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Does Working Out In The Morning Burn More Fat? The Answer

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: July 4, 2022

A morning workout can be one of the most rewarding ways to get your day started in the right way. As a personal trainer, I’ve seen many clients transform their fitness journeys by getting into this simple habit.

And one question most of them ask is whether they will lose fat faster if they train before or after they eat breakfast.

While I’ve always done fasted cardio in the morning, I wanted to get to the science behind it and teamed up with a dietitian to help me research the impact of a morning workout on fat loss.

Here’s what we found.

Quick Summary

  • Working out in the morning can boost your metabolism and set you up for having a lot more energy throughout the day.
  • When and how much you eat around this morning time can have a significant impact on your fat loss.
  • It’s also important to pick the right exercises in order to have a more consistent impact on stored fat reserves.

Do You Lose More Weight Working Out In The Morning?

A man jogging in a jacket

Yes, you can lose more weight by working out in the morning.

This has been confirmed through several studies that compared the results of fat burned by people who trained before noon and later in the day [1].

But it gets even more interesting when you compare the results of training on an empty stomach, which seems to have a positive effect on the fat loss over six weeks [2].

The fasted exercise groups lost more fat than the eat-before group, and they had more stable blood sugars as well.

Essentially, when you start training, you’ll use up your blood glucose and glycogen reserves.

The first thing your body will try to do is replace that lost energy from the food in your stomach. 

But when you train before you eat breakfast, then your body is forced to access fat reserves for energy.

Now, some people will tell you that you’ll lose twice the fat if you exercise before eating breakfast. But I wouldn’t advise using that as a general guide.

Your fat-burning processes are very dependent on your base metabolic rate, age, gender, health, and overall fitness levels [3].

And you also need to be careful with what types of exercises you do first thing in the morning.

“Heart and metabolic rates are loosely related because cardiovascular exercise can boost metabolism.”

- Johnathon Andrew, Writer at sfgate.com.

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What Type Of Exercises Should You Do?

A woman doing cardio

Over the years, I’ve developed a morning routine that should help most people squeeze out those fat cells.

Here’s what I recommend for my weight loss clients.

Start with a simple plyometric warm-up routine for five minutes.

This will involve some jumping jacks, body weight squats, jump squats, and lunges. The idea is to kickstart your body and mind and start to use up some of the remaining blood sugar.

Next, you have two options.

Either, go for a 15-20 minute run where you alternate between jogging and sprinting.

By alternating your heart rate and getting into some higher rates, you can boost your metabolism and burn more fat [4].

Alternatively, if you’re trying to gain some muscle tissue and tone up a bit, then try to do 20-minute high-intensity interval training.

You’ll need a few weights, a jump rope, and a yoga mat, and the idea is to have a few workouts that you do at maximum intensity for short bursts of time.

This can burn significantly more body fat, especially after an overnight fast [5].

FAQs

Should You Eat Food before Exercising in the Morning?

If you want to burn more fat, then you shouldn’t eat food before exercising in the morning. Limiting your food intake before exercising forces your body to use fat as the primary fuel source.

Should You Only Exercise in the Morning to Burn Fat?

No, you shouldn’t only exercise in the morning to burn fat. Exercising at any time throughout the day will burn fat as well, but it's most effective to do so in the morning.

If you have the time, then a short HIIT workout in the morning and some other exercise in the afternoon will have a huge impact on weight loss.

Have You Tried Working Out First Thing In The Morning?

I highly recommend that you try exercising on an empty stomach a few days a week and see what kind of results you get after a month.

Even some fasted cardio like jogging can see you burning fat more consistently and getting into much better shape.

And if you need some help to deal with the hunger cravings and some further boosted metabolism, then I recommend that you try a natural fat burner for running.

These supplements trigger natural metabolic responses so that you burn more calories throughout the day, which can get you to your fitness goals significantly faster.


References:

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/well/move/morning-exercise-may-offer-the-most-weight-loss-benefits.html
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27609363/
  3. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/metabolism
  4. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/heart-rate-metabolism-9163.html
  5. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/hiit-belly-fat-burn-workout/2020/12/14/b6ad8b7a-3668-11eb-8d38-6aea1adb3839_story.html

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