Sunday, 8 January 2012

Breaking News - Why Exercising at This Time of Day is FAR Better than Any Other Time...

A new study suggests that exercising in the morning, before eating, can significantly lessen the ill effects of a poor holiday diet.

Researchers recruited healthy, active young men and fed them a bad diet for six weeks. A group of them that exercised before breakfast gained almost no weight and showed no signs of insulin resistance. What's more, they burned the fat they were taking in more efficiently.

According to the New York Times:

"... [W]orking out before breakfast directly combated the two most detrimental effects of eating a high-fat, high-calorie diet. It also helped the men avoid gaining weight."

I'm an advocate of exercising first thing in the morning for two reasons:
1.                It gets done. Despite your best intentions, any number of things can happen in the afternoon and evening, making you skip exercise for “lack of time”
2.                There are additional health benefits to exercising before consuming your first meal of the day
The study above is a great illustration of how making slight changes to the order of your daily routine can dramatically improve your end results.

Exercising Before Breakfast Counteracts Poor Diet and Aids Weight Loss

The study in question lasted for six weeks. It included 28 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 25, divided into three groups; those who:
1.                Exercised before eating a carbohydrate-rich breakfast, and drank only water during exercise
2.                Ate a carbohydrate-rich breakfast before exercising, and drank sugary drinks such as sports drinks during their workout
3.                Ate an identical diet but did not exercise at all
The men who exercised, ran and cycled at a strenuous intensity four times a week.
Overall, the men had identical high-calorie, high-fat diets. The primary difference was whether—and most importantly, when—theyexercised. The other difference was the type of beverages they drank during exercise.
At the end of the trial, the non-exercising control group had gained an average of more than six pounds, and had developed insulin resistance—the precursor to type 2 diabetes.
Those who ate breakfast prior to hitting the gym gained an average of about three pounds; half the weight gain of those who did not exercise. However, they too had developed insulin resistance…
The only group that gained almost no weight, and showed no signs of insulin resistance were those who exercised before eating breakfast, and drank only water during their workout.
I want to draw your attention to how the type of beverage consumed during exercise can also have a major impact on your weight loss and health goals.
You'll want to avoid all types of sugary drinks, including sports drinks, for up to two hours after your workout because fructose obliterates the growth hormone response. You'll find more information about that at the end of this article.
Clearly, the fasting exercise group reaped the benefits of both fasting and not ruining their efforts with carbohydrate-rich beverages...
"This study for the first time shows that fasted training is more potent than fed training to facilitate adaptations in muscle and to improve whole-body glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity during hyper-caloric fat-rich diet."
That's quite remarkable, considering all three groups consumed very high caloric diets. This is powerful evidence that occasional indulgences do not have to lead to excessive weight gain, which is great news for most of us, especially in light of the recent holidays.
But even beyond holiday excesses, it's quite clear that something as simple as modifying your schedule to exercise before eating your first meal of the day can have a very beneficial and protective impact on your health and weight.

How Fasting Forces Your Body to Shed Excess Fat, and Combats Insulin Resistance

One of the explanations for how exercising on an empty stomach can prevent weight gain and insulin resistance despite overindulgence is that your body's fat burning processes are controlled by your sympathetic nervous system (SNS), and your SNS is activated by exercise and lack of food.
The combination of fasting and exercising maximizes the impact of cellular factors and catalysts (cyclic AMP and AMP Kinases), which force the breakdown of fat and glycogen for energy.
This is why training on an empty stomach will effectively force your body to burn fat.
It's also important to realize that eating a full meal, particularly carbohydrates, will inhibit your sympathetic nervous system and reducethe fat burning effect of your exercise. Instead, eating lots of carbs activates your parasympathetic nervous system, (which promotes energy storage—the complete opposite of what you're aiming for.
This can explain why those who exercised vigorously but ate a carbohydrate-rich breakfast first still ended up gaining weight, albeit not as much as those who did not exercise at all.
More important, however, is the impact fasting exercise can have on your insulin regulation. The researchers concluded that those who fasted before exercise had increased levels of a certain muscle protein that plays a pivotal role in insulin sensitivity.
As I've explained in numerous articles, insulin resistance is the root cause of most chronic disease, making maintaining proper insulin regulation a primary factor of good health.
In a nutshell, you do that by:
1.                Exercising regularly
2.                Avoiding sugar/fructose, and grains (including organic whole grains as they too will quickly convert to sugar in your body and lead to insulin resistance)
Based on the impressive results from the study above, you may also want to consider exercising prior to having your breakfast to optimize the beneficial impact of your exercise on your insulin regulation.

For full article and info on,
  • Other Pros and Cons of Exercising on an Empty Stomach
  • What to Eat Before Exercise to Really Boost Fat Burning
  • A Great Way to Start Your Morning
  • The Most Effective Exercise for Weight Loss and Optimal Health