From now on, you may want to leave your bed a bit earlier and start exercising the moment you are on your feet. That is because scientists claim that they have evidence that working out during the fasting hours help you burn a higher percentage of fat than doing so some other time.

A study carried out in 2010 in Belgium divided a group of young and healthy men into three parts. Everyone was made to consume a diet having nearly 30 percent higher calories and close to 50 percent higher fats than their usual diet. One group was asked to remain sedentary, and another was asked to do midmorning strenuous exercises after breakfast. The last group was asked to work out before eating anything.


When the study finished after six weeks, the group practicing sedentary habits became unhealthy and supersized, with six pounds more weight on each member. Plus, the members developed insulin resistance and many fat cells.

As the New York Times wrote:

The men who exercised after breakfast had also packed on pounds, about three pounds each, and developed insulin problems. But the men who had exercised first thing in the morning, before eating anything, had gained almost no weight and retained healthy insulin levels. Their bodies were also burning more fat throughout the day than were the other men.

Of course, the early-morning exercise prevented weight gain, which is not the same thing as inducing weight loss. But the results are encouraging for those who hope to shave off a few pounds, said Peter Hespel, a professor in the Research Center for Exercise and Health at Catholic University Leuven in Belgium and the study author.

“The optimal strategy to prevent increases in body weight is obviously to combine a healthy, well-balanced diet with a physically active lifestyle,” he said. But if you are cheating on the healthy and well-balanced diet part, “we demonstrated,” he said, “that early-morning exercise in the fasted state is more potent than an identical amount of exercise in the fed state” for maintaining healthy waistlines.

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