Best Time to Exercise for Weight Loss, According to Science

In a Nutshell: The best time to exercise for weight loss is early morning, specifically between 7 and 9 a.m., as it may enhance fat burning.


  • Early morning workouts, specifically between 7 and 9 a.m., have been linked to more effective weight loss, potentially due to exercising in a fasting state.
  • Adherence to exercise routines is often better with morning workouts, highlighting a behavioral advantage in establishing a consistent fitness regimen.
  • The most critical factor for weight loss is regular and consistent exercise, regardless of the time of day, underscoring the importance of finding a workout schedule that fits individual lifestyles and commitments.

The Surprising Impact of Exercise Timing on Weight Loss

Finding the best time to exercise for optimal weight loss has long been a topic of interest.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sheds new light on this subject, suggesting that early morning workouts could be more effective than other times of the day.

Study Insights: The Early Bird Gets the Burn

The CDC’s research, involving over 5,300 participants tracked across three years, revealed a compelling pattern: the best weight loss results were observed in those who exercised between 7 and 9 a.m.

Dr. Travis Frantz, a sports medicine physician, explains that exercising in a fasting state after a night’s sleep might be more beneficial for burning fat compared to later in the day when the body has a ready supply of glycogen.

Is Timing Everything?

While the study indicates a preference for morning workouts, it doesn’t conclusively rule out other times. According to Dr. Frantz, evening exercises have not shown a significant difference in other studies.

However, he notes that morning exercisers often adhere better to their fitness routines, suggesting a behavioral component to this finding.

Dr. Frantz emphasizes the importance of a balanced approach to fitness. Cardiovascular activities and strength training are recommended for effective weight loss. The key, he suggests, is consistency, regardless of the time of day.

Conclusion: Consistency Over Clock Watching

The study concludes that while morning exercises may offer an edge in weight loss, the most important factor is regular, consistent exercise, whether morning, afternoon, or evening.

For those seeking a change or hitting a plateau, a shift to morning workouts might be beneficial, but overall, the best time for exercise is the time that suits your lifestyle and commitment.

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