While many experts say that the best time for your workouts is the time that you can stick to, there are scientifically backed pros and cons to working out in the morning versus working out in the evening. Depending on your fitness goals, switching up your routine may help you achieve them faster. Read on to find out when in the best time for your workouts.
If your goal is to lose weight, a morning workout might be the best option for you. When you exercise first thing in the day, it revs up your metabolism, particularly if you do it on an empty stomach. Not having any food in your stomach makes your body target your fat cells for energy, making it easier to lose weight. Your body will continue to burn more calories throughout the day, even at rest.
Furthermore, an early morning workout can set you up to make healthier choices throughout the day. Because you started your day of in a healthy way, you’ll be more inclined to eat healthy foods to keep that trend going. You’ll also get your workout out of the way before the stresses of your daily life get in the way and give you potential excuses.
Getting your workouts in during the early morning hours may put you at greater risk for injury. If you are not a morning person, you may still be a bit tired and groggy when you hit the gym. When you are tired, you have less control over your muscles, which can lead you to have poor form in your exercises, putting you at risk for injury.
In addition, your core body temperature is lower in the morning than it is later in the day. This makes it even more important that you get an adequate warm-up before beginning more strenuous exercises. Start by jogging at an easy pace for 10-15 minutes to get your blood pumping and your muscles warm.
If building strength and muscle is your goal, the evening is a better time for your workouts. By the time you leave work and head to the gym, you’ll have had plenty to eat, giving your body the fuel it needs to get through tougher workouts. However, try not to eat immediately before a workout. Your body needs time to digest the protein in your meal so that it can use it for fuel.
Because you have been up and about throughout the day, your muscles are already activated and ready to exercise. In mid-late afternoon the increased metabolism/body temperature will combine to offer better results to your workout.
You should still fit in a warm-up to help reduce your risk of injury, but it is not as crucial as in early morning workouts. When your muscles are already warm, they tend to be more flexible, reducing your risk of injury.
Working out at night may interfere with your ability to fall asleep. When you exercise, your body temperature and heart rate increase and they stay elevated for several hours after your workout. In order to fall asleep, your body needs to be in a resting state. If you exercise too late in the evening, it may take too long for your temperature and heart rate to drop back down, which can make it difficult to fall asleep when you need to.
Working out in the evening may be more psychologically difficult as well. By the time you have left work, you will have had an entire day to come up with excuses for why you can’t or don’t want to exercise. You’ll need to have more willpower to stick to evening workouts.