What’s the optimal workout time of the day?
Well, the answer for me will always be morning!
It depends (I’ll touch on that later)…But definitely in the morning!!
(Or, you know, whenever you’re the deepest into your fast. I know some of you work the night shift, so “morning” isn’t when you’ve been fasting the longest…)
You want to be deep in your fast when you work out for best results, because that’s when your sympathetic nervous system – fight or flight – is kicked into gear.
Then, working out also triggers fight-or-flight, and the reason this is important is because of the “flight-or-fight” reflex. It triggers adrenaline and noradrenaline, which “increases the force of skeletal muscle contraction and the rate…of contraction of the heart”…so it literally gets the blood pumping!
Because your body is using fat for fuel, and this speeds up the process! How, you wonder?
When you’re fasting, there’s more activity going on in your cells. Cells have “messengers” that send hormonal signals around your body, and tell the cell what to do next.
So, when you’re exercising, what hormone gets sent? Like we said, it’s adrenaline! “Flight or fight.” This makes your body look for an energy source (fat). The adrenaline binds to the messenger.
Fasting makes the messenger travel faster in your body, which means the message (that your body needs to burn fat) is powerful and quick!
Fasting also increases the efficiency of another cell messenger, called AMP kinase. What’s that? Well, it makes fat burn faster if you’ve been training the same muscles for a while.
“If bouts of exercise continue through a long-term training regimen…[AMP kinase] will facilitate contracting muscle adaptations by escorting muscle cell activity to…fatty-acid oxidation…” one study says.
So, if you’re following my train of thought here, this cell messenger speeds up fat oxidation (fat burning). And fasting makes the cell messenger work faster!
So, fasting basically just makes you more efficient on a cellular level.
Training fasted is the biggest and best-kept secret…well, really, not so secret.
One study showed that men deep in the fasted state had 2000% normal levels of Human Growth Hormone. Women had 1300%. Oh, and one other thing. Your HGH levels get higher when you exercise!
See how this is a huge combo?
All this is to say that the science shows training in the morning (or when you’re at the deepest point of your fast) is the way to go.
For me personally, I try to get all my workouts in the morning as part of my self-care routine. That being said, with three children there are days when I fit in my workout wherever I can in the day. “Something is better than nothing”, I always say!
Dr. Eric Berg says that if you’re new to fasting you should probably eat right after your workout time, because your body isn’t used to insulin being that low, for now. You still get all the awesome benefits of working out while fasted.
However, trainer Thomas DeLauer says that because the:
…are still in place after your workout is complete…You may want to wait a bit longer before eating.
Fasting + exercise is such a wonderful combination, so why not exercise at 8 AMand eat at 11 AM? Or comment below and I can tell you what I think of your workout time plan, and whether you’re getting the most out of your fast. Either way, have fun burning that fat and growing those muscles!!
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