A study showed that women who exercised in the morning lost more belly fat than women who exercised in the evening.
On the other hand, in men, exercising in the evening lowers blood pressure and reduces belly fat more than exercising in the morning.
If you exercise at a time of day that works for you, you’ll get the best results, says exercise expert and coach Ben Carpenter.
According to a new study, morning workouts are the best for burning belly fat in women. On the other hand, evening training is better for upper body training. The study, conducted by Skidmore College in New York on 47 adults, found that nightly exercise in men lowered blood pressure, the risk of heart disease and fatigue. Men also burn more fat in the evening than they do in the morning.
How the study was conducted:
One group trained for an hour between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., and the other between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Various measurements were taken at the beginning and end of the study, including bench pressure, leg pressure values, body composition and blood pressure. Food intake was also analyzed.
“In women, exercise in the morning reduces belly fat and blood pressure, while evening exercise increases muscle strength, upper body strength and endurance, and improves overall mood and satiety,” said study lead author Paul Arcero.
While all 27 women in the 12-week study reduced total body fat, belly and hip fat, and lowered blood pressure, the results were still better for the women who exercised in the morning.
Exercising in the morning can lead to a healthy diet
Previous research has shown that a calorie deficit is essential for fat loss, and exercising in the morning can result in fewer calories being consumed throughout the day.
Arcero said that may have played a role in the study results, but there were no differences between the eating data for the morning and evening groups. This is not believed to be an important factor. However, personal trainer Ben Carpenter said the study should be viewed with caution.
This isn’t the first time researchers have looked at morning and evening workouts and concluded that timing can make a difference – current research indicates that evening training improves strength and that training in the morning is said to be more beneficial when losing weight. Ben Carpenter said there aren’t enough facts to come to a conclusive conclusion.
The theories are mainly based on hormonal changes and circadian rhythms. “Bodily processes aren’t even every hour of the day, some hormones go up and down,” Carpenter says.
The exercise expert points out that the study didn’t look at what time of day the participants usually exercised, and that what time of day they used to make a difference, as the body needs time to adjust to the new routine.
Carpenter says the best time to exercise is what works for you
Arciero says the results are meaningful enough to vary training times based on goals, but Carpenter isn’t convinced. He said the hugely disparate data in the study could be confusing, for example for a woman who wants to lose fat while also getting stronger.
For people who aren’t professional athletes, it’s hard enough to incorporate exercise into their lives that they don’t have the luxury of thinking when it’s “perfect,” says Carpenter. Instead, people should be encouraged to be active whenever it is convenient for them.
“If you train hard in the evening because you enjoy going to a gym class with your friends, rather than working out alone in the morning, it can provide additional motivation to achieve good results,” he said.
The most important thing, he said, is to find exercise you enjoy and stick with it until it becomes a habit. “Consistently doing a good exercise program is always better than doing a perfect exercise program intermittently,” Carpenter says.
Once you internalize the habit, you can try different timings. “When you’re just starting out, you don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the little things,” Carpenter says.
This text has been translated from the English by Lisa Ramos Dossey. You can find the original here.