Circadian rhythms – exercise & meal timing

Two studies on exercise and a review on meal timing.

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Single-session exercise studies show better performance in the afternoon, although this is trainable – consistent AM training improves performance in the AM and PM whereas consistent PM training does not improve AM performance.

Chronotype effects? Circadian rhythms?

But that’s neither here nor there. Exercise is better than no exercise, and if you have the luxury to choose, evidence favors AM.

Comparison between the effect of 6 weeks of morning or evening aerobic exercise on appetite and anthropometric indices: a randomized controlled trial (Alizadeh et al., 2017).

Good study – main outcomes were body weight, appetite, and ad lib food intake.

Exercise doesn’t burn a whole lot of calories but it’s very good for you. A goal of this study was to see if exercise timing influenced appetite and ad lib food intake, which have a greater role in regulating body composition.

The exercise intervention was modest, ~30 minutes of cardio in the morning or afternoon. Main findings: significantly greater reduction in body weight, BMI, waist circumference, abdominal circumference, and abdominal skin fold thickness in the morning exercise group.

The morning group also spontaneously ate less throughout the day despite no difference in appetite/hunger scores or exercise intensity between the groups. Boom.

Does AM exercise and skewing kcals earlier in the day work for you? Will you try it?

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