Exercising Before Breakfast is Optimal for Health

People who perform exercise before breakfast burn twice as much fat as those exercise after breakfast, according to the findings of a new study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

In this six-week study, comprised of 30 obese or overweight men, the researchers and compared results between two intervention groups – one who exercised before breakfast, and one who exercised after breakfast, along with a control group who made no changes.

Over the six-week trial, the results showed that the muscles from the group who exercised before breakfast were more responsive to insulin juxtaposed to the group who exercised after breakfast, despite identical training sessions and matched food intake. The muscles from those who exercised before breakfast also showed greater increases in key proteins, specifically those involved in transporting glucose from the bloodstream to the muscles.

Moreover, the results showed that increased fat use is mainly due to lower insulin levels during exercise when people have fasted overnight, meaning that people can use more of the fat from their fat tissue and the fat within their muscles as a fuel. To test proof-of-principle the initial study involved only men, but future studies will look elucidate these findings.

“Our results suggest that changing the timing of when you eat in relation to when you exercise can bring about profound and positive changes to your overall health,” stated Dr Javier Gonzalez of the Department for Health at the University of Bath in a press release about the study.

“We found that the men in the study who exercised before breakfast burned double the amount of fat than the group who exercised after. Importantly, 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.”

Co-author Dr Gareth Wallis of the University of Birmingham added: “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.”