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The Secret to Maximize Fat Loss During Exercise

There's a simple secret to maximize fat loss during exercise based on when you exercise

The Secret – Exercise First Thing in the Morning

Cycling as a form of exerciseYour body stores clean and easily accessible energy in a form called “glycogen.” Your body has to use up this storehouse of energy before it can significantly burn that excess fat you are targeting.

Between the last meal of the day and the time that you wake up in the morning is usually the longest time a person goes without eating and when glycogen stores are most depleted. This is prime time for fat burning!

During the day we usually feed ourselves fairly well and provide our body with plenty of glucose. When we workout during the day we end up burning that daily energy supply first before ever tapping into those old fat stores. In the morning, it’s a different story; without post-meal glucose and minimal to no glycogen, the body is forced to start “burning fat” in order to meet its energy requirements.

Therefore, make sure you take advantage of this and exercise in the morning – after waking and before eating breakfast!

Further Explained

Glucose – #1 Fuel Source

Glucose (derived from dietary carbohydrates/sugar) is the primary fuel source for our bodies. Organs like the brain cannot survive without any other energy source. Luckily, when you have an excess of glucose, your body can store it in your liver and muscles as glycogen to be used later when there is a greater energy demand. The body can also synthesize its own glucose from other means when it needs to. More about this later.

When you eat a meal (that contains carbohydrates), the carbs are digested and broken down into glucose. The glucose that isn’t required for your body’s immediate energy needs become stored as glycogen. After all of your glycogen stores become filled up, your body then starts storing the excess glucose in fat cells, which eventually results in noticeable fat gain.

Excess sugar consumption is a more common culprit for fat gain than eating dietary fat itself and has been a confusing area for many. Who can blame them? The ideas about our nutrition have been warped and manipulated by food industry’s exploitative media campaigns and marketing strategies.

Glycogen, Marathons & Carb Loading

Marathon runners use a technique called "carb loading" to create a high amount of glycogen storesHave you ever heard of distance runners “Carb Loading” before a long race? The principle behind this is that by eating a TON of carbohydrates the night before a race, your body will store a wealth of extra glucose in the form of glycogen that the body can readily release for energy the next day during the race. Glycogen is quick, stored energy and does not require much work from the body to be put back into the energy workforce.

Fat Storage and Fat Burning

Woman grabbing abdominal fat with handYour body requires glucose and will first take it from the glucose present in the blood after a meal. Once that glucose is exhausted, the body senses this and begins breaking down your glycogen (stored glucose) back into glucose that can be used for energy needs. Finally, once that supply has been exhausted, your body starts breaking down fats and proteins and uses other components to synthesize its own glucose (gluconeogenesis). This final stage is when you experience the most fat loss… and muscle loss if you aren’t eating enough protein.

To recap, your body will achieve its glucose supply in the following order:

  1. Post meal blood glucose – Circulating blood glucose present after a meal
  2. Glycogen stores – Excess glucose stored in the liver and muscles
  3. Gluconeogenesis – Glucose synthesized by the body using other means

Your body “burns” the most fat once it has exhausted energy supply number’s 1 and 2. This physiological state is most common in the morning after waking from a long absence of food. 

Morning Magic

It's as magic as Harry PotterNow you know the best time to exercise for maximum fat loss; after a period of fasting, which for most people tends to be in the morning after waking. So start your day with an invigorating run or other form of exercise and really capitalize on your fat burning potential.



About Doctor Scott Health

Dr. Scott McLeod, PharmD is an independent researcher, health advocate and author living in Santa Barbara, CA. For more information about Scott and Doctor Scott Health please visit the 'About' section, here.

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