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The Brain & Body Boost, Benefits Of Big Breakfasts, & Couple Gym Goals | This Week’s Top Studies

The Brain & Body Boost, Benefits Of Big Breakfasts, & Couple Gym Goals | This Week’s Top Studies
Evangeline Howarth
Writer and expert4 years ago
View Evangeline Howarth's profile

Want to stay up to date on the latest in cutting edge sports science? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This week, we’re looking at whether how you exercise can boost brain power, if exercise with your SO strengthens your relationship, and whether a big breakfast is the answer to burning calories. Let’s find out…


Boost brain and body power

While both high-intensity training and endurance training both have their benefits for fitness, you may not have thought about their impact on the mind while you’re sweating it out. According to a recent study, just like for your body, high- and lower-intensity exercise can both have differing positive responses on brain health.1

The study was pretty small, only looking at 25 males over the course of an hour’s workout, so more research needs to be done here, but the results are definitely interesting. MRI scans were used to measure blood flow to different parts of their brains. During low-intensity exercise, the parts of the brain involved with information processing and attention lit up, whereas parts of the brain dealing with emotional processes lit up during high-intensity exercise.

The research suggests that you should mix up the high-intensity with the low, so that you can work your brain (and your body) in different ways.


Couples who train together stay together

Like to sweat it out with your SO? Well, you’re not alone. According to a survey carried out by Decathlon, a massive 66% of British people surveyed agree that working out with their partner has improved their relationship.2 In fact, out of the 7,600 Brits asked, nearly half (43%) exercised regularly with their partner — and 21% said it even made them feel more attracted to their partner (who’d have thought?!).

The top training session to take on together was actually swimming — any excuse to see them in something skimpy, eh?


Fill your breakfast bowl

If you’re watching what you eat, but keep tripping up on snacks, then this could be the study for you. A recent study compared the differences between eating your biggest meal in the morning versus in the evening, with interesting conclusions.3

The research found that having a meal at breakfast caused doubly high diet-induced thermogenesis (energy expended to digest food) than when the same meal was eaten in the evening. Even though the 16 men ate exactly the same calories on the first day when they ate the meal for breakfast as on the second day when they ate the same meal for dinner, they also found that they had an increased appetite for sweets when having the smaller breakfast.

This study is still pretty small and it would be interesting to see the long-term effects of both diets on a larger scale of subjects.


Take home message

Well, if you needed an excuse for that full English, or to drag your partner along to the gym, then you’ve just got one. Why not mix it up by starting with some HIIT and finishing with a nice swim?

Enjoy reading up on studies?



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1. Schmitt, A., Upadhyay, N., Martin, J. A., Rojas, S., Strüder, H. K., & Boecker, H. (2019). Modulation of Distinct Intrinsic Resting State Brain Networks by Acute Exercise Bouts of Differing IntensityBrain Plasticity, (Preprint), 1-17.


3. Richter, J., Herzog, N., Janka, S., Baumann, T., Kistenmacher, A., & Oltmanns, K. M. (2020). Twice as High Diet-Induced Thermogenesis After Breakfast vs Dinner On High-Calorie as Well as Low-Calorie Meals. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism105(3), dgz311.

Evangeline Howarth
Writer and expert
View Evangeline Howarth's profile

Evangeline has taken part in competitive sports since a young age. As a qualified RYA Dinghy Instructor, she understands the importance of proper nutrition for fuelling extreme and endurance sports, especially due to her experience in Team GBR Squads and captaining and coaching her University first team.

In her spare time, Evangeline loves running – especially marathons. On the weekends, you’ll find her taking on water sports or hiking up a hill. Her favourite evenings are spent taking on a HIIT session or squats in the gym before digging into some spicy food and a ton of vegetables – yum!

Find out more about Evie's experience here.