By ALEXANDRA MATZKO
It’s the tail end of January.
Have you kept to your fitness resolutions?
I know that I’m struggling. Fitting in that workout 4-6 days a week sounds simple, but it can be so hard. I know the last thing I feel like doing after a demanding day of work is forcing my body to move. And on the weekend, I just want to catch up on sleep and relaxation. Plus, those 30 minutes a day that I do manage to fit in don’t always seem to do the trick.
So, I’d heard about this “fasted” workout thing that some people are doing. Basically, you get up and work out first thing: before breakfast, before showering, before brushing your teeth. I’ve been trying it out, and I really enjoy it and its results.
Interested? Here’s why you should try working out first thing in the morning.
1. It Can Burn More Calories (specifically, fat). Since you’ve been “fasting” all night while asleep, your body doesn’t have the normal fuel to pull from. Your body will have to pull energy from fat stores in order to keep you going during any physical activity. This means that a workout first thing in the morning is more effective at burning fat than a workout at any other time of day.
2. It raises your metabolism for the rest of your day. When you work out, especially if you’re doing high-intensity interval training, it increases your metabolism. By working out first thing in the morning, you reap the benefits of that metabolic burn for the rest of the day rather than just the evening if you’re working out after work.
3. It can improve your mood for the rest of your day. Studies prove that exercise improves mood. It prompts the release of feel-good hormones and is one of the best ways to combat stress. When I get my workout in, I’ve got a good buzz on all day. Not only does it make me feel like I’m achieving my goals, it starts every day on a positive note. It’s better for waking up than a couple cups of coffee!
4. You’re more likely to get your workout in. The course of a day never runs smoothly. Unexpected things come up, and it’s easy to keep postponing going to the gym or taking a jog. First thing in the morning, there’s nothing getting between you and your workout. I’m way more likely to exercise if I do it right away. Plus, I love getting it over with; it’s one less thing to worry about doing during the day.
5. Improved insulin sensitivity. Insulin is one of the hormones most responsible to prompt the creation of fat. When we eat, our body secretes it. The more sensitive a body is to making it, the more of it a body makes and the worse side effects there can be in terms of heart disease or type-two diabetes. Some studies show that fasted exercise, resulting in a longer period of fasting before breakfast, can help decrease this sensitivity. Fasting longer in general before eating breakfast can improve this as well.
Now, there are some cons noted in some of the research. Studies show that without that boost of food in the morning, you may not be able to work out as hard as you would after breakfast or later in the day. In addition, your body will sometimes take energy not just from fat but from protein as well e.g. your muscles.
I’m only working out for 30 minutes, so I’m not overly concerned about losing muscle mass. And, working out a little less intensely outweighs the alternative of ending up skipping a workout altogether for me.
So, this morning girl is definitely a fasted workout convert. I truly believe it helps me see results faster, helps me get my workout in, and leaves me feeling pumped to start my day. Try it yourself for a week or two to see if it will work for you!