Morning and evening workouts: which is the best workout timing?
Rumour has it that working out in the morning yields significantly better results as compared to working out in the evening. Is there any truth behind morning being the best workout timing, or does it belong in the same category as the fitness myths we debunked previously? Let’s take a deep dive and investigate the science behind exercising during different times of the day!
Everybody has something known as a “circadian rhythm” which is essentially a 24-hour cycle in which your body follows to accomplish essential functions & processes. It is mostly influenced by environmental cues such as light, which is why the day & night cycle is such a big part of our lives. Examples of processes that rely on the circadian rhythm are the release of digestive juices by your stomach when its close to the designated meal time and the feeling of sleepiness when it’s close to bedtime. The circadian rhythm depends wholly on one’s lifestyle though, so if you are a night owl, you will have a very different circadian rhythm as compared to someone who sleeps early and rises at the crack of dawn.
With that part explained, it’ll be easier for you to understand why people have different preferences when it comes to exercising. In the morning, some people’s circadian rhythms are not accustomed to physical exertion and any attempts to do so will lead to feelings of fatigue, discomfort and in some extreme cases, even disorientation. This applies for exercising at night too. It’s all about finding the timing you’re most comfortable with and making it a habit so your internal body-clock can start adjusting to it.
But… morning workouts do have its benefits.
According to experts, if you have trouble establishing a workout routine, working out in the morning might be the solution. Waking up early tends to mean that you don’t have any interruptions, allowing you to focus on your workout. Research also supports that a morning workout before breakfast supposedly burns up to 20% more of your stored fat as you are in a fasted state, making it ideal for individuals with weight loss goals.
- Sets your mood for the rest of the day
- Burns stored fat more effectively
- Improve productivity
- Less likely to be interrupted
- Might feel weak due to lack of energy
- Can be very hard to remain consistent in the beginning
Evening and Afternoon Workouts
Now, for the late-night owls that frown at the thought of waking up with the sun, you might be more open to the idea of working out in the latter part of the afternoon and at night. Studies show that as our body temperature rises throughout the day, it typically reaches its peak around the late afternoon & evening. This means that your body is in the most optimal state for physical exercise. Inversely, your heart rate and blood pressure also dips to the lowest point throughout the day in the afternoon, which helps decrease risks of injury.
- Low possibility of injury
- Higher energy levels
- More available gym buddies
- Best for strength training
- Gyms are typically crowded
- Might be unable to fall asleep at night due to increased temperature
What works for you?
Everybody is different and unique. No two people are exactly the same and this is just the product of being exposed to different environments, sources of media & lifestyles while growing up. Our body, much like us, also adapts to the situation. This means that there’s no one-size-fit-all solution for anything. What appeals to someone might not be as attractive to another person. The choice between working out in the morning and evening is entirely up to your preference, though each of them have their pros & cons. Ultimately, try both out and pick the one you’re most comfortable with. This helps with consistency, giving you the best results in the long term!