Are morning workouts more effective for fat loss?

There is a difference between weight and fat loss that I want to clarify before we continue with this topic.

If you want to find out, are morning workouts more effective for fat loss, we need to understand fat loss. Losing weight, which reflects on the scale, can be anything from water weight to fat and even muscle mass. It encompasses any loss which then reflects on a smaller number on the scale than before. Fat loss however, is losing only fat mass which is a much harder endeavor.

This takes focused work and means you retain muscle mass and your body composition (shape) change.


Then onto explaining what about workouts can assist in fat loss.

Firstly, your performance in the gym matters a lot, if you give your session half effort then you will get half results. Also important is the hormones involved, and working with your body in order to maximize the natural state it is in to further fat loss.


What does science have to say about this?

That’s what we all want to know right? Well the most dominant information out there today states that working out first thing in the morning, more especially on an empty stomach, is the best way to burn stored fat. Apparently, the bodies hormonal system composition is geared towards this goal first thing in the morning. Due to naturally elevated levels of cortisol and growth hormone. So then are morning workouts more effective for fat loss?

In the morning you could draw more energy from fat reserves..

That could not only assist in fat loss but also in having less appetite through the day. Which in turn helps with being in a calorie deficit for fat loss. You may also find you become more alert and focused through the day after having started with an early workout. And research shows it is best for mental health. This could be due to the fact that you start the day with a release of endorphins setting you up for only better emotions.

If you really struggle with early mornings don’t fret. Because your body clock can quickly shift and what was once a big effort becomes second nature.

Here is the catch though, if you really don’t enjoy jumping out of bed early

and if your energy is really low first thing in the morning? Then your workout will probably be a half effort and the burn you would be expecting. This will reflect in the way you move. Some people really do need a few meals in their system before they have that morning power. I’m sure most of you have already noticed in yourself when you feel best at the gym. Try a lunch time workout, that could be your second-best option? And having a couple meals in you can already  mean you have that performance boost that you need to push your workout to the max.

Another contradiction?

Research suggests that we burn 10% more calories in the afternoon than at any other time naturally, and that is at rest. So could a workout boost this number?

In my opinion, and in the fascinating world of nutrigenomics and epigenetics, this really is an individual’s decision.

Experiment not only with how your body loses weight but with how you physically feel after each morning and afternoon session.

Yes science suggests that morning workouts are better biologically and psychologically but a workout that is done is better than one that is missed. So you need to figure out when in your day is best so that you keep that workout commitment to yourself. And keep your workout performance strong and keep you feeling best in your schedule!


When do you train and lose best?




Isilda Da Costa is a personal trainer and women’s fitness specialist who, if she isn’t at the gym training, is busy researching the most up to date information for growing those muscles. She has combined her love of everything healthy by being a health coach in her own health shop in Swaziland. Follow along on @izzy.healthandfitness

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