This is the best time of day to workout to improve fat metabolism, scientific study reveals

Do you exercise at this time of day?

Man running
(Image credit: Getty)

There have been fierce debates for years, over whether exercising in the morning or evening is best for you.

While some of us can't bear the thought of working out in the morning, others love starting their day with a good sweat. But now new research could help to clear up whether a morning v's evening exercise session can help us to improve fat metabolism.

The study shows evening exercise to be more effective than morning exercise - especially if you're a male with a high-fat diet. The research involved 24 sedentary, overweight Australian men and tested their fat loss after a high-fat diet and exercise.

The study is an interesting one if you're constantly looking for the best exercises for weight loss.  However, the scientist, associated with the study, also went on to say that 'any exercise is better than none'.

Couple keeping fit over 40

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The study, published last May, called Diabetologia, was undertaken by scientists at the Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research at Australian Catholic University and saw them test the 24 men while giving them different exercise routines and a high-fat diet.

Splitting the men into groups, and setting them all up on the same diet, which consisted of 65 per cent fat, a third of the men exercised in the mornings, a third exercised in the evenings and the other third did no exercise at all.

After five days the scientists found that the men who had exercised in the evenings had lowered their cholesterol levels, had improved patterns of molecules related to cardiovascular health in their bloodstream and developed better blood sugar control. While the men who had exercised in the morning showed heightened cholesterol levels, because of the high-fat diet. 

Trine Moholdt, an exercise scientist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, who led the study in Australia said that the overall message of this research is that “the evening exercise reversed or lowered some of the changes that accompanied the high-fat diet  - while morning exercise did not.”

However, she did go on to say that, despite their higher cholesterol levels, the men in the morning exercise group did become more aerobically fit, and warned: “I know people know this, but any exercise is better than not exercising."

So, if you're a morning gym bunny, hop back on that treadmill - no excuses. 

Sarah Finley

Sarah is a freelance journalist who writes about fitness and wellbeing for the BBC, Woman&Home and Tech Radar. During lockdown she found her love of running outside again and now attempts to run around 50 miles a month. When it comes to other fitness, she loves a sweaty cardio session – although since she’s been working out from home she’s sure her downstairs neighbors aren’t too happy about it. She also loves to challenge herself - and has signed up to do hiking holidays, intense bootcamps and last year she went on her dream activity holiday: paddle boarding around deserted islands in Croatia. On her rest days, she loves to recover with a simple yoga flow session – the perfect antidote to her active fitness schedule.