Would I achieve the same level of progress in terms of burning body fat if I were to do 1 hour of cardio late in the evening between 9-10 pm before going to bed and have my last meal before 7 PM? Does it matter what time of the day cardio exercise should be done? Also, do you think I can shrink my spare tire around my waist with an aggressive running schedule of 6 days a week for an hour each session?
When is the right time to do cardio? Is it in the morning, afternoon or at night? This is one question that we see asked quite often. Ultimately the answer may be selected more so by your body then by you. This is because everyone’s body reacts differently so some people who try to do cardio late at night experience trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep or even reports of waking up in the middle of the night in a sweat with heart palpitations (others report just the opposite). Some find that doing cardio late at night or in the evenings tired them out and put them in a great state to get a solid night of sleep.
From the perspective of fat burning, most would find that an evening workout can be just as effective as a brisk morning cardio session. But some would say that there are benefits to doing cardio at different times of the day. Some experts say that morning cardio on an empty stomach is the most effective way to burn fat. This is because your body has just fasted for 6 to 8 hours without food so it’s forced to pull from fat reserves to sustain the level of activity needed to put in a 30-60 minute cardio session. So, the argument made here is that thanks to glucose being used up while you sleep, body fat is ready to be utilized much more efficiently in the morning so it becomes the ideal time to burn off those extra fat reserves. If you end up doing cardio later in the day after eating a carbohydrate meal, your body will need to burn up those carbs (glycogen) before tapping into your fat reserves so it might take up to 30 minutes of cardio before you actually burn off all those carbs and start burning fat.
On the other hand, advocates of evening cardio will state that because the body is already “warmed up” thanks to the day’s activities, you will therefore notice a performance advantage versus doing cardio in the morning. It has also been stated that some evening cardio will help clear your mind and release tension from the day’s activities. However, late night exercise can delay sleep or potentially hinder you from getting a good nights sleep if you get too amped up during your workout. The one important key to remember with late night cardio is when you avoid eating any carbs post-workout. If you do 60 minutes of cardio a few hours after your last meal of the day, you might benefit greatly from a late session of cardio since your body will tap into your fat stores as you sleep. Just remember to avoid eating any carbs once you’re finished doing your cardio workout. You can eat some protein (egg whites, chicken breast) but avoid all starches (rice, bread, pasta, potatoes) and fruit once you are all finished in order to prime your body so it can tap directly into your fat stores and start burning up all that ugly adipose tissue!
As a side note, a study released by the Research Institute for Sports and Exercise Sciences at Liverpool indicated that individuals who suffer from high blood pressure are better off to delay strenuous exercise or cardio workouts until mid-to-late afternoon. They claim that working out early in the morning actually serves to increase blood pressure and this also happens to coincide with the time that a vast majority of life-threatening heart related events happen. Their studies also indicated that working out early in the morning does tend to burn more body fat than afternoon workouts but the body may also break down lean muscle tissue in order to provide additional glucose to your brain. If you want to perform cardio in the morning on an empty stomach, it’s always a good idea to drink a BCAA supplement (Branched Chain Amino Acids) which has zero calories and zero carbs so you can provide the key aminos your muscles need to fully recover and repair during your workout.
As to whether or not a one hour cardio routine carried out six times a week will be enough to remove the excess belly fat located around your midsection, we must look at a couple of different factors to determine this. There is no reason to think that a good one hour cardio workout that will burn 500 to 1,000 calories wouldn’t get the job done. However, we also should have an understanding about your caloric intake. A quick and easy way to figure out whether or not this would be affected is to realize that a pound of fat is about 3,500 calories. So as long as you’re burning more calories on a daily basis then you’re taking in, then you will lose weight and once you burn 3,500 calories more than you have taken in, you will have lost a pound of fat!
A running schedule of 6 days a week for an hour each session will absolutely provide great results in decreasing your waistline and overall body fat. However, running for 1 hour each session is not exactly easy. If you can handle it, more power to you since it’s probably the best overall cardio exercise for losing weight and burning body fat. Even if you do 30 minutes of jogging 6 times a week, you should see very good results. Just make sure not to go overboard and run too hard or too long and burn out too quick. Mix up your cardio and keep it fun. Maybe try 1-2 days of running, then 1-2 days of jumping rope and a few days of basketball. The key is to keep it interesting so you can do it day in and day out. Stick with your routine and follow the tips above to maximize your fat burning potential to achieve your goals of a lean and ripped stomach!