The Best Time to Work Out: Morning vs. Evening Exercise

The worm is not only for the early bird.

What’s the Best Time to Work Out? Research Reveals the Answer!

woman stretching before a workout

Are you a morning person or a night owl? 🌅 🦉

While some people are up at the crack of dawn to lace up their running shoes, others can’t fathom a workout before noon. When it comes to exercise, finding the perfect time can be as much about personal preference as it is physiology. But fear not! I’m here to break down the pros and cons of working out at different times of the day and help you figure out the best workout routine for you. 💪

Working out in the morning: What the research says

When the alarm goes off, the last thing most people want to do is roll out of bed, lace up their sneakers, and head to the gym. But there are some awesome advantages to a morning workout worth considering. 🌄

Consistency is key

We’ve all been there: the day starts and you think, “I’ll work out later when I’m done with a few things.” But then the evening rolls around, and what’s the one box on your to-do list left unchecked? Of course, it’s the gym.

Recent research says that it’s easier to stay consistent with morning workouts because most people have fewer social and work events planned for the morning. It’s also pretty easy to add exercise to an existing morning routine. Plus, studies show that adherence to a workout routine is highest among those who exercise in the morning. So, if you want to build a consistent exercise habit, the morning might be your best bet. ⏰

More free time

Think about it. If you’re already done working out by the time 5 p.m. rolls around, you have more time to hang with your friends or fam or spend more time doing things you enjoy, like a hobby. The morning workout allows you to kickstart your day with energy and still have plenty of time for other activities. 🕔

Less pain and better sleep

If you currently use movement and exercise as a way to manage chronic pain, it might be worth switching to an a.m. workout. One study found that people who worked out in the morning experienced less bodily pain than those who worked out in the evening.

Morning workouts might also be a good option if you’re the tossing-and-turning type. Research shows that people who exercise in the morning tend to sleep more efficiently (aka spend less time lying in bed awake) and have fewer awakenings during the night. Another study even found that morning exercise can help people with insomnia sleep better. 💤

Curbed appetite and increased fat burning

If you’re looking to keep hunger at bay later in the day, a morning workout might be the way to go. A review of studies found that exercise can help curb appetite after working out. In fact, women who worked out in the morning had a much lower calorie intake compared to those who worked out in the evening. Additionally, it’s been proven that people can burn more body fat exercising on an empty stomach, which is much easier to do first thing in the morning. So, if you’re aiming to shed some extra pounds, a morning workout might give you that extra fat-burning boost. 🔥

Working out in the afternoon: What the research says

If you can’t fit in a morning workout, don’t sweat it (literally). There are plenty of reasons why exercising later in the day can be a smart choice too. 🌆

Better performance and bigger gains

Multiple studies have found that people tend to perform better at short-duration maximal exercise (like all-out swimming, cycling, jumping, sprinting, and resistance exercises) in the evening. Your body temperature is naturally higher in the evening, which means your muscles are warmer and associated with better performance. Additionally, research suggests that people who work out in the evening gain more muscle mass than those who work out in the morning. If building muscle is your goal, evening workouts might be more beneficial in the long term.

Motivation and hormonal advantages

Motivation is a huge obstacle for many people. Working out is hard, right? One study suggests that it’s harder to stay motivated to stick to a prolonged training program that takes place in the morning. So, if getting to the gym is your biggest issue, evening workouts might be easier to stick to in the long run.

Hormone levels also play a role in determining optimal workout time. Testosterone, which is important for muscle growth, strength, and stamina, may be produced more during late afternoon resistance training than during morning workouts.

The best time to work out depends on YOU

Some research shows that your chronotype, whether you’re a morning person or an evening person, plays a role in when you perform best. If you like to work out in the morning, that’s amazing. If you like working out in the evening, keep doing your thing. The key is to find a workout routine that is realistic and consistent for you.

If your current workout schedule isn’t working for you, don’t worry! Research suggests that the body could adapt to regular exercise by altering your circadian rhythm. So, if you hit the weight room every day at 4 p.m., eventually you might perform better at that specific time.

In the end, what matters most is finding a realistic and consistent workout schedule for you, regardless of the time of day. Remember, working out is good for you no matter when you do it. So, keep sweating and striving for a healthier you! 💦

Q&A: Additional Concerns About Exercise Timing

Q: Is it better to work out on an empty stomach in the morning?

A: Exercising on an empty stomach can help burn more fat. However, it’s important to listen to your body and fuel it with a light snack if you feel low on energy. Check out this link for more information on nutrition and exercise timing.

Q: What if I can’t commit to a specific workout time every day?

A: Consistency is key, but life can sometimes get in the way. If you can’t stick to the same workout time every day, aim for at least a few dedicated workout sessions each week. Creating a routine, finding a workout buddy, and keeping your gym bag ready can help you overcome any scheduling challenges.

Q: How long does it take to see results from exercise?

A: The time it takes to see results can vary depending on various factors, including your fitness level, workout intensity, and nutrition. It’s important to focus on progress rather than immediate results and be patient with your fitness journey. Remember, every step counts!

For more exercise and fitness tips, check out these relevant links:

  1. The Benefits of Anaerobic Exercise: Works and Examples
  2. Timing Your Nutrition Around Your Workouts
  3. The Role of Testosterone in Muscle Growth and Stamina
  4. The Science Behind Circadian Rhythm and Exercise
  5. The Impact of Exercise on Sleep Quality

In conclusion, whether you’re a morning person ready to jumpstart your day with a workout or a night owl looking to let off steam after a long day, exercise is beneficial no matter the time. Find the time that works best for you, be consistent, and make exercise a priority in your life. You’ve got this! 💪

Don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family on social media. Let’s spread the joy of exercise together! 💙