
So, say you take 250 minutes of exercising a week. It will help you burn through your fat. And you will lose about 5% of your weight. That is if you are consistent and committed enough. That means, if you weigh 200 kgs you may lose up to 10 kg or more! Easy, right?
Well, don’t be too happy about the prospects! Here is a key take away to consider.
All people lose weight differently due to different reasons. So, you may not even get good results with exercise alone! Or it will take a lot of time, even years for consistent exercise regimes.
Some people can adapt quickly to weight loss regimes, but others resist weight loss. You can do everything right and the body will still resist your weight loss efforts. It’s all perfectly normal because it’s a coping mechanism for the body. Resistance is a natural response to starving so it’s normal. You just need to keep adjusting and shifting your programs to get better results.
Also read: Why is weight loss slow?
But I do know one fact, consistent exercises burn fat and you will always lose weight in the long run!
So, why does your body resist weight loss practices and regimes?
Why does the body resist adapting to weight loss programs?
The reasons why weight loss is slower for some programs is biological. Here are some of them:
- Lower total daily energy expenditure than energy intake. This means you take more energy than you use so, you will keep gaining weight.
- Reductions in resting metabolic rate. A lower resting metabolic rate ensures that you have a lower energy expenditure. So, you are likely to have excess calories.
- Compensatory energy intake. That is eating more food because you are exercising or you have been fasting.
- Differences in body compositions. Those with more muscle use more energy. So you have to build a muscle mass.
- Genetic makeup
- Natural biological and hormonal responses.
All these can affect how much weight you lose. So, a weight loss exercise regime that works for someone may not be the best for you.
Find that rhythm that works for you!
So, what does the study say about morning exercises for weight loss?
Are morning exercises for weight loss superior to evening exercises?
I have come across many articles that explain the linkage between human health and circadian rhythms.
Circadian rhythms are the sleep and work cycles of a human being. And they describe activities at different times of the day.
So, I came across this recent study which assessed the association between exercises and timing on weight loss and components of energy balance.
In this study, overweight, obese and physically inactive adults completed a 10-month controlled study. It was a supervised exercise program. Of these participants, some exercised in the morning between 7:00-11:59 am. Others exercised in the evening between 3:00-7:00 pm. Some of these participants were sporadic during the trial period. Which means they completed 50% of the exercises in any category.
So, after this 10-month study, the overall weight loss of the participants was calculated. And it was found that weight loss was greater in the early morning and sporadic exercises than evening.
People who followed an early morning exercises regime lost significantly more weight.
So, what does this mean?
These results simply mean that the timing of your exercise may be important in weight loss or management. Weight loss was higher in people who exercised in the morning. In other words, this study shows that if you exercise in the morning, you can lose more weight!
Also, women who exercised aerobically in the morning showed the best gains!
Let’s explore the evidence: Morning exercises vs evening exercises
Are morning exercises for weight loss superior to evening weight loss exercises?
In this section, I want to explain the effects of morning exercises and evening exercises on weight loss. I want to look at how these exercises cause weight loss if they are aerobic or anaerobic exercises.
1. Effects of evening and morning exercises on weight loss when they are aerobic exercises
Aerobic exercises have an essential role in weight management. This is because they are practised for longer periods. As a result, the heart and muscles work for longer, thereby burning more fat.
Evidence shows that men have a higher endurance exercise capacity in the morning. Studies on cycling show that men have a higher endurance in the morning than evening. This means that they can cycle longer in the morning than in the evening. And as a result, they burn more fat and calories in the morning. This also means that they have a higher chance of losing more weight. And also a higher chance of preventing weight gain!
Now, that’s good, right? Except, there is another study which opposes this with the notion that evening exercises are better!
In another study, a group of men had a higher work capacity after the evening. This was measured after a 5 week time of high-intensity training. This means this group could do more intense exercises for longer than the morning exercise group!
So, this group could burn more calories and lose more weight than morning exercise practitioners!
Confusing, right? It confused me too! Different studies showing different successful results!
So, what does this mean?
You should remember me talking about the different effects of exercises on individuals above.
I would say that there are different effects of exercises on weight loss on individuals and groups. Because it all depends on the duration of the exercises, the time and the individuals. So, different studies can produce opposite yet successful results!
In other words, your work rate, body, diet, duration of exercise and time can all determine how much weight you lose. Someone who exercises for 90 minutes in the evening can get better results than one who does in the morning.
2. Resistance training with evening and morning exercises
Several studies show that morning exercises are more effective for weight loss than evening ones. They show that morning resistance training improves muscle performance. And the muscle performance is better than evening exercises.
Note: The higher the anaerobic and muscle performance during exercise the higher the energy usage. So, more calories are used increasing the chances of weight loss.
But, also many studies are showing that anaerobic exercises give better results in the evening.
So, given all this information we still have a question.
Which is better, morning exercises for weight loss or evening exercises for weight loss?
Which exercise timing is better for weight loss?
There some essential points to note on this topic:
High volumes of exercises can induce weight loss and prevent weight gain. That is an indisputable fact!
The rate of weight loss does not depend on one parameter. This results in inter-individual differences in weight loss. So, find what’s works best for you to get the best results!
In conclusion, I have realised that although there is conflicting information; more recent studies show that morning exercises are more effective for weight loss. However, the final weight loss results always depend on you. At the end of the day, anyone with the biggest consistency and commitment gets the best results. Why? Because in my opinion, it doesn’t matter when you exercise. You just have to put your all in every exercise session to get the best results! So, do what is best for you be it evening or morning exercises for weight loss.