What is the best time to workout?
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. But I want to cover all the different times to workout and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
This is going to be individual to each person. Some people have tons of energy when they wake up at 5AM in the morning. I am not one of those people. Then there are the night owls and everything in between.
Why mornings are the best time to workout.
If you are having troubles actually doing your workout this is a good option. When you do this you get your workout in and then you are good for the rest of the day. There is nothing else that can get in your way when you do it first thing after you wake up.
I don’t want to go into nutrition here but there are certain advantages to training first thing on an empty stomach. There are also advantages for not doing so. Maybe I’ll cover these another time.
The biggest issue with morning workouts is your body is not warmed up. Yes you can do a warmup to get your body running and warm. If you are doing morning workouts this is a necessity not an option. You need to get your joints running smoothly and your muscles warmed especially as it gets colder.
This is not just to prevent injury but to optimize performance. Just think about trying to do a near max lift the moment you roll out of bed and you’ll get the idea of why this is a must.
Why noon or afternoon is the best time to exercise.
This is personally my favorite option. I like to sleep in but when I get up the morning time is my best time to get work done. Like this post right here I am writing in the morning. But after a few hours my mental energy starts to dip. I need a break.
The best and most effective break for me is to go and train. Intense mental work followed by intense physical work. And after that I like to eat, nap, and then get back to work. This nap falls in line with the midday energy dip that most people feel if you‘ve ever studied the circadian rhythm.
While some kind of warmup is a good idea since you’ve been up and moving around your body is good to go. Despite warm-ups my performance just seems better midday then early mornings.
Plus since I train outside it’s a good time to get some sun (another thing you should try to do each day).
Why evenings or night time is the best time to workout.
For most people this is the only choice. When they get off of work is the only time they can workout. Though it can be tough after a long day at work you’ll feel better doing it. I think the best option is to start right away and don’t get side tracked by anything.
This is similar to the afternoon workouts in that your body has been moving all day and is ready to go.
Another advantage of working out later is that most people’s biggest meal tends to be dinner. You train hard, eat a good, big meal and then go to sleep. This sounds ideal for recovery purposes.
Now depending on the time between training, eating and sleeping this could be better or worse. For most people you don’t want to do either working out or eating too close to bedtime as it can throw you off. For others this isn’t as big an issue.
There you have it. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of what time you workout. Let me end with saying the best time to workout for you is when you can and will workout. If you don’t have options just do it when you can. If you do have options then you can experiment.
Another thing you might want to look at which I cover in the Keys to Successful Training Online Course is establishing a pattern of when you train and doing that the same each day.
Would love to hear your comments on this subject. Agree with me or not, comment below.