When is the Best Time to Workout? Science Weighs in

You might be wondering how to get the most out of your workout.

Person stretching before a morning workout
When you workout matters as much as the exercise itself apparently – source

And to get maximum benefits when your workout matters a lot, according to researchers who conducted this new study.

Keep reading to find out the effects of working out in the morning, afternoon, evening, or even before bed!

Why When You Work Out Matters

As we’ve discussed, humans operate on an internal clock, our circadian rhythm, which is responsible for many aspects of our biology.

Circadian rhythms can affect the quality of sleep, how well you digest food, and your metabolism greatly.

Therefore, our internal clock affects our workout in many ways, including how well we perform, how much energy we expend, how much muscle we gain, and how much weight we lose.

Here are the pros and cons of the morning, evening, and nighttime workouts!

Morning Workouts

Individuals who work out in the morning tend to lose more weight according to some studies. This may be due to burning more body fat in the morning than later in the day.

This is particularly true for a fasted workout, a workout done before any meal, where the body is forced to use the energy stored to complete the exercise.

The benefits of this include decreased visceral fat and increased weight loss.

Afternoon Workouts

An afternoon workout may result in increased performance during workouts! This is mostly since you have had a meal or two, and feel more energetic (of course, a meal of junk food may actually make you feel sluggish).

Other benefits are better metabolic function. This includes better blood sugar control and better insulin response.

Evening Workouts

Evening workouts, similar to afternoon workouts, tend to increase blood sugar stability, meaning you can digest and process food more effectively.

Evening workouts may also increase muscle strength as you may have more energy due to the meals consumed throughout the day.

Nighttime Workouts

Nighttime workouts may result in increased focus during your workout.

There is no more job stuff to be done, gyms are usually less crowded, and you can really concentrate on the movement and exercise you are doing.

Working out at night may also result in a better quality of sleep, a reduction in stress, and enhanced recovery, as muscles repair during sleep.

So, When is the Best Time to Workout?

This new study looked at the mechanisms of the heart, blood, cells, and body during an animal study.

It found that in the morning, the body relies more heavily on stored energy, body fat, to fuel workouts.

Later in the evening, not only may you perform better, but blood sugar is regulated more. 

But honestly?

The best time to work out is when you will actually want to work out.

If you cannot bring yourself to wake up before work at 5 am, or 6 am, and work out, then you will not work out well. You’ll be groggy and tired and not have the energy to move well.

Work out when you feel most comfortable and ready to work out for you! Science has stated the benefits of working out regardless of the time of the day anyway, including reduced visceral fat, increase muscle definition, increased cardiovascular health, and better quality of life.

Workout Tips for Any Time of Day

Here are some workout tips for any exercise at any time of day!

Wait for 1 to 2 hours after eating for an intense workout. If you work out too much right after eating, you might experience digestive issues.

A brisk walk, however, right after eating can improve digestion and will benefit you greatly!

Stay hydrated throughout the workout to stay energized and motivated.

Remember to eat a protein-packed meal after working out to recover and take care of the muscles by massaging, stretching, or using warm/cold water to soothe.

Carb cycling, or loading up on healthy carbs right before a workout, may give you more energy and enhanced performance.

Adopt a Yes I Can attitude when working out! The mind tends to quit before the body, so push yourself safely and responsibly.

The Takeaway 

Working out at any time of day can have amazing life-changing benefits.

Morning workouts may burn more fat and increase weight loss while working out later in the day may increase blood sugar stability and improve performance.

Regardless of this, remember that the best time to work out is when you are motivated to work out!

Push yourself, believe in yourself, take care of yourself afterward with a good recovery routine to support your body.

Eat nutritious, healthy meals, stay hydrated, and self-care it up.

Remember, health starts from within! By taking small steps towards wellbeing, by adopting habits you can sustain, you give your body the tools it needs to thrive.

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