Morning vs Afternoon Training Debate: The False Dichotomy

Morning vs Afternoon Training Debate: The False Dichotomy

Should we exercise in the morning or evening? Before eating or after eating?

Popular media outlets, researchers and doctors seem to love this debate. I hate them. To me, that’s a false dichotomy. False dichotomy is when people argue two sides as if there is only one choice. Winners must be crowned, and losers exist. But in reality, there is a gray zone, and/or a number of options available. For me, working out any time is a win.

Michael C. Riddell

Some but not all research suggests that morning fasting exercise may be the best time and condition to exercise for weight control and training adaptation. Morning exercise may be slightly better for logistical reasons if you want to get up early. Some of us are indeed early chronotypes who wake up early, get as much done as we can, including all fitness and work-related activities, and then go to bed early (for me around 10pm). Exercising in the morning seems to fit into our schedule as morning birds.

But if you’re an end-of-day chronotype, early workouts may not align with your low morning energy levels or your preference for leisure activities later in the day. And many diabetics prefer to eat and then exercise. Late chronotypes are generally less physically active than early chronotypes, and those who train in the morning tend to have better training compliance and expend more energy throughout the day. According to Dr Normand Boulé of the University of Alberta, who presented the topic of exercise timing at the recent American Diabetes Association (ADA) Scientific Sessions in San Diego, morning exercise in a fasted state tends to be associated with higher rates of diabetes. fat oxidation, better weight control, and better adaptation of skeletal muscles over time compared to later exercise. Dr Boulé also proposes that fasting exercise may be superior for exercise adaptation and long-term glycemia if you have type 2 diabetes.

But the argument for morning exercise alone fails when we look specifically at post-meal glycemia, according to Dr Jenna Gillen of the University of Toronto, who debated Boulé at the recent ADA Scientific Sessions debate, also in San Diego, and also published on the topic. He shows that light to moderate intensity exercise done immediately after a meal usually results in fewer post-meal glucose spikes in people with diabetes, and his argument is supported by at least one recent meta-analysis of which post-meal walking is best for boosting. glycemia in those with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

The notion that exercise after a meal or late in the day is best for people with type 2 diabetes is also supported by a recent re-examination of the original Look AHEAD Trial of over 2400 adults with type 2 diabetes, in which the role of lifestyle interventions in cardiovascular outcome was the original goal. In a recent secondary analysis from the Look AHEAD Trial, those who were most active in the afternoon (between 1:43 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.) experienced the greatest improvement in their overall glucose control after 1 year of intensive lifestyle intervention compared to exercising at other times of day. . Afternoon exercisers were also more likely to have complete “remission” from their diabetes, as defined by no longer needing glucose-lowering agents to control their glucose levels. But this is not a study designed to determine whether exercise time of day matters on glycemia because participants were not randomly assigned to a set time of day for their activity, and glycemic control is not a primary end point (cardiovascular events).

But wait a minute. I say this is a false dichotomous argument. He. Just because it may or may not be “better” for your glucose to exercise in the morning vs. the afternoon, if you have diabetes, doesn’t mean you have to choose one or the other. You can choose neither (okay, that’s bad), both, or you can choose both. To me this argument is like saying; “There is only one time in a day to save money”; “to tell a joke”; “to eat” (okay, that’s another pointless debate); or “do the laundry” (my mom once told me it’s technically cheaper after 6 p.m.!).

I live with diabetes, and I take insulin. I love how morning exercise in the form of a run with my dog ​​wakes me up, sets me up for the day on a positive note, helps generate lots of creative ideas, and perhaps more importantly for me, it’s less likely to result in hypoglycemia since my insulin is at its lowest.

Later training is complicated when taking insulin because it tends to produce a higher “potency effect” of insulin with prandial insulin. However, I still love midday activities and afternoon workouts. For example, a post-lunch activity break blunts my glucose rise and breaks up my long hours of sitting at the office. After-dinner exercise allows me to spend more time with my wife, dogs, or friends outdoors as the summer days start to cool off. On Monday nights, I play basketball because that’s the only time we can book a gym and it probably won’t end until 9:45 p.m. (15 minutes before I want to go to bed; if you remember, I’m a bird). That can result in two frustrating things related to my diabetes: It can cause an immediate spike in my glucose due to a competitive stress response and then a drop in my glucose overnight while I’m sleeping. But I still do it. I know that the training I do at any time of day will benefit me in many small ways, and I think we all need to take as many opportunities to be physically active as possible. My kids and I consider this our daily “fitness opportunity,” and it doesn’t matter to me if it’s morning, noon, or night!

It’s time to make the headlines and arguments stop. There’s no wrong time to exercise. At least not in my opinion.

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