When is the Best Time
of Day to Workout?

Recently during a training session with a client of mine, I was asked a great question, “so when is the best time of day to workout?”  Since I knew I couldn’t fully answer his question during a short rest period, I mentioned that I would write a blog post about the best time of day to workout.

when is the best time of day to workout
Confused about when to workout?

Truthfully, the best time of day to workout is whenever you have the time!  One of the top reasons why people don’t workout or why exercise often takes a backseat is because they “don’t have the time.”  Days become scheduled to the brim with work, personal appointments, errands, kids, family obligations, and so on and so fourth.

If you have a window of opportunity to workout in the morning before your busy day begins, then by all means, that is your best time of day to workout.  If your day is completely hectic from the early morning through the end of the day, maybe your best time to workout is before bedtime in the evening.

the best time of day to workout
Anytime is the best time to workout!

Aside from when you have the time in your schedule to workout, you can also take into account when you feel your best.  Some people are full of energy first thing in the morning whereas others have more energy mid-day.  Take notice of when you feel your best, and if you can, plan your workout to coincide with that time.  Obviously, if the morning is your only window to workout but you’re not a morning person, you can take steps to change your routine and habits to make exercising in the morning a little easier.

Before you think that exercise timing is completely irrelevant, it does have its time (no pun intended) and place, dependent on your training goals.  Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of exercising during the morning, afternoon, and evening:

Exercising in the Morning

Morning Pros

  • Working out on an empty stomach will burn more stored fat during exercise as your body pulls from your fat storage vs. your carbohydrate/sugar storage
  • Studies have shown that people who exercise in the morning are more consistent with exercise and are more likely to stick with their fitness regimen
  • Although working out anytime will boost your metabolism, working out in the morning can boost your metabolism earlier on in the day
  • Working out in the morning can also provide you with more energy throughout the day 

Morning Cons

  • Since your body is at it’s lowest temperature in the morning, you will naturally have less blood flow and lower energy levels.  Thus, thorough warm-ups are essential in the morning to prevent injuries
  • Since it’s early, most people don’t eat before they workout in the morning or consume a very small amount.  This can lead to a lower energy supply 

Exercising in the Afternoon

Afternoon Pros

  • You’ll be more awake and alert at this time versus the early morning
  •  Your body temperature will be higher which will lead to increased energy and your muscles will be warmer by this time, lessening your chance for injuries
  • Working out in the afternoon provides you with more time to eat more meals, which can lead to greater energy
  • Research has shown that your aerobic and anaerobic capacity (strength and endurance) is greater in the afternoon, which can help to improve the performance of your workout
  • If motivation isn’t your strong suit, it’s easier to grab a co-worker and head downstairs to the gym or outside for a workout 

Afternoon Cons

  • It’s more likely that conflicts can arise in the afternoon and prevent you from getting in your workout

Exercising in the Evening

Evening Pros

  • Similar to the afternoon, your body temperature will be higher and muscles will be warmer, leading to increased energy and the potential for less injuries
  • Also similar to the afternoon, by the end of the day you will have consumed plenty of meals throughout the day, supplying your body with more than enough energy for your workout

Evening Cons

  • Exercising boosts your body temperature and hormone levels which can interfere with your sleep.  However, this affects everyone differently
  • Not everyone feels energized after a long day.  For some, energy levels can be at their lowest at the end of day, causing their evening workout to suffer
  • You are much more likely to skip an evening workout if you’re anxious to get home after a long day or conflicts arise, causing you to miss your workout

The Bottom Line

Unless you’re an athlete or you’re training to reach a very specific goal, the best time to workout is truly anytime!  You’ll have the most success if you plan your workouts around when you feel your best, when you have the time in your day, and when you can be the most consistent.

Photos courtesy of: alen-d/bigstock.com, fowardcom/bigstock.com

Written by Sophie DeHenzel
When is the Best Time of Day to Workout?

About DeHenzel Training Systems: DeHenzel Training Systems offers In Home Personal Training services throughout Northern Virginia and Washington DC.  Aside from in home, personal training is also available at the office gym or outdoors at a local park.

Within Northern Virginia, we service Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William Counties including: Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Ashburn, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Fairfax, Falls Church, Great Falls, Herndon, Lansdowne, Leesburg, Lorton, McLean, Oakton, Reston, Springfield, Sterling, Tyson’s Corner, Vienna and Woodbridge.

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