Finding the right time to workout should be conducive to your schedule, but is there a better time to get your workout done for the best results?
We all know we need to get that valuable workout in for our day to feel complete, but many of us wonder when the best time to do it is. It works as a double edged sword for us, meaning our days are filled with work, relationships, personal time, and a host of errands we need to get done, but yet we know we must slide a workout in there somewhere. On the other hand, if there is a better time to get a workout in, shouldn’t we aim to do it then? Since we all want the best growth possible for ourselves, it can be challenging to make all of this work. While 24 hours in a day seems like a lot, it certainly fills up quicker than most of us would like.
While this topic is widely debated by athletes, fitness and nutrition experts, and everyday gym-goers alike, the answer may simply be as subjective as everyone thinks. For those morning folks, it would make sense to get it done earlier in the day for the best effects. This may help them kickstart their day and get that workout of the way. For those who just can’t seem to pull it together in the morning, then an afternoon or evening workout may better suit you. Regardless of your preference, it is important to squeeze a workout into your day for the crazy positive benefits it can do for you.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of working out in the morning, afternoon, or evening and potentially come up with our own conclusion. For those who have a set schedule and are looking for a change, this may help you greatly. For those with a strict schedule who may refuse to change, it never hurts to see the other side.
Benefits Of A Morning Workout
Working out in the morning can be a great way to start your day. After a long, good night’s sleep of hopefully at least 8 hours, your body is primed and ready to tackle whatever challenge the day may bring. A morning workout can fill your body with endorphins, those feel good hormones, which are produced when your heart rate rises and you’re in good spirits. These will not only help improve your mood, but also aid in raising your energy levels so you can take that workout head on (1).
Giving you a great boost of energy in the morning can wake you up without the need for a 20-ounce coffee that’s just full of jitters and an incoming crash. A morning workout can also kickstart your metabolism into gear so you run more efficiently throughout the day and burn more calories to aid in weight loss and that desired physique.
Benefits Of An Afternoon Workout
For those of us who can squeeze a workout in during a lunch break or find time in the afternoon, this can be a real beneficial hour or two to reset during the day and unwind from work or certain stressors we started our day with. With higher hormone levels in the afternoon and easier muscle functionality, you will be more warmed up from the hours before and time spent moving and fueling your body (2). By taking time to work out during the afternoon, you work to regulate your appetite and improve sleep as it gets closer to the evening and time you typically will wind down. Taking a break mid-day can reduce levels of stress and anxiety and offer your mind a reprieve from the hard work you’ve put in hours before.
This can be the most challenging time to work out because our days are often full to begin with, let alone those meetings or calls that pop up that can really throw us out of whack. Time is valuable as is a workout but sometimes the two just don’t mesh.
Benefits Of An Evening Workout
While working out at night can be challenging, there are certain benefits you may not get from the other times in the day. An evening workout can see muscles grow faster because you won’t be as hindered by cortisol as you are in the morning. You won’t go to sleep hungry and with a great protein supplement, you will feel full and aid in that recovery as you sleep. You also will help your weight loss goals by not snacking late night. With more fuel from the day, you will have more energy and will want to work out longer and an evening workout can serve as a nice way to get all the frustration of the day out of your system (3).
This can be a challenging time to workout especially with so many shows and things to binge. After a hard day the last thing you may want to do is work harder physically, but the benefits are too great to ignore.
Which Is Best?
While there is evidence for all of these times, it is ultimately a preference. For a great energy boost, a morning workout can be great. A mid-day stress reliver may draw you toward an afternoon workout. A nice way to unwind and build muscle may convince you to change to an evening one. In the end, it is dependent on your schedule and what you can fit in your day.
Finding time to work out can be challenging but we know we need to. With our days full of activities, there may be some days we just don’t have the energy to lace up and get it done. Look into rearranging your schedule and finding those holes where you can best fit a workout in. You know you need it, you know you’ll love the results, and you know how confident you’ll be in making it happen.
*Images courtesy of Envato
- Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute (2019). “Morning exercise can improve decision-making across the day in older adults”. (source)
- Chtourou, Hamdi; Souissi, Nizar (2012). “The effect of training at a specific time of day: a review”. (source)
- Seo, Dae Yun; Lee, SungRyul; Kim, Nari; Ko, Kyung Soo; et al. (2013). “Morning and evening exercise”. (source)