One of the most common questions people ask is what time of day is best to do a workout. There are advantages and disadvantages to a variety of times of day. Here, we will discuss three advantages to a morning workout on an empty stomach. To be clear, a morning workout in this context is defined as immediately after you wake up and before you eat breakfast. Some call this “fasting exercise” and as we will discuss, there are some tremendous benefits to be gained from a trip to the gym in the am.
Testosterone levels are higher in the morning.
Testosterone levels peak after a good night’s sleep. During the day, our bodies use available testosterone for a variety of functions so that by the end of the day our levels drop. As we sleep, the body replenishes its supply of testosterone to prepare us for the next day. This is true of both men and women. Both sexes produce both sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone) continually, only in different amounts. But when it comes to exercise, testosterone plays the same role (energy and muscle growth) and levels peak in the morning. Therefore, a morning workout best leverages the natural testosterone cycle.
A morning workout burns more fat.
After a long night’s sleep, the body runs out of energy from food and begins to burn fat as its primary fuel source. A morning workout on an empty stomach allows you to burn even more calories from fat, resulting in more effective fat loss results.
It is this fact that has made early the morning workout so popular among bodybuilders. For them, an early morning cardio session on an empty stomach is a great way to burn off a little more body fat than they would have later in the day. But, these same people will also caution that lifting weights first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is not good for building muscle.
This is certainly not true. During both anaerobic and aerobic exercise, the body turns to fat as its primary fuel source. So long as you replenish your protein levels correctly post-workout, you can still build muscle from early morning workouts.
People who do a morning workout skip fewer sessions.
Working out first thing in the morning creates a fantastic routine that is actually easier to follow. People who wait until the afternoon to workout are far more likely to skip the gym because of unexpected errands, fatigue from the day, among other things. Let’s face it: fewer things will get in the way of your workout if you plan your workout at the beginning of the day.
The only hinderance most people will find with working out first thing in the morning is to wake up earlier than they normally would. Admittedly, it takes some getting used to, but the rewards far outweigh a few extra minutes of snooze-button-filled sleep. By the time you get to work, you will have more energy than everyone else because you will have been awake and winning the day while they slept.