Is There a Best Time to Exercise?
So you’re busting your ass killing your workouts and seeing some results, but would these results be enhanced by simply working out at a different time? Is there a best time to exercise? Great question! Who wouldn’t want to be as efficient as possible when it comes to exercise?
Morning or Evening Workouts?
Before work, during your lunch break, before dinner, before bed…etc. depending on your goals, when you exercise can potentially determine the effectiveness of your workout. How’s this even possible you might ask yourself?
Well for one, your results can be affected by your physiology at the time of the workout.
Know what I mean? You may shuffle through a morning workout like a brain-dead zombie, “Did I finish that set? Wait… did I even start it?” Or in the afternoon you may be more alert but might not have the time. Finally, late at night, your body may be worn down from a long day.
These physiological states can all affect your results.
We asked a few experts to see what their thoughts were on the issue. When it comes to the best time to exercise, strength, and condition coach Brandon Mentore started us off, “[It] depends on the health of the individual and the overall goal they wish to achieve.”
Many people aren’t “morning people.” For starters, it takes some serious commitment to get up 30+ minutes early and get in a workout before heading off to the office. So how can this be the best time to exercise?
First of all, fitness instructor and editor of Girya Girl, Adrienne Harvey, recommends a morning workout because frankly, that is the only time during the day in which we might have a few free minutes to actually exercise!
Not only that she said that “An early morning workout is invigorating before the responsibilities of the day.”
Owner and lead personal trainer of Move Well Fitness, Maurice D. Williams, depicted how a killer morning workout has been shown to help you sleep better, provide you with a boost of energy, and jump-start your metabolism for the day.
“All of these are win/win benefits as who could not use more sleep, energy, and a boost in our body’s ability to burn fat? If you are indeed a morning person, then, morning exercise might be best for you,” he said.
The health benefits of a morning routine don’t stop there.
If you are just beginning your exercise experience, these morning workouts may be more beneficial as Mentore explained, “The reason [they are more beneficial] being is your body clocks (circadian rhythm) gets thrown way off from inactivity, stress, inflammation, and poor diet and the best time to realign your body rhythm is in the morning and exercise can assist in doing that.”
Mentor also recommends working out in the first half of the day because your body is in an elevated state of fat burning. We could all use a boosted metabolism, right?
We are throwing any time from 9 am to 3 pm in this mid-day section – basically, it’s the time when most of us are working… or at least the boss thinks you are. This sort of transitory time of day can be a great time to exercise. Lunch break workout anyone?
Mentore explained that this time of day is great for anyone because,
From a metabolic standpoint working out between the hours of 9 and noon is ideal.
“Your cortisol levels are up, body temperature is elevated, and most of the systems in your body are activated and alert.”
Is the evening the best time to exercise? Apart from this being a convenient time to work out, this time of the day can be the best for building muscle. This is partly due to you having more strength at your disposal due to being hydrated and fueled up said Adrienne Harvey.
Meaning you can lift more and therefore build muscle. She also depicted how during evening workouts you will more likely be fully alert (as opposed to working out at 5:30 am) which can improve safety as well.
But does that mean exercising in the evening is the bee’s knees? Williams gave us some truth, “Evening exercise helps you sleep better, reduce your stress from the day and boost your body’s ability to burn fat. This reads pretty similar to morning exercise right?”
“Yes, you are right. This proves my point that there is no hard and fast research that says one is better than the other. If you’re a night owl, then exercise at night might be better for you.”
One problem with working out in the evening is that, while convenient, many of us still don’t have the time.
While I know we need to make time to exercise, often many of us have to pick up the kids, make supper, walk the dog before it poops in the house, work late…etc. and this can cause us to skip exercising altogether!
So it might be better to exercise in the morning so you don’t skip it in the afternoon.
Don’t jump the gun here.
We aren’t saying that the only way to lose weight is to exercise in the morning or the only way to build bulging biceps is to exercise at night.
These are simply the times these experts have witnessed as the best times to reach your desired goals!
You can burn calories or build muscle anytime you workout as Maurice Williams reiterated, “I suggest you try exercising at different times during the day for a week or two to find out which one is best for you!”
When it comes to the best time to exercise, Adrienne Harvey summed it up nicely,
The easy answer is the best time to exercise is WHEN you CAN and WILL workout regularly and reliably.