When’s the Best Time of Day to Exercise?

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Are you a morning or evening workout person? Would you change your mind if science suggested one of those were a better time?

Maybe, maybe not (for me). But if you’re curious, here are a few things to consider.

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What does the early bird get?

So, morning or evening? Well, it gets a bit complicated.

Throughout the health and wellness community, there are people who swear by “fasted training” for losing weight; the idea is that working out on an empty stomach burns fat to melt away the pounds. Fasted training is often done in the morning, before breakfast.

But studies have been mixed. “Fed training,” when you eat before a workout, has been shown to help spark your body’s energy so that you can have a strong workout.

So which is better?

Well, the evidence says that it depends on your personal body composition, so you need to decide what works. Also, more important than either fed or fasted training is consistency. We all know there are tons of reasons in life why you might skip the gym – and that’s a major pro to getting your workout out of the way in the morning.

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But evening workouts also have their perks…

Throughout the day, your body warms up, making your evening workout better. Also, your muscles cells contain biological clocks that abide by your circadian rhythms, which are regulated by your larger internal clock and sleeping regimes. What that means is that “…muscle cells are more efficient during an organism’s normal waking hours.”

So if you are into strength training and weight lifting, evening hours could be your best bet, as your muscles are at optimal efficiency and maintain higher levels of testosterone. Not to mention that later workouts have been shown to increase focus and energy.

Back to the question: which is better?

Well, sorry to do this to you, but it depends on the person. Perhaps the most important factor to consider is consistency, if you’re working toward weight loss goals. But if you’re looking for other types of gains, then you should consider muscle fatigue, sleep, and your schedule larger. If you ever see a trainer at the gym, they can give you a bit more advice specific to your body composition and goals.

But as long as you’re doing exercise, you are on your way!