According to a big new study published in the journal Diabetologia, the time of day when your body—and your metabolism, specifically—get the most out of exercise is in the early evening. The study focused on obese men who lived a sedentary life and ate greasy, fatty diets, and it ultimately found that the ones who performed their exercise at 6:30pm were better able to offset the gnarly effects of their bad diet than those who exercised at 6:30am. The evening exercise crowd also came away with better biomarkers overall.
It's a hugely important study, and definitely something to take into account if you're looking to lose weight, get your blood sugar under control, or you're starting to inch your way back into a healthier, more active lifestyle after living a more sedentary pandemic life. But what it isn't is open-and-shut case for moving your exercise to the evening from the morning.
In fact, there is plenty of science to back up working out in the AM. For starters, it'll wake you up and improve your focus and set the tone for the day. Studies show that if you exercise in the morning, you make better eating decisions throughout the day (so chances are you'll have less of a greasy diet to offset at all). Also, practically speaking, you'll have gotten your exercise in earlier, and you won't have to worry about having to ditch your routine later on.
Oh, and you'll burn lots of fat, too. (Just one caveat: If you're performing more vigorous activities, it's better to fuel up beforehand.) That said, if you want to a great morning that melts fat and works every single major muscle group in your body, do this routine I'm providing below. It takes only five minutes and a pair of dumbbells, and I'd argue that there are few better ways to start your day. Perform each exercise back-to-back in a giant circuit fashion, resting only 15 seconds in between. If you have more time, go ahead and repeat this for 3-4 more sets. And for more life-changing exercise advice, see here for the Secret Exercise Tricks for Keeping Your Weight Down for Good.
Dumbbell Front Squat (45 seconds)
Begin by holding a pair of dumbbells up to your shoulders. Keeping your core tight, push your hips back and squat down until your hips are parallel to the ground. Drive through the heels and hips to stand back up, flexing your quads and glutes to finish. And for some clever ways to work your muscles more every day, don't miss The Secret Trick for Getting Fit Using Your Toothbrush.
Dumbbell Skier + Punch (45 seconds)
Start by holding your dumbbells right by your side. Pull the dumbbells back and swing them up in front of you using your hips. "Punch" the forward, then pull them back to you. Straighten your arms down to your side and repeat.
DB Bent Over Rows (45 seconds)
With your feet shoulder width apart, push your hips back and bend your torso so you're bent forward at least 45 degrees. Tighten your core, and row both dumbbells towards your hips, squeezing your lats at the end. Straighten your arms fully.
Side Plank with Leg Raise (45 seconds each leg)
Get into a side plank position with your shoulder in line with your wrist and feet stacked. Lift your hips up and forward and brace your core.
Leading with your top leg, raise from the heel up as high as you can, flexing the glute at the end of the movement. Lower the leg under control back to starting position before performing another rep. And for more great exercise advice, don't miss the One Surprising Exercise Trick for Losing Belly Fat After 50, Says New Study.