Learning how to exercise can be easy. You can understand what different workouts do to which muscle groups. You can also pack a few meals to boost your results. But, does it work if you miss the best time for workouts?
Well, that’s another challenge for many. You can complement your workouts in many ways. But finding the perfect time can be hard.
Building a workout schedule means balancing countless daily chores. And, your workout time can influence your results.
In this article, you’ll learn what’s the best time for workouts. Likewise, I’ll give you a few tips to choose one.
The best time for workouts depends on what you value more
Most workouts schedules depend on your free time. We rarely think beyond our convenience. That’s what matters the most when planning when to work out.
There’s one issue with that.
Yes, we need enough time to train. Yet, there’s a lot more than that to consider. Your training time can do more than fit your day. Some exercises work better during certain times of the day.
Below, I’ll summarize the benefits of each time.
What makes morning workouts good?
For many, mornings are the best time for workouts. They’re convenient. And, you can get them out of the way. Likewise, you get a nice energy boost to match your coffee.
It’s also great to feel motivated during the day. It helps you fix your sleep schedule as well. So, the morning is ideal for building habits.
But, it also has physiological benefits.
Exercising on an empty stomach makes you burn stored fat faster. Basically, your hormones work better for burning fat in the morning. During the morning, you need more energy for anything.
What makes afternoon workouts good?
If you can find the time, afternoon workouts are also a good choice. But, the edge here is different.
Afternoon workouts might burn less fat. That said, your performance will be much better. You’ll be better-fed. That means more energy for higher intensity training. You’ll notice you can do more reps and sets.
If you feel you’re losing your focus, it’s also a nice choice. That’s because of the energy boost I mentioned earlier. Getting that boost in the afternoon can help you refocus. So, it’s a great way to take a short break.
What makes evening workouts good?
The morning is one of the best times for workouts since you need energy. Training perks you up. It makes you feel more awake. So, you can see why the evening might not be the favorite.
That said, evening workouts have an advantage.
Firstly, they’re convenient. You can exercise after work. It could even disrupt your night cravings. You only have to take your time between working out, showering, and sleeping.
Some exercises could even help you sleep better. For instance, yoga can help you lose stress before going to bed. And, it doesn’t make you sweat as much as cardio or resistance training.
Is the best time for workouts real? Or is it the best time for some workouts?
Now, the question might not be the best workout timing. As I just mentioned, yoga is great at night. So, what if the same happens with other types of workouts?
Well, some times of the day might be better for some types of workouts. If you can organize them properly, you could improve results. So, let’s dive into which exercises work better at certain times of the day.
Of course, exercising at any time is better than not exercising. So, don’t stress yourself too much with these guidelines.
Cardio is the best way to start your days
Mornings are the best time for workouts to get your blood pumping. Naturally, that means cardio is your best bet.
That’s because going out for a jog or brisk walk is easier than lifting weights. That’s particularly important when you’re just waking up. It’ll also kick-start your metabolism earlier in the day.
But, you also need to be a bit more careful. Your muscles are stiffer after sleeping. So, warming up and stretching are crucial. That’s another advantage of cardio over resistance. And, it’s easier to do on an empty stomach.
High-intensity is better for early afternoons
HIIT workouts are great if you don’t have a lot of time. As such, it’s a fantastic choice for your lunchtime. The same goes for when you have time between errands.
HIIT involves quick bursts of high-intensity workouts. In-between, you take short rests. That way, you maximize how many calories you burn. It spikes your heart rate before a quick recovery.
This constant up-and-down doesn’t require a lot of time. You can squeeze an HIIT session in less than 30 minutes. It also boosts your energy levels. So, it’s great for avoiding the afternoon energy drop.
Strength training is ideal for your evening training
Finally, the night is the best time for workouts with weights. That’s because glycogen levels are at their top. So, you’ve got more power output.
Your testosterone levels will also be higher. In other words, you’re stronger in the evening. You’ve also spent the entire day moving. That means your body and muscle are warm and ready.
Your body temperature is also higher in the evening. That’s another advantage of resistance training. Thus, grabbing those weights before bed is the best call.
Is there a winner between morning and evening? The best time for workouts between both
As you might expect, that answer isn’t simple, either. You can’t say there’s a universal winner. Everyone’s schedules are different.
For some, metabolic optimization dictates the winner. For others, what matters is being able to work out comfortably. In other words, the best time for workouts is very subjective. Thus, my goal is to help you choose.
It’s not to decide for you.
Thankfully, Healthline has an outstanding article on the topic. Let’s dive into what they think.
What’s the case for working out in the morning?
Of course, working out in the morning is the most popular choice. You can do it before you start with other responsibilities. So, you can save time. Also, it means starting the day full of endorphins and energy.
But, waking up early can be difficult. Without the habit, exercising in the morning is tough. Still, some prefer not to worry about working out later.
The benefits include the following:
- It reduces food cravings throughout the day.
- It’s easier to burn more calories during your daily chores.
- Your sleep quality and schedule improve with morning workouts.
- Finally, you burn more fat on an empty stomach.
- You’ll feel energized and motivated during the day.
What’s the case for working out later in the day?
Now, the morning might seem like the best time for workouts. Yet, that doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone. As mentioned, waking up early is a challenge. Add training, and it worsens considerably.
And, the afternoon and evening also have unique advantages. Sure, they’re not as convenient for many. That said, your body performs better during the night.
Below, you’ll find some of its benefits:
- Our bodies’ physical performance peaks in the afternoon.
- We’re warmed up from the day’s constant daily activities.
- Resource requirements are lower in the evening. That means better output.
- Reaction time also peaks in the afternoon, benefitting HIIT.
- Strength training could actually improve sleep.
Choose the best time for workouts depending on your needs
Naturally, you can’t exercise if you don’t have time for it. Likewise, many have varying daily schedules. Not everyone works at the same time every day. Today, that’s especially true.
Some people have morning shifts a few days a week. On other days, they must work in the afternoon or evening. How can they choose the best time for workouts?
That’s the main issue raised by CNet. The best way to pick is to measure the pros and cons of both approaches.
So, let’s do that.
Pros and cons of working out in the morning
Morning workouts combine convenience and metabolic optimization. And, most scientific research supports early birds.
Its pros are:
- It helps you develop a fitness habit.
- You can sleep better.
- It’s better for burning more fat.
- Your productivity improves.
- It provides a mood boost.
But, it’s not perfect. Its cons include:
- Hunger could make working out harder.
- Early alarms disrupt your sleep cycle, depending on your routine.
- Your power output is subpar.
- You need to warm up for longer.
Pros and cons of working out later in the day
Working out in the afternoon and evening is basically the opposite. It’s less convenient for most people. And, picking up the habit can be harder. Yet, your body performs much better.
Its pros are:
- Physical performance is better.
- You’re likely warmed up from the day.
- Testosterone may work better with exercise in the evening.
- You can replace bad nighttime habits with exercise.
But, its cons include the following:
- You need to be careful not to mess with your sleep.
- It might require more willpower to get to it.
- It’s harder to create the habit.
How can you make the most out of the best time for workouts?
By now, you should understand where everything is going. It’s not really about finding the best time for workouts. Your main goal should be to create it.
So, how can you do that?
You have many things to try. The same holds for the freedom of experimenting. Nothing works for everyone. You and I have different needs. So, trying new things is the name of the game.
Below, I’ll give you a few tips to find your ideal time.
Think about how often you want to train
Ideally, you want to work out between 4 and 5 days every week. Preferably, take resting days between. Moreover, try mixing up your workouts between days.
Just remember: the goal is turning it into a habit.
Try different workout plans
You also don’t have to work out for an hour every day. You can try 2 or more workouts a day. They let you reach your daily goals with more flexibility.
So, you don’t have to work out for 30 minutes in a row. You can take 15 minutes in the morning. Then, finish the rest in the afternoon or evening. If your day is packed, it’s worth considering.
Plan according to which times work better with your schedule
In the end, all times of the day have advantages. You don’t have to adapt to the day. Instead, adapt your days to you. That’s why I recommend trying different workout plans.
The best time of the day for workouts doesn’t interfere. You can complete all your tasks while working out. Thus, that’s your priority. Find your rhythm and stick to it.
Make sure you’re resting enough
Finally, don’t overdo it. Everything is bad in excess. Working out isn’t the exception. You could risk injuring yourself. But, that’s just the obvious problem.
The main concern boils down to enjoyment. Enjoying your training is a vital edge in fitness programs. If you don’t rest, you might feel bored or annoyed. That’s how you kill habits.
The holistic takeaway
So, the best time for workouts is what you create. You just need discipline and building habits. In the end, working out is about feeling better with yourself. And, that translates into doing it however you like it.
Of course, our bodies behave differently during the day. You can play to those strengths if you prefer. Yet, always ensure you’re not sacrificing anything for it.
It’s always best to work out consistently.
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