A way to increase fat-burning during exercise can come with a strong cup of coffee, according to a new study.
Caffeine — or a strong coffee — ingested half an hour before aerobic exercise provides a big boost to fat-burning, especially if the exercise is performed in the afternoon.
The study, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, aimed to see whether caffeine increases oxidation — or burning — of fat during exercise.
While caffeine can be consumed through supplements, researchers wanted to know whether the beneficial claims it advertises can actually match results.
“The recommendation to exercise on an empty stomach in the morning to increase fat oxidation is commonplace. However, this recommendation may be lacking a scientific basis, as it is unknown whether this increase is due to exercising in the morning or due to going without food for a longer period of time,” Francisco Jose Amaro-Gahete, PhD, a physiologist at the University of Granda, said in a statement.
The study consisted of 15 men that completed an exercise test four times at seven-day intervals. Participants were either given 3 mg of caffeine (3 mg per every kilogram of body weight) or a placebo in the morning (8 a.m.) and in the evening (5 p.m.). The caffeine was packaged in green coffee bean powder, which was unflavored, uncolored and odorless.
The interval exercises — cycling exercises — were designed in random order, meaning there was no structure to the workout schedule. Researchers standardized the conditions before each exercise test — including hours elapsed since last meal, physical exercise, or consumption of stimulant substances, according to the study.
Upon completion of the study, researchers determined that taking a dose of caffeine a half hour before an exercise increased fat oxidation during the routine no matter what time of day, but for those wanting more fat-burning benefits, it was optimized in afternoons than in the morning.
“These results suggest that a combination of acute caffeine intake and exercise at moderate intensity in the afternoon provides the best scenario for individuals seeking to increase whole-body fat oxidation during aerobic exercise,” researchers said in the study.
Here’s a breakdown of how caffeine benefit fat oxidation levels compared to the placebo group:
- 10.7% increase in mornings; 29% increase in the afternoon.
- Exercise intensity increased by 11% in mornings; 13% in the afternoon.
- Oxygen intake higher in afternoon when compared to mornings.
“The results of our study showed that acute caffeine ingestion 30 minutes before performing an aerobic exercise test increased maximum fat oxidation during exercise regardless of the time of day,” said Francisco J. Amaro.
While spring is here and the weather is turning, another idea for burning more fat could be exercising outdoors. A study by researchers in Canada found that performing high-intensity interval training outdoors in cooler weather can burn more fat than indoor routines of the same magnitude. They found that temperature plays a role in increasing metabolism speed.