Struggling to schedule your workout? Studies suggest when you workout in the morning you kickstart fat loss, improve sleep quality, and feel more energized.
If you’ve ever wondered whether the early bird truly gets the worm, you’re probably not the early bird. Like me, you enjoy your life as a night owl. But you’ve also heard endless stories of achievement and success linked to early morning risers – could it be true?
Wondering if you’ll now need to adjust your entire routine, you ponder, “is it better to workout in the morning than to workout in the afternoon or evening?”
Science reports — it depends…
Is it better to workout in the morning?
If you are looking to boost fat loss and increase your energy throughout the day — working out in the morning is the clear champion. While the amount of fat loss varies, some studies have found working out first thing in the morning doubled fat loss.
Morning workouts are associated with lower blood pressure, better sleep quality, increased metabolism, lower stress, and increased energy levels and productivity throughout the day.
Instead of targeting easy-to-absorb carbohydrates your body used overnight as you slept, morning workouts source their fuel from glucose in fat cells. This makes a potent argument for working out before give yourself additional fuel sources with breakfast.
You also increase insulin sensitivity when you workout in the morning before eating, which is crucial to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and preventing both heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes. An unhealthy diet leads to excess blood sugar stored in glucose – exercise targets glucose and reduces sugar stored in the body. In fact, working out can lower your blood sugar for up to 24 hours!
The downsides to morning workouts? You may experience joint stiffness, and if you’re not a morning person – grumpiness too.
The best workout is the one you actually do, so if you won’t actually workout out in the morning? Schedule it for later.
It is best to workout in the afternoon?
If you’re looking to maintain energy levels throughout the day, a quick midday workout might be your cure. Working out in the afternoon helps beat the midday slump with the energy boosts provided by consuming a meal or two.
Other perks of choosing to workout in the afternoon over working out in the morning?
If you’re not a morning person, an afternoon workout means less stress and actually accomplishing your training goals. You also benefit from a few meals in your belly to increase your energy, which helps you lift heavier and go harder in training sessions.
Is Working Out At Night Better?
Before we get to the sleep solution, did you know that research suggests working out in the early evening actually increases your anaerobic capacity AKA how hard you workout?
Because your body temperature reaches its peak near early evening, your body is also most awake and optimized for a training session. One study conducted in 2013 found that working out in the evening led to a 7% increase in anaerobic capacity and a 20% greater time till exhaustion.
Your body is more energized and prepared to workout at night than in the morning. For that reason, working out at night might be more effective at building muscle.
Contrary to popular belief, working out at night only makes it harder to sleep if you workout literally right before bed. New research published in 2018 by Sports Medicine suggests as long as you give yourself an hour after a vigorous training session to wind down, you’ll still get a great night’s sleep.
You can further head off any side effects of an intense evening workout by scheduling time for gentle stretching or yoga before bed.
Combine easy and peaceful yoga movement with breath-work for the ultimate blissful delivery into a good night’s sleep.
At the end of the day – the best time to schedule your workout is the time you’ll stick to. Working out at all is beneficial to your health – US Health guidelines suggest 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.
While working out at different times of the day brings various benefits and drawbacks, there’s no one right time to workout. Experiment and choose the time that works best for you.