Want to lose weight? The best time to exercise to maximise fat loss revealed | The Sun

WHETHER it's in the morning or evening, making it to the gym isn't something to be scoffed at.

But the time of day you get your body moving might matter, depending on the results you want to achieve, new research suggests.

A US study on 5,285 middle-aged adults showed exercising between 7 and 9am was the best time if you're looking to lose weight.

Rebecca Krukowski, PhD, a clinical psychologist with expertise in behavioural weight management who wasn't involved in the study, said this might be because early-bird gym goers were able to focus on their workout, without the distraction of work or emails.

The analysis – published in the journal Obesity – saw researchers use data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2003 to 2006.

Participants wore fitness trackers — also called accelerometers — on their hip for to track exercise for seven consecutive days. The trackers are worn on wrists in more recent CDC surveys, making comparisons less reliable.

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They either worked out between 7 and 9 am in the morning, between 11 am and 1 pm at mid-day or in the evening, from 5 to 8 pm.

Researchers found that early-bird gym goers had a lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference than those working out later.

They also self-reportedmaking healthier diet choices and eating less than other participants.

The study’s authors found that participants in the morning cluster were inactive for longer periods of time after their workouts, compared to afternoon and evening gym-goers.

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Despite this, they still had a lower BMI and waist circumference.

Dr Krukowski said: “This is exciting new research that is consistent with a common tip for meeting exercise goals – that is, schedule exercise in the morning before emails, phone calls or meetings that might distract you.”

However,Dr Krukowski said, since this is a cross-sectional study, “it is not known whether people who exercise consistently in the morning may be systematically different from those who exercise at other times, in ways that were not measured in this study".

"For example, people who exercise regularly in the morning could have more predictable schedules, such as being less likely to be shift workers or less likely to have care-giving responsibilities that impede morning exercise," she explained.

"Predictable schedules could have other advantageous effects on weight that were not measured in this study, such as with sleep length and quality and stress levels," Dr Krukowski went on.

The study mirrors results of previous research Scientists at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, which suggest that working out earlier in the day can increase the rate in which our body burns fat.

Scientists involved in the study said its findings showed that late morning exercise could be more effective than late evening exercise in terms of boosting the metabolism and burning fat.

But Dr Greg Potter, an expert in body clocks, and host of the podcast Reason & Wellbeing, recently said our peak performance levels tend to be in the late afternoon.

“It’s not just performance is highest at this time, afternoon exercise may be better for blood sugar control too," he explained.

And a 2022 study led by Prof Paul J Arciero, Skidmore College, New York, found that the optimal time of day to get your kit on might actually differ according to your gender.


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Prof Arciero said women wanting to lose fat around their belly and hips would do better to hit the gym in the morning, but those seeking to gain upper body strength or to simply improve their mood might see more results from evening exercise.

The results were opposite for men.

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