The time of day affects performance: Do you prefer to run in the morning or in the evening? – knowledge

Sport enhances movement and metabolism in the body. However, time also plays a role: Studies show when the type of training is most likely to lead to success.

By Jörg Zetlau

06/13/2022 – 16:52

She jogs every day for half an hour. Whether on the treadmill or outside. US Vice President Kamala Harris prefers to train early in the morning before breakfast. Her reasoning: “It gets your blood pumping and your adrenaline flowing.”

Physical activity has different effects depending on the time of day

Quite a few athletes see it the same way. But for others, the idea of ​​training before breakfast is nothing more than dawn. Which raises the question of the appropriate time for physical training. An international team of researchers led by Dominic Lotter of the Munich-Helmholtz Diabetes Center has published a study summarizing the “Exercise Metabolism Atlas”. It provides concrete physiological evidence that physical exercise actually has different effects on an organism, depending on the time of day.

If you skip breakfast, you switch to fat metabolism early

The scientists’ method: The mice underwent extensive treadmill training, either early in the morning or late in the evening, and then a comprehensive metabolic profile of the animals was taken using blood and tissue samples. The results showed that the metabolic axis of the liver in particular reacts differently depending on the time of day. For example, jerboas in the morning derive their energy from fat deposits significantly more than their counterparts that were active in the evening. “Because after an overnight fast, the energy reserves in the liver are depleted,” explains Lutter. As a result, the body has to switch to fat metabolism early, unless it is replenished with breakfast.

Ultimately, the rodent study provides only the physiological basis for previous research, which has already clearly shown that exercise can have very different effects on people depending on the time of day.

Early exercisers lose more weight than later exercisers

About two years ago, a US research team encouraged 88 overweight men and women to exercise five times a week. Calorie consumption was the same for everyone, but they differed in the timing of their training. This caused inconsistencies in success after 10 months.



The early athletes lost an average weight of 6.2 kg, while the later athletes were only 1.6 kg lighter. Those who kept switching between morning and late aerobic exercise lost nearly 4 kilograms. For study leader Eric Willis of the University of North Carolina, then it is clear: “There is a dose-response relationship between the proportion of training units completed in the morning and weight loss.” Exercise before breakfast.

Strength training on an empty stomach does little good

On the other hand, if you want to build muscle mass – for example with dumbbell training – you should not train before breakfast. Because this relates to high intensity training stimuli, for which the body needs a lot of energy relatively quickly. However, if you skip breakfast, it won’t work, hitting your liver’s energy tank will be nothing. Hence there is the danger of the so-called “punking”. It is best translated as “running against the wall” in that it means that the muscles and, at worst, even the brain are shutting down because they are not getting enough energy in the form of sugar. As a result, the sports unit turns into torture without any special training effect.

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If your biorhythm is like that of an owl, you should be late to exercise

Therefore, it is better for experienced athletes to train in the afternoon or early evening, when the energy stores of the liver are well filled and the body’s vital rhythm is at its highest. How should the athlete take into account his biorhythm in his activities. About a quarter of humanity consists of “larks” who prefer to get up early and go to bed; A quarter of “owls” peak relatively late in the day; And two quarters of mixed shapes of these two types. Accordingly, it is clear that the owl is not exactly a candidate for early morning training.

But, as Roland Brandstaetter of the University of Birmingham discovered in a study of hockey players, he must wait until evening. The reason: It only peaks 11 hours after you wake up in the morning. Unlike larks, who can do that after only six hours.

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Late risers are fitter in the evening than in the morning

Added to this is the fact that fluctuations in performance are very severe for late risers. They are about 26 percent more fit in the evening than in the morning, while early humans’ fitness varies by only 8 percent throughout the day. Brandstaetter asserts that “such massive differences can have a significant impact on talent discovery, on an athlete’s performance assessment, and ultimately on their competitive success.” According to the chronologist, it is no coincidence that most of the great athletes belong to larks.

Sports in the heat

time
It is best to train early in the morning. The air is still relatively cool there. Wear sportswear made of functional fibers that help the body to evaporate sweat, as well as drink a lot.

warning sign
Elevated body temperature leads to heat damage. Doctors talk about heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Headache, weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, and dizziness can indicate heat stroke.

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