Two Ways to Burn More Fat in Your Morning Workout (Without Extra Effort)
There’s nothing like settling into a groove with the perfect morning gym routine or fitness class that checks all the right boxes. Still, results often come slowly and we wish we could see the effects of our efforts more quickly.
While intensifying your routine is one option, you can also try amplifying the effects of exercise by tweaking other habits. In fact, two recent studies suggest that simply changing the timing of your coffee and breakfast can have a big influence on the efficiency of your workout. Here’s what you need to know.
Have your morning coffee before your workout.
Studies have already established that caffeine is helpful for your exercise performance, helping you run for a longer time and do more reps in the weight room. But researchers recently looked at whether or not those gains in performance translate to better fat burning. Here are the major takeaways from the study:
- Study participants drank the equivalent of a “strong cup of coffee” about 30 minutes before starting their morning and afternoon workouts.
- Compared with those who drank a non-caffeinated beverage, those who had coffee before morning or afternoon workouts had more efficient workouts and burned more fat.
- If you want an even bigger difference, try drinking your coffee before an afternoon workout. Researchers found that coffee consumed before afternoon workouts made those even more efficient than the coffee-fueled morning workouts.
If you’re already drinking coffee, the tweak is easy: just treat yourself at your favorite coffee shop on the way to the gym, or make time at home to slowly enjoy your cup of joe before gym time. Just be careful with your drink selection or how much sugar you add to your cup, as too much sugar can easily sabotage your progress! Black coffee, an Americano, or a shot or two of espresso will give you these benefits with nearly zero calories.
Wait to have breakfast after the gym.
You may have heard the idea that working out on an empty stomach means you’re burning fat, but if you work out after eating, you’re just burning up that morning’s granola. Sometimes called “fasted cardio,” the idea of exercising on an empty stomach means you’ll need to work out pretty much first thing in the morning because it’s the only time most of us haven’t eaten for 10 to 14 hours.
For those trying to make the most of their morning cardio, putting off breakfast is one meaningful tweak that’s simple to make.
Turns out that this bit of oft-repeated wisdom has merit: new research supports waiting to eat breakfast after your morning workout for more efficient exercise. Here are the major takeaways from the study:
- The study closely monitored a group of men, all overweight, who followed a moderate-intensity exercise regimen over the course of six weeks.
- Researchers found that those who waited to eat breakfast after hitting the gym had better exercise compared with those who ate breakfast before exercise. Their bodies responded to the workout as if they had performed a more rigorous workout than their breakfasting counterparts, meaning more health benefits and more progress.
- This is especially important for those moderately intense workouts that do not fall into the category of “high intensity”—the study authors note that previous studies have shown that meal timing is less important with highly rigorous workouts.
Other sources have shown that you should eat breakfast before doing an extremely rigorous or long workout—so be sure to have breakfast if you anticipate strong exertion. But for those trying to make the most of their daily cardio workout, putting off breakfast is one meaningful tweak that’s simple to make.
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