The demands of our busy schedules can make it very difficult for us to stay consistent and committed to a set workout routine. Most of us can conveniently only workout either before or after work. This then brings us to the all important question; when is the best time of day to workout? This question always creates a debate that never seems to get settled. You’ll be surprised to know that the answer to the question is very straightforward.
Several arguments have been made by fitness experts in favor of both morning and afternoon/evening workouts. The time of day we choose to workout can influence our performance and how we feel during the workout session, so understanding how or bodies function in a 24-hour period can help us to decide on which time of the day best suits us.
Having a good understanding of your body’s circadian rhythm helps to choose the right time of day to exercise in order to get the best out of your workout session. Our bodies are ‘wired’ differently, so it is a great idea to choose a workout routine that gives you the best chance of success.
Some studies suggest that exercising at certain times of the day increases the body’s fat burning potential than others. But the truth of the matter is, there is not enough evidence to suggest this is always the case. Whenever you are posed with the question; when is the best time of day to workout?…..the answer is simply this; the best time is the time you can stick with.
Choosing a workout time you can easily stick with enables that routine to become a habit. Making a workout routine a habit and staying consistent helps towards achieving your long-term fitness goals.
Understanding Your Circadian Rhythm
Your circadian rhythm is basically an internal 24-hour clock that runs at the back of your brain and regulates your sleep-wake cycle. This cycle repeats roughly every 24 hours and even though it is endogenously generated, it can be impacted by factors such as light, darkness and temperature.
Maintaining a regular sleep habit ensures your circadian rhythm works best. If you are undecided on what time of the day to exercise, having a decent understanding of your sleep-wake cycle will help.
Sleep experts say your body’s energy level dips between 2 am to 4 am and 1pm to 3pm. Apart from shift workers, we are all normally meant to be asleep at 2am, so being aware of your energy level between 1pm and 3pm should help in deciding whether exercising around that period of the day is ideal.
What Morning Workouts Bring
Many fitness experts will easily choose the morning as the best time to workout, especially for those looking at losing some weight. This is simply because exercising in the morning, after an overnight fast before breakfast, forces the body to rely on stored fat as its primary source of energy. This makes exercising at that time of day ideal for weight loss.
According to the fitness gurus, morning workout sessions also boost your energy levels by preparing the body for a continuous fat burn throughout the day.
Other research also suggests people who exercise in the morning may have less of an appetite throughout the day, plus working out in the morning exposes the body to more sunlight. Exposure to morning sunlight is not just important for maintaining a properly functioning circadian rhythm, it is also important for boosting vitamin D production. Vitamin D keeps the immune system healthy and strong.
It has also been suggested through research that it’s easier to stay consistent to a morning workout routine, making such a habit second nature.
Exercising is a great way of reducing stress, so having a morning workout session places you in a better chance of being in a healthy mental state throughout the day.
Despite the numerous positives of morning workouts, lower body temperatures, joint stiffness, and swollen discs are some hurdles exercisers have to overcome in the morning. You should allow more time for the body to warm up at the beginning of your workout session than you would later in the day.
Afternoon And Evening Workouts Are Good As Well
Yes, morning workout sessions can lead to more weight loss than other times of the day, but it doesn’t mean you can’t carry out a productive workout session in either the afternoon or evening. You might even realise a performance boost later in the day due to haven had a meal some few hours earlier. Eating raises the body’s blood sugar levels, so exercising a couple of hours or so later enables you to train rigorously and at a higher intensity.
There is a growing number of people preferring to workout after work, and there is currently no evidence to suggest they can’t get the best out of their afternoon or evening workout sessions. A workout session after a long day at the office can play a vital role in de-stressing you. This helps you to unwind and relax, ready for sleep at night. Plus, you won’t have to sacrifice sleep in order to get up earlier than normal for a workout.
Some research has shown that the body is able to perform exercises that require an enormous physical effort with a bit more ease later in the day. This is because our muscle strength and temperature tends to be at its peak later in the day.
A later afternoon or evening workout session could, according to other research work, lead to greater reaction times, improved anaerobic performance, much better endurance and lower levels of stress.
Even though some experts argue that working out at night could interfere with your body clock and lead to later bedtimes, there is currently not enough evidence to suggest that is the case. In fact some researchers found vigorous exercises undertaken a couple of hours before bedtime could lead to falling asleep faster, fewer awakenings at night and a generally better mood state.
So, When Is The Best Time Of Day To Workout?
If this question was left to fitness experts to vote on their preferred time of day, I am pretty confident those in favor of morning workouts will win. The arguments in favor of morning workouts makes sense as it leads to better adherence and results over time.
The truth of the matter is there is really no bad time to exercise. The best time of day to workout is when you honestly believe you can do it. Coming up with a workout plan and sticking to it is not that easy when we have competing family and work commitments.
It’s all about finding the best time of day you are very likely going to stick to and be consistent with. You simply don’t have to be an expert on circadian rhythms to decide on the best time of day to workout. Our bodies can be trained to stick to a set routine and habit, so staying consistent to your routine will help you to achieve your fitness goals.
The best time of day to workout can be morning, afternoon or evening. You just need to pick a time that works for you. Hardwork and consistency is key.
Hope this blog post will encourage someone out there to stop stressing about the perfect time of the day to workout. Just pick a time of day of your choice and stay loyal.
Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions and questions in the comments section below. See you here again soon!