Is It Best to Perform Cardio Exercise in the Morning?

Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t matter how many meals you eat in one day, what time of day you eat them, or how small or large your meals are.

Everyone has different food preferences, schedules and lifestyles. Ultimately, what matters is your total food intake and diet quality over the course of the day.

An abundance of research has proven that you can eat anywhere from one and seven meals a day so long as you are: 1) obtaining adequate amounts of carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, and of course water, and 2) meeting, but not overshooting, your daily calorie needs.

Related Article: Estimating Your Metabolic Rate and Daily Calorie Needs

Since my lifestyle is one during which I fast for a large majority of the day, I perform cardio exercise whenever I want. Interestingly enough, I adopted this lifestyle of diurnal fasting after effortlessly losing 20 pounds in 2 months. During this time I exercised daily at 3:00pm and not in the morning. In fact, I actually lost more weight this way than I’d ever done as an early morning exerciser.

Again, it’s all about doing what works for you!

Eating High-Protein, High-Fat Meals Prior to Cardio Exercise Encourages Maximum Fat Burning 

If you’re not a morning person and the act of skipping breakfast or any other meal scares you, maximum fat burning during cardio is easily achievable with a high-protein, high-fat diet, at least prior to your workouts.

Compared to protein and fat, the body preferentially burns carbohydrates as they can easily be converted to a simple sugar called glucose, which is the body’s preferred source of energy. When carbohydrates are unavailable the body’s stored fat is mobilized into the bloodstream and transported to the liver where it’s broken down into free fatty acids that are used for energy.

Related Article: Macronutrients: Three Key Essentials of Healthy Eating

Believe it or not, this process continues when high-fat and high-protein foods are consumed in place of carbohydrates. In light of this nutrient “hierarchy”, when you’re really trying to maximize fat burning for the purpose of weight loss and you don’t have the luxury of performing cardio exercise in the morning, you can opt for eating foods that are high in healthy, natural fats and high-quality protein, at least until your work out is done.

greek-yogurtSome great high-fat and/or high-protein options include whole eggs or egg whites, Greek-style yogurt, oily fish (tuna, sardines or salmon), nuts or seeds. If you must consume carbohydrates, opt for those that are relatively low in calories and sugar like leafy green and cruciferous vegetables, berries or rolled oats.

When it comes to working out everyone has an opinion based on what works for him or her. While performing cardio exercise in the morning is an effective weight loss strategy for those who are able to, it’s still possible to lose the same amount of weight (or more) by exercising during the afternoon or evening hours.

Do what works for you! Just get the workout in! If a morning workout doesn’t excite you, try some of the strategies I’ve described here and experience real success as I did and many other “non-morning” exercisers do.

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Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a physician for advice.

Before starting an exercise training program you should first make sure that exercise is safe for you. If you are under the age of 55 years and generally in good health, it is probably safe for you to exercise. However, if you are over 55 years of age and/or have any health problems, be sure to consult with your physician before starting an exercise training program.