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by Laura Schwecherl ∑ Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 04:38 pm GMT -4 ∑ Fitness

Exercise burns calories, but a morning workout may actually make us skip that delicious egg sandwich. A new study conducted at Brigham Young University discovered that 45 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous morning exercise actually reduced a personís motivation to hit the fridge afterwards.

The Study
Researchers measured the brain activity of 35 women while they looked at 240 images ó half were of food, and the other half flowers. The first measurement took place right after 45 minutes of brisk walking on a treadmill; a week later, the same neural activity was measured but without the exercise. The results found that the morning workout led to lower brain responses to the pictures of food.

Interestingly, scientists also found that participants ate roughly the same amount of calories on both days, regardless of exercise. The 45-minute workout also led to an increased amount of physical activity throughout the day.

Can We Trust It?
For starters, the workout in this experiment was 45 minutes of treadmill walking, leaving us wondering if food cravings would increase with more rigorous or sustained exercise. (Half-marathon or interval training, anyone?) Moreover, the study measured brain activity directly after working out, failing to address the question of how long a lack of food motivation may last.

Yet, this experiment does question whether itís smart to fill up on food immediately after working out, which can lead to unnecessary weight gain (if we overdo it). Itís important to consume a good balance of carbs, protein, and fat after a workout to aid in recovery, but itís just as important to listen to our bodies to really check hunger-level[1].

The Takeaway
What to do, then? Skip the stack of pancakes and enjoy a healthy post-workout snack (like a protein shake!) to refuel the right way.

Have something to say? Leave it in the comments below, or tweet the author at @lschwech.

Would you dance with the Devil in the pale moonlight?
I trust that I will be given everything I need and in far greater ways than I can imagine.

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