Is it Better to Work Out Before or After Breakfast?

A new study has found that just be changing when you eat and exercise, you can have achieve better control of blood sugar levels. The study by health scientists at the Universities of Birmingham and Bath, shows that exercising before breakfast burns more fat which improves the body’s response to insulin and can lower people’s risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

This six week study involved thirty men who were classified as overweight or obese and compared the results from two intervention groups. One group were those who are breakfast then exercised. The other control group were those who made no lifestyle changes. The results showed that people who exercised before breakfast burned double the amount of fat compared to the group who exercised after breakfast.

The researchers found that increased fat use is mostly due to lower insulin levels during exercise when a person has fasted overnight. This means that they can use more fat from their fat tissues and the fat found in their muscles as fuel. To test the proof of the principle, the first study involved only men. Future studies will look to translate their findings for different groups of people including women.

While the results did not lead to any differences in weight loss over the six week period, it did show positive and profound effects on the participant’s health. Their bodies were better able to respond to insulin which kept blood sugar levels under control which can potentially lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

The team behind the study sought to focus on the impact of the fat stores in muscles for people who either worked out after or before eating and the effect the timing had on insulin response to eating. This study built on emerging evidence that timing of meals in relation to when a person’s exercises can shift how effective exercise is.

The results suggest that by changing the timing of when a person eats in relation to when they choose to exercise, very positive changes to overall health can occur. The group of men who exercised prior to breakfast increased their ability to respond to insulin which is remarkable given that both groups lost a similar amount of weight and both groups gained a similar amount of fitness. The only difference between the groups was the timing of breakfast.

The scientists also found that the muscles from the group of men who exercised prior to breakfast were more responsive to insulin in spite of identical food intake and training sessions. The muscles from this group showed increased key proteins, specifically those which are involved in transporting glucose from the blood stream to muscles.

The study shows that engaging in exercise after an overnight fasted state can increase the health benefits without a change in duration, intensity, or perception of their effort. The team now look to explore the longer term effects of the timing of exercise and eating and whether women will show similar benefits to those found with the men in the study.

To view the original scientific study click below

Lipid metabolism links nutrient-exercise timing to insulin sensitivity in men classified as overweight or obese.

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