What time in the gym do you lose more fat and gain more muscle?

Research states that exercising at a certain time of day has different effects on men and women. And choosing the best time also depends on our fitness goals.

Eugenio Spagnuolo

– Milan

There is the best time to lose weight and the right time to gain muscle mass. And – surprise – it’s not the same and the mechanism works differently for men and women. To say it is a study published a few days ago in the scientific journal Frontiers in Physiology, which examined the relationship between training time and results achieved. Finding out what are the right times to exercise to lose fat and increase strength.

What time to train to lose fat?

Experts call it ETOD, an acronym for “Exercise Time Of Day” (the hour of the daily exercise, ed): it’s the right time of day to train. A very variable parameter that depends on age, personal characteristics and goals. But also from sex. According to researchers from some universities, including California University, men and women can benefit from training at different times. For instance, women who work out in the morning would be more likely to lose excess abdominal fat, while men should work out in the evening to burn more fat. How can this be explained?

men and women in the gym

The American study is the first that tries to demonstrate how changing the time of our training can lead to different results depending on the sex. “This is the first time a study has shown that for women, working out in the morning reduces abdominal fat and blood pressure, while exercising in the evening increases upper body muscle strength, power and endurance and improves mood. general, “says Paul Arciero, a lecturer in the Department of Human Health and Physiological Sciences at Skidmore College.” In the case of men, however, evening exercise lowers blood pressure, the risk of heart disease and the feeling of fatigue and burns more fat than morning exercise. “

What time to train to lose fat: the study

The researchers recruited 30 women and 26 men, between the ages of 25 and 55, who were generally healthy, active, non-smokers and normal-weight. For 12 weeks, they all trained with the RISE program, which focuses on strength training, interval training, stretching or resistance training for 60 minutes 4 times a week. But half of the participants trained in the morning between 6:30 and 8:30 and the other half did it between 18:00 and 20:00. With the difference that those who trained in the morning did not eat before the session, but ate 4 meals at 4 hour intervals after, while the group evening had already eaten 3 meals before training (and one last after).

The results of the study

The researchers measured the participants’ physical health, evaluating their aerobic power, muscle strength and endurance, flexibility, balance, and their jumping ability. In addition, they monitored each volunteer’s blood pressure and heart health markers, such as arterial stiffness, total and “good” HDL cholesterol, and fat percentage. The first discovery was that the RISE program’s mix of exercises, which alternates between aerobic and anaerobic activity, improves all health indicators, regardless of when you train.. “Our study attests to the benefits of multimodal exercise (RISE), both morning and evening, for improving cardio-metabolic health and mood, as well as physical performance in women and men,” comment the researchers. But they also made another discovery …

The right time to train

While exercising at any time of day has positive health effects, scientists have also noted some key differences between those who worked out in the morning and those who did it in the evening.

  • Notably, all participants reduced total body fat and blood pressure during the 12 weeks, but women who worked out in the morning achieved greater reduction in abdominal and hip fat.
  • Men, on the other hand, were more likely to see improvements in cholesterol, blood pressure, and carbohydrate oxidation by exercising in the evening.
  • “Based on our results, women interested in reducing belly fat and blood pressure, while increasing leg muscle power, should consider working out in the morning. While women interested in increasing the strength, power and endurance of upper body muscles, as well as improving overall mood and food intake, are better off aiming for evening exercise, “says the Doctor Archer.
  • “In reverse, evening exercise is ideal for men interested in improving heart and metabolic health as well as emotional well-being. “

“ETOD should be an important criterion for everyone, women and men, given its effects on the strength of the physiological results of exercise. But no matter what time you train, regular exercise is essential for our health, ”adds Stephen Ives, associate professor at Skidmore College. if it is true that at a certain time of day, our body seems to be more reactive to a certain type of physical activity, it is also true that what matters most is to train regularly. Whether it’s burning fat or gaining muscle mass, consistency is always the secret.



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