Ever hear of leptin? Many people call it your “fat burning hormone” or “hunger hormone.” That’s because when leptin levels rise, your metabolic rate speeds up. Now, doctors are discovering that leptin also regulates mood. Here’s how to make the most of this newly discovered mood-metabolism connection to boost fat burning, get a better workout, and support an unstoppable mood all day long.
This workout trick uses your body’s leptin-mood connection to boost motivation to exercise.
Leptin is a hunger hormone that regulates fat breakdown. It’s called the “hunger hormone” because low levels of leptin appetite increases.
When leptin levels go up, metabolic rate speeds up. When leptin levels go down, metabolic rate slows down. Metabolic rate is how many calories you burn. That’s what determines if you have a slow or a fast metabolism.
Doctors are now discovering that leptin is also linked to our mood.
That means leptin doesn’t just impact how fast or slow your metabolism moves, it can also have an impact on your mood, your outlook, and how motivated you are to exercise!
Here’s one way to make this most of this leptin-mood connection to blast off more fat while increasing your motivation to exercise. Every time I’ve tried this, I’ve had an amazing workout (even though I was a little groggy at first—it’s worth it!).
Trick: Try Exercising on “Empty” (or Early in the Morning)
Ever hear of “fasted exercise?”
It’s a trick that some people use to force their bodies to burn more fat. The idea is this: When you first wake up in the morning, your body doesn’t have a lot of glucose stored to burn for fuel (because you haven’t eaten in a while), so you do your workout right away, and your body is forced to burn fat for fuel.
Neat trick! But here’s an added mood-boosting advantage:
Recent studies show that when leptin levels decline, dopamine production increases.
That means motivation to exercise increases too. A study published in Cell Metabolism suggests that this connection might be the reason why some runners experience a “runner’s high.”
Long ago, this might have worked as a survival mechanism. In prehistoric times, we were hunter-gatherers. The idea is that this hunger-motivation connection might have helped us stay focused on finding food when we needed it the most. The mood boost meant more motivation and increased stamina for our ancestors – we can use it to get a better workout!
Try this trick and exercise in the morning before you eat breakfast. Your motivation to workout more and workout harder will increase!
- Running on Empty: Leptin Signaling in VTA Regulates Reward from Physical Activity: https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/comments/S1550-4131(15)00478-7
- Leptin Suppresses the Rewarding Effects of Running via STAT3 Signaling in Dopamine Neurons.: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26341832
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