Morning Exercise May Prevent Snack Attacks

A good workout in the morning could prevent snacking later in the day, according to data from Loughborough University in England. Exercisers who ran for 60 minutes at about 70 percent of their top effort (70% Max Heart Rate or 7 on the RPE scale of 1-10) before breakfast reported less hunger for two hours after eating, compared with those who did not exercise before the same meal. Their conclusion is that intense training may suppress an appetite-fueling hormone, so you're less tempted to munch in between meals.

Action Sparked: Many people find that morning exercise helps them regulate their appetites for the rest of the day. Not only do they eat less (since activity causes the release of endorphins, which in turn diminishes appetite), they also choose smaller portions of healthier foods.

Although SparkPeople recommends eating something before a morning workout, many people wait to have breakfast until after exercise is done. Regardless of when you eat it (before or after exercise), breakfast helps speed up your metabolism and can aid in weight loss. Enjoying foods high in protein, complex carbs and healthy fats will help you avoid the temptation of the vending machine before lunch.
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Member Comments

You don't have to do it for an hour, in fact, it's better to do increments of time. Do 15 or 20 min. on an exercise bike in the AM, while watching morning news. Then go do your stuff and get to work. That leaves you 40 min. during the rest of the day to divvy up for yourself. Maybe you have 20 more minutes when you get home, get on the bike while watching tv. You can do it!! After years of exercise biking in the morning, it really does not keep you from eating or snacking, now and then it might, but, just things going on in your daily life is what leads you to foods now and then.............
....... Report
I keep trying to start an exercise thing for my mornings, but I can't even see straight when I get up. When getting dressed is a chore, it's really hard to make yourself do even a semi-intense workout....especi
ally for an entire hour! Report
I have to have some juice and maybe half an engery bar or a small protein smoothie forbore I start out.
When I finish that's when I have breakfast. I always find i am not as hungry.
I I have a reg. breakfast I hardly feel like going out to walk or jog.
Tisha Report
I do my exercising after work. I eat a light lunch so I am ready when I get home at 2:30 and it does the same thing for me. Report
I agree with this article. For the past, almost 2 months, it has become a welcome habit to exercise first thing in the am before I eat or prepare breakfast.
Thank you Spark! Report
No, actually eating breakfast does not "speed up your metabolism." The thermic effect of digesting food applies regardless of when it is eaten. There is no magic bonus for eating early in the AM. Report
I have to agree that this really works (for me at least). Immediately after finishing the workout you may feel really hungry, but 20 minutes later the hunger and appetite goes away for a few good hours. Report
For me, this is not always true. If I work out first thing in the AM, I need a small breakfast before I start. If I do a moderate workout, then the appetite suppression may work, but if I do an intense work out, then my appetite kicks into overdrive. Like this morning I swam crawl for an hour and a half and was ready to eat a second breakfast and even dig into my lunch. Report
Ok, wait a minute. This is a "Fitness News Flash" that I earned points on in 2008?
I love Spark, but holy cow. Can we pretty please get some more recent fitness news? Report
In order for me to be consistent with exercise, I have to do it in the morning. I really hate the feeling I have when exercising later in the day and am full of food; I feel slower and heavier. Though I have found if I don't eat something before exercising, I have no energy, get light-headed, develop a headache, and stop being the end of my workout. So I've found that having half a green smoothie before working out gives me enough energy and keeps the light-headedness away. After working out, I'll have the rest of my breakfast, be it a poached egg on whole grain toast, or oatmeal with fruit. Splitting up my breakfast this way has really helped keep me on track and gives me energy for the rest of the day. Report
I find that working out in the morning helps start the day with a healthy mindset that continues for the rest of the day. I do a small snack before exercise and a small breakfast afterwards, then a small snack three hours later. I think working out in the morning makes me hungrier due to the calories I've burned so I always eat small bites every few hours to keep the blood sugar stable. Report
Being pre-diabetic, I MUST eat first thing in the morning. The post-breakfast workout does work best for me...helps me feel successful right away. Report
I always go for my walk before breakfast, then settle in for the day's work after having breakfast. Report
I find this to be very true for me. at first i was very hesitant to do any exercise before eating because i get light-headed when i don't eat in time.
But i started going for walks every morning, it helps kick-start my day. To those of you who need coffee to function, i feel like before my morning walk, i am not fully awake. After my walk my food choice is clear, and don't feel as hungry as i did right after waking up. Report
I find if I have anything heavier than a small glass of orange juice, I lose ALL motivation to exercise. So I tend to do my workout right after I get out of bed or it just doesn't get done! Report


About The Author

Jen Mueller
Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, medical exercise specialist, behavior change specialist and functional training specialist. She is also a RRCA-certified running coach. See all of Jen's articles.
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