One question that many people often ask themselves as they go about their workout routine is when the best time to workout is. You’re excited to be getting started with your new fitness plan, whether your goal is to lose fat or build muscle and you want to be sure that you’re doing absolutely everything you possibly can to guarantee that you see fast results.
You’ve got your exercises all lined up to go, know how many reps and sets you should be performing with each one, and are going to make sure that you keep your rest periods short so that you can get great metabolic boosting benefits from each session.
But now, you just have to answer the question of ‘when’. What time in the day is best to workout if you want to see maximum results? Do morning workouts far overpower evening workouts as far as the benefits you’ll receive go?
Or, are you better off hitting the gym after work and getting your session in then?
Let’s take a closer look into this question so that you can come to a firm understanding of when the best time is for you to hit the gym for your workout.
Your Own Personal Preferences
The very first and most important thing that you must take into consideration when thinking about this factor is when you prefer to do your exercise. If you are one of those people who would not describe yourself as a morning person at all, forcing yourself to fight your alarm clock each morning to get to the gym at the crack of dawn isn’t likely going to be a successful endeavour.
While you may be able to get yourself to do it three or four times when you first start and motivation is at an all time high, you can be guaranteed that as time passes onwards, so will your desire to stay crawled up under the covers of your nice warm bed.
The snooze button will start to be used more frequently than your running shoes and you’ll be skipping each and every workout that you have planned.
On the other hand, some people really enjoy morning workouts. They have no problem getting out of bed and really look forward to starting their day off on the right foot.
One thing that you do want to note here is that for adherence sake, if you can turn yourself into a ‘morning workout lover’, you will often find that you stick with a workout plan much more easily. Since you’re getting it done with before anything else comes up and crowds out your schedule, there’s less of a chance it gets skipped over due to other obligations.
The Metabolic Boosting Factor
The next factor to assess when thinking about when it’s best to get your workouts in is the metabolic boosting factor that exercise supplies. You will see an increase in your metabolism immediately after you hit the gym – how much dependant on the type, intensity, and duration of the exercise that you do.
By doing the workouts in the morning you get this metabolic boost throughout the entire day, rather than getting it but then going to bed immediately after.
So for that reason, morning workouts do slightly come up ahead of the evening workout, however you must remember that the metabolic boost will only be present if you actually do the workout (see above). If you don’t, then this will be a mute point.
Considering The Diet Element
Another important factor to consider when structuring your workout sessions is the nutrition factor. If you’re going to do an intense weight lifting session, getting in some protein and carbohydrates before you go into the gym will be a must.
If you’re someone who can hardly stand the thought of stomaching food when you first wake up, this could prove to be a bit of a problem.
Plus, if you workout later on in the evening you’ll have plenty of glucose stored within the muscles from your meals before as well as a pool of amino acids that can be utilized throughout the workout.
This does prove to be slightly advantageous for those who are doing lunch or evening workouts, so adds to the benefits you’ll see from this time of the day.
This issue can be overcome quite well by having a pre-workout shake first thing in the morning but if you down the shake and immediately start the workout, you may find that the nutrients don’t quite get to the muscles in time and the first part of the workout isn’t as optimal as you’d like.
The Body’s Natural Physiology
Finally, last but not least you should consider the body’s natural physiology. While there definitely are exceptions to the rule, most people do typically find that they are able to generate more force later on in the afternoon or evening, so they get better results from their strength training sessions.
First thing in the morning your CNS is still a little sluggish and slow from the overnight sleeping period and since the CNS is heavily involved with force generation, this can hold you back slightly.
For this reason, if you are going to work out in the morning, you’d be better off doing your cardiovascular training at this point and then putting your lifting sessions later on.
This tends to be more beneficial than the other way around and will allow you to make the most progress from your workout routine.
So there you have a few of the top things that you should consider about when to be doing each workout that you complete. There are definitely pros and cons to each time during the day so you have to first decide when you are feeling at your best and most likely to do it and then what factors from the above are most important to you.
When you feel good going into your workout you are going to put in a much higher effort level so choose your time period wisely – it will influence your success.