What's The Best Time Of Day To Workout?
This is one of those topics that comes up regularly whenever I talk about starting a new fitness routine: the time of day you workout. Lots of girls ask “Should I workout in the morning or the evening?”, or whether one is better for weight loss than the other. So, today I’m going to explore this in a little more detail.
Choosing the Best Time of Day to Workout
Is it better to workout in the morning or at night time? There is research to support benefits of training at either time of day, so which one is better? There is no correct answer: it honestly depends on your personal preferences! However, there are certain positives and negatives associated with working out in the morning or evening, which I want to explain here.
Working out in the morning
Those of you who love getting their morning workouts done might find it easier to stick to a regular routine. Getting it done first thing means a workout is less likely to conflict with your other daily responsibilities and means you tick it off your to-do list before the distractions set in.
Research has also suggested that people who workout in the morning are more likely to be more active throughout the day than those who don’t get to their workout until later. This could be because our bodies feel warmed up and working out can help put us in a better mood!
There has been a lot of debate about whether working out on an empty stomach increases weight loss, basically because your body isn’t focused on digesting food if you haven’t eaten. While your body may be able to burn a little more fat if you are working out after an 8-hour fast (which you might have straight after a night’s sleep), it’s important that you can work out comfortably. Exercising on an empty stomach may leave you feeling nauseated or lightheaded, so don’t stress if you can’t workout on an empty stomach. Morning workouts are only helpful if you can actually do them, so listen to your body and eat if you need to.
Some research has suggested that working out in the morning can help you to make healthier food choices throughout the day too.
Some of the benefits of working out in the morning include:
It can be easier to stay consistent
If you have trouble sticking to a workout routine consistently, morning workouts could be great for you. A lot of people struggle with finding time to workout, so if you do it first thing you won’t face any roadblocks that may come up during the day. It is also over and done with, so you don’t have to worry about squeezing it in or making time later on.
You're well-rested for your workout
When you are asleep, your body uses this time to recuperate and recover from your day. During sleep, muscles repair themselves, so when you wake up your body should be feeling fresh and ready to workout! Of course, this depends on the quality of your sleep, so make sure you are going to bed early enough and are turning off any electronic devices such as your phone or TV at least an hour before bed. Just remember to complete a warm up before you workout to help wake up your muscles!
Working out in the afternoon
For anyone who loves strength training, there can be some advantages to training late in the day. This is because the hormone that helps to build muscle is produced more in the evening than the morning. That means evening workouts may help you to build strength a little bit faster.
Your body’s core temperature increases throughout the day, which means your muscles tend to be more flexible later as well, so exercises may feel more comfortable. Plus, your overall reaction time is generally quicker (great for HIIT workouts).
When cortisol (the stress hormone) is produced in higher amounts, it can lead to the break down of muscle tissue in the body. The good news is cortisol production generally decreases throughout the day, so an afternoon workout might be better for you if you’re trying to build muscle. If you prefer to workout late in the evening, or at night, that’s fine too! Just be mindful that it might take you a little longer to fall asleep once you go to bed because your body temperature and hormone activity have increased.
Some of the benefits of exercising in the afternoon can include:
You are awake & ready to go
Although your body is refuelled in the morning, it may be better prepared for a workout later in the day. You body is generally more wake because of the daily activities you have been completing, and you have probably eaten a few meals. Some girls prefer working out at night compared to the morning because they feel like they have more energy. This may be true because your endurance and strength levels are believed to be at their highest at around 4-6pm.
It can help you de-stress
If you exercise first thing, chances are you are feeling pretty relaxed because you haven’t had much to deal with yet. However, come evening time, you may be feeling pretty stressed whether that be because you had a hard day at work or school or something has upset you. Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress and blow off some steam, so it can have great benefits for you if you have had a rough day. Plus it releases endorphins, which are your happy hormones!
The best time to workout is the time that works best for you
The bottom line is that you can workout at any time, so long as it works for you! If you can’t make an early morning session work for your schedule, that’s okay! Any time of day you can train is great, and if you can do it consistently, that’s when you’ll see the best results.
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.