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Whenever your training takes place: in the morning, in the evening, or during the lunch break, it is still essential for keeping mind and body fit and healthy. But you can increase your performance dramatically, get higher oxygen consumption, and reduce perceived exhaustion, if find your own ideal workout time and stick to it. So, let’s get started!
Last summer I was reading a bunch of articles on how to lose weight and get that fit and sculpted body, as it was an issue for me. When I came across the fact that early hours are the best period for burning fat, while in the afternoon, it’s good to work on building muscles, it kind of ruined my concept of training. Unfortunately, the choice of gym time didn’t depend on my wish only, as I worked on weekdays from early morning until 5 pm (and I couldn’t even think that my progress depended on when I did cardio or weight training).
It was my vacation time, so I decided to test that theory: forced myself to get up early and go jogging or cycling 3 days per week, and my gym workout was strictly in the late afternoon, also about 4 days per week. So, after 30 days of such scheduled and structured exercises, I reached what I couldn’t get for more than one year of occasional gym raids with overloads. That was a real shock!
I decided to study that question more thoroughly and found out that body temperature typically increases throughout the day, so you can train with almost no risk of stretching or getting injured in the late afternoon, as muscle strength and endurance may peak during this period. In the morning, on the contrary, it’s better to do some cardio (walking, jogging, cycling are fine) – such kind of exercises makes you feel better, giving energy and vivacity for the whole day. While evening classes should be as relaxing as possible so that practicing yoga, meditation or breathing exercises are the right things to choose – they help to relax and improve sleep.
I’ve learned several other facts concerning the time of a day and doing sports, and I’m gonna share them with you.
Larks vs. Owls
I’ve already mentioned that there is no “one right time” for everyone, and finding the perfect time to exercise is as much about personal preference as it is physiology – so, it’s completely up to you, your circumstances, your natural sleep/wake cycle, your meal timing.
If life begins in the evening for you, getting up is late and slow, that means you’re a typical “owl”, which performs rather better in the evening or late afternoon. But if you’re an early bird, waking up with the first rays of the sun effortless, morning training is your cup of tea. However, both these types form a minority, and about 60% of people fall somewhere in between both.
Base On Your Lifestyle
If you’re mainly engaged in mental work and spend most of the day at the computer, as I do, evening workout would be a great idea (believe me!). But if you’re running around all day long or employed as a physical laborer, evidently it’s better to do exercises in the morning, instead of late hours, when you don’t have the strength even to talk. Put your running shoes on (e.g., women`s reebok crossfit nano) and go forward!
- No distractions or other “daily” responsibilities.
- Starts your metabolism so that you maximize the benefits of your workout because you will burn calories all day long.
- Burn more fat due to low blood sugar levels, forcing the body to look for other energy sources and eventually starts converting fat to fuel.
- No or few people at the gym (maybe it’s con for you, but for me, it’s a huge advantage).
- Healthy domino effect throughout the day: when people start the day from a sport, they typically set themselves for a healthy daily routine, including meals and habits.
- You get a relief – no need to worry about working out later in the afternoon or evening, more time for relaxation and private life.
- Easy to stick to the same time.
- Low body temperature causes higher energy consumption during training. Besides, “cold” muscles are more likely to be injured, that’s why a good warm-up is must-have.
- It’s not that easy to make a habit of getting up so early.
- You may not be able to keep the intensity high on an empty stomach since your energy levels are low.
Afternoon & Evening Workout
- Pain tolerance is higher.
- Adrenaline and body temperature has a rising trend that leads to better flexibility, strength, and endurance.
- Lung performance is best.
- Evening workout after a busy day can become a perfect stress relief, an opportunity to have an outlet and release daily stresses.
- Most gyms offer a greater variety of classes between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. than in the morning.
- Lots of distractions.
- Decreased lung function prevents from training at full capacity.
- Need at least 2 hours of passive rest to fall asleep. So, if you have insomnia, morning class would be better for you.
- Mental and physical fatigue at the end of a crazy weekday.
So… How To Decide?
The only right way to determine what time of a day is the best for you to exercise is to try each of them and see how they work and how you feel after a quick session at lunchtime, after a healing evening training, or after morning hitting the gym.