Lack of Effect of Exercise Time of Day on Acute Energy Intake in Healthy Men

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Katriona J.M O’Donoghue
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Paul A. Fournier
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Kym J. Guelfi
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Although the manipulation of exercise and dietary intake to achieve successful weight loss has been extensively studied, it is unclear how the time of day that exercise is performed may affect subsequent energy intake. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effect of an acute bout of exercise performed in the morning compared with an equivalent bout of exercise performed in the afternoon on short-term energy intake. Nine healthy male participants completed 3 trials: morning exercise (AM), afternoon exercise (PM), or control (no exercise; CON) in a randomized counterbalanced design. Exercise consisted of 45 min of treadmill running at 75% VO2peak. Energy intake was assessed over a 26-hr period with the participants eating ad libitum from a standard assortment of food items of known quantity and composition. There was no significant difference in overall energy intake (M ± SD; CON 23,505 ± 6,938 kJ, AM 24,957 ± 5,607 kJ, PM 24,560 ± 5,988 kJ; p = .590) or macronutrient preferences during the 26-hr period examined between trials. Likewise, no differences in energy intake or macronutrient preferences were observed at any of the specific individual meal periods examined (i.e., breakfast, lunch, dinner) between trials. These results suggest that the time of day that exercise is performed does not significantly affect short-term energy intake in healthy men.

The authors are with the School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia.

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