Probably not what you want to hear… but it appears the best time to exercise is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. You may get you better/faster results when trying to lose weight. According to a recent article in the New York Times, researchers in Belgium did a study in 2010 where they persuaded young, healthy men to stuff themselves for six weeks with a diet consisting of 30 percent more calories and 50 percent more fat than the men had been eating.
They broke them into three groups. Some of the men remained sedentary while eating their additional calories while others began a strenuous, midmorning exercise routine after they had had breakfast. The third group followed the same workout regimen, but before they had eaten anything.
At the end of the six weeks, the sedentary group predictably had gained about six pounds each (of course, at our age, we would have gained three times that!). They had also developed insulin resistance and new fat cells. The men who exercised after breakfast gained weight but only three pounds each. However, they developed insulin problems, as well.
But, the men who had exercised first thing in the morning, before eating anything, had gained almost no weight and retained healthy insulin levels. Their bodies were also burning more fat throughout the day than were the other men.
Logic would tell you that if exercising before breakfast helped you not gain weight when you were eating more, then one would lose weight if they continued to consume the same amount of calories and exercised first thing in the morning.
How much exercise, you ask? According to a Wall Street Journal article, Why Everything You Know About Aging Is Probably Wrong, more exercise isn’t better. There seems to be a point where you get a diminishing return. A fairly modest dose of running, for example, apparently provides as much benefit as a lot of running.
So the takeaway would be; doing some sort of exercise (doesn’t sound like it has to be a lot), on most days, that gets your heart rate up – and do it first thing in the morning before you eat breakfast. If you keep your calorie intake the same, you should lose weight and if you don’t need to lose weight, you may be able to enjoy a few treats without gaining weight! Sounds like a plan.