Are Morning Workouts Better for Weight Loss? Here’s What Researchers Say

When it comes to working out, any physical activity counts, regardless of the time of the day you choose to do it. While most tend to stick with a workout schedule that helps them be consistent, those who want more results should consider exercising earlier in the morning. Why? Because recent research published in the journal ‘Obesity’ proves that morning workouts – particularly between 7 and 9 a.m. – are ideal for losing weight.

Juleen Zierath, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery and the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, says, “Our results suggest that late morning exercise could be more effective than late evening exercise in terms of boosting the metabolism and the burning of fat.”

Today, people are more motivated to engage in workout sessions that give them the quickest results. Since weight loss is such a hot topic, there has been a lot of research concerning the best time to do workouts. Lead researcher Tongya Ma conducted a comprehensive survey that considered the lifestyle, exercise, and food habits of over 5,000 adults. He said. “My cautious suggestion from this study is that if we choose to exercise in the early morning before we eat, we can potentially lose more weight compared to exercise at other times of the day.”

What Makes Morning Workouts Better?

Here’s the thing – previously, research has focused firmly on the intensity, duration, and frequency of physical activities to assist in weight loss, but there was little data to back the optimal time to engage in workouts. Over the past few years, more studies have explored the time of the day people should focus on working out to lose weight.

Of course, there are several physiological reasons why morning workouts are the best, but let’s look into the logical reasoning behind it, too. Think of it this way: if you get into the habit of working out first thing in the morning, you’re more likely to follow through with this every day instead of putting it off to complete other tasks.

Your body’s molecular clock is also another compelling reason. Every cell in your body, particularly the muscles, has a molecular clock that triggers some bodily functions. One is how the fat is metabolized in the body at different times of the day. Research points out that working out can actually reset this clock and bring it to its normal rhythm, aiding in metabolic health.

Moreover, working out in the morning before eating could help burn more body fat. Since you wake up on an empty stomach, exercising before breakfast assists in burning fat rather than carbohydrates. Besides, the benefits of this can last for much longer, even after the workout is done.

After an intense workout session, your metabolism doesn’t return to baseline right away. Instead, it remains slightly higher than average, enabling your body to burn higher fat levels throughout the day.

What If I Cannot Exercise in the Morning?

A morning workout may not fit into everyone’s schedule. But you don’t need to feel discouraged. Remember, any exercise is better than no exercise, regardless of the time of the day. But with the potential benefits of morning workouts, you should squeeze one in if possible!

While research has linked morning workouts with higher metabolism, studies do not confirm its effect on obesity. However, it appears that morning exercise is better, and it’s reasonable to encourage people to choose morning workouts over any other time of the day.

Here’s a very comprehensive piece of advice from Dr. Mir Ali, who is a bariatric surgeon. He said, “The important thing with exercise is consistency. The type of exercise does not seem to be as important as being able to consistently perform 150 minutes a week. I recommend to my patients that getting 30 minutes per day of exercise, even walking, at least five days a week is a good goal”.

Even if you follow the optimal time for workouts, weight loss can only happen when combined with other factors such as better sleep, a healthier diet, better physiological and mental health, etc.

How to Start a Morning Workout Regimen

Workouts should never be repetitive or boring, so try to find ways to make it an activity you enjoy! This starts with finding a workout routine that suits your lifestyle and other preferences so you can stick with it consistently. Remember, morning workouts can establish a healthy routine and keep your energy levels up throughout the day, but afternoon or evening workouts are good, too.

If you’re struggling in your weight loss journey, it helps to understand that you need to prioritize regular workouts with a healthy, balanced diet to attain your goals. Here are some tips worth keeping in mind:

  • Plan your workout in advance.
  • Get good quality sleep at night.
  • Wake up 15 minutes earlier to get in your workouts. Gradually, you can increase the duration.
  • Prep your workout clothes, sneakers, gym bag, and anything else you need the night before.
  • Set your alarm across your room so you’re forced to get up to switch it off.
  • Have a cup of coffee before exercising and stay well-hydrated.

Bottom Line

If you want to establish a steady exercise routine, a morning workout is the best because it can go a long way in helping you kick-start your day with more focus, energy, and optimism. It will also motivate you to eat better, make healthy food choices, and remain active throughout the day.