There have been many debates about which time of day is best for exercise. For most people, finding a few spare minutes in the day to enjoy a proper workout is quite challenging. Working out in the morning is often recommended as the best option, since the demands of the day have not yet set in. However, every person is different and the idea of waking up at the crack of dawn can feel extremely daunting. However, getting home after a long day and starting a workout doesn’t exactly feel exciting either. The key with exercise is consistency, so it is a great idea to figure out which time of day works best for you as an individual. Below are the pros and cons of each time of day. Using the information in each section, you should be able to plan your workouts in a way that is sustainable for more than a few days at a time. As long as you are consistent, only 30 minutes per day, three times per week, can keep your body healthy and attractive.
There are many advantages to a morning workout. For most people, even those who don’t consider themselves to be morning people, an early workout avoids the numerous scheduling conflicts that are likely to prevent you from having time for exercise. Perhaps you often plan to work out at lunch, but work always takes over? Do you have kids who need to be picked up and fed at the end of the day? After 9 am, anything can happen, so working out before the chaos begins can help your workouts be more consistent. One advantage of a morning workout is that you will be exercising on an empty stomach. This encourages weight loss as your body will burn fat to provide you with the energy needed to exercise. Also, your body is naturally geared towards fat loss in the mornings since hormones are better at metabolizing fat during this time. If weight loss is your goal, mornings might be your best bet. However, if muscle gain and strength are what you need, later times in the day when you have eaten enough to support muscle growth is a better choice.
For those of us who cannot fathom waking up with the sunrise, there is another option. The lunchtime workout has numerous advantages. For one, most people have about an hour for lunch. If planned properly, that leaves enough time for a small, healthy lunch followed by a quick workout. Even a brisk walk is a great way to stay trim after eating lunch. Exercise during the middle of the day is also proven to boost your mood and keeps you feeling more awake for the afternoon and the commute home. If you feel that you normally become drowsy after lunch, you could be experiencing blood sugar spikes that make the end of the day drag on forever. Blood sugar spikes kill your energy levels and increase weight gain, so a workout around noon is best if this type of afternoon fatigue is a regular problem. Even though a noon workout isn’t on an empty stomach, exercise during this time of the day tends to curb your appetite, which can prevent overeating later in the day and will help you lose weight naturally.
If you aren’t a morning person and a lunch workout doesn’t fit your busy schedule, the only remaining option is to exercise at night. This is not recommended as often, but depending on your goals an evening workout can be extremely beneficial. If you are hoping to gain muscle and strength, working out at the end of the day means that you will have had adequate nutrition for a longer, more intense workout. This may explain why people are less likely to feel exhausted from lifting weights at the end of the day when compared to the morning. For people who enjoy waking up early, working out at night can make you feel too awake to sleep right away. If you need to go to bed early and exercise is keeping you awake, wrapping up your exercise session with stretching is a great way to wind down. This can help you reduce stress levels for a more restful sleep.
In the end, the time of day that you complete your workouts truly depends on your personal schedule, your habits and which time of day is likely to be most consistent for you. Perhaps you hate mornings, but they manage to keep you on track with your fitness goals. If so, you should continue exercising this way. However, if waking up early is leaving you feeling tired and irritable, then don’t push yourself too hard. Try working out at a different time of day and see what works best for your body. Consistency is more important than anything, so try a few things and see what works for you.