Posted by: Kimmi | 2008/05/26

Best time to exercise

Hi Doc!
I have heard so many views on the best time to exercise and I know that the answer should be: whatever feels best for you.
However, I am now on holiday for 5 weeks and can pick my excerise time and the time of day does not really bother me.
I have heard that the best time to work out is in the mornings, before breakfast and for this to be really optimal to keep the heart rate at the fat burning zone and not go higher into the cardio zone. How true is this?

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Our expert says:
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Hi Kimmi

Apologies for the late reply - been a week off work and with relatively little time to answer questions.

The idea about exercising in the morning without eating before, is that the body is then forced to use fat because the glucose levels and the storage levels of sugars are reduced overnight. That’s probably at least partly right, and so if you can exercise without eating, then go for it. The problem, however, is that if your body runs out of glucose, you may not be able to exercise at all, because the body cannot use just fat. It needs some glucose all the time, and so you have take into account the following factors as well:

• The intensity of the training: if the intensity is too high, you have the risk of becoming hypoglycaemic.
• The duration of the training: if you exercise too long, you also have a risk of becoming hypoglycaemic.

Generally, you can get away with one hour of moderate exercise, but very hard, or very long exercise is probably not a great idea, because of this risk of running out of energy during the session, which is not a pleasant experience.

Obviously, the final consideration is the "big picture", which is that you have this choice now, but perhaps in a few weeks time, you won't any longer. therefore, it may be best, for the sake of routine, to train at the same time you know you'll be training at later on, so that in 5 weeks' time, you don't have to suddenly shift it around again.

Good luck!

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