What time of day do you prefer to exercise?
What is the best time of day for you to work out?
These questions I get asked a lot and it got me thinking. There will always be the debate of when is best from each camp.
Most of us (if you’re like me!) train at a certain time of the day because your schedule demands it. I start work really early twice a week and the other 3 days I’ve got my children and its school drop off at 8am before I jet off to the studio for work.
,So, I train in the evenings and it works for me, even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t be able to train in the mornings. (I’ve tried exercise first thing and I didn’t get on with it!)
Anyway, let’s look at some of the potential pros and cons of training in the morning time.
✅ Wakes up your nervous system for the day ahead.
✅ Less distractions in the morning (everyone else is still asleep!).
✅ Less likely to miss a session.
✅ Elevated mood.
✅ Potentially improved brain function for the day.
✅ Potentially beneficial peaks in certain hormones.
✅ Less busy gym.
✅ Potential fat burn benefits from being fasted (incredibly limited research to say so).
❌ Maybe sacrificing sleep to train.
❌ Weaker on lifting movements.
❌ May have to train in a fasted state (not optimal for muscle building).
❌ When performing intense training, there may be physical and mental fatigue following the session.
❌ Not a great option if you struggle to get up in the mornings.
Like anything, there are so many factors involved in choosing a time to train (if you have the luxury to).
It’s always good to know the pros and cons to training at different times to help decide what’s best for you.
IS EVENING THE BEST TIME TO TRAIN??
For me personally I like training in the evenings. However, this is my own personal preference. When I’m training, I tend to workout hard, and the evenings work well for me. Not only from a childcare/schedule point of view but also because I’m usually pretty tired by the time I get home from exercising! So, it means I can spend the rest of the night chilling out after the workout and basically getting ready for bed rather than thinking about a whole day of work in front of me.
However, we are all unique and different, so what works for me may not work for you.
✅ Greater strength in your session.
✅ You will be fully awake and mentally prepared for your session.
✅ You won’t be training in a fasted state (generally better sessions).
✅ You will most likely have better pre-workout nutrition.
✅ Optimal testosterone to cortisol ratio (high testosterone, low cortisol).
❌ A stressful job may take away from a session that’s after work.
❌ A change of schedule may mean pushing your session even later in the evening/cancelling your session.
❌ You may struggle to get to sleep having had an intense workout (from a very active nervous system) this has happened to me on a few occasions.
❌ If you’re training very late, only one meal post session may be consumed, potentially limiting recovery.
❌ Busy gym during peak hours may interfere with your session.
❌ Less free time in the evenings.
The scientific research on this topic can be seen as fairly mixed, which could be down to the fact that there is such a large individual variability (as we found out yesterday)
It should always be remembered that the time of day you train is one of the smaller factors that help get results.
Make sure that when you do train, you progress in those sessions, no matter what time of day it is.