Is it better to exercise in the morning or the evening?
A lot of our members ask us when they should be exercising, I think what it really comes down to, is when is the best time for you and what are you training for? For most of us, we want to keep healthy, be fit and strong and (let’s not kid ourselves) we want to look good too! If those are your goals then you are going to get the best results exercising frequently and at a decent level of intensity. I think you can probably see where I’m going here…the best time to exercise is when you actually get it done!
Exercising in the morning
You might have heard that exercising in the morning is best for weight-loss, I have heard that one bandied around a bit, but there doesn’t seem to be that much scientific evidence to back it up, according to Associate Professor in Exercise Physiology Kym Guelfi (UWA). The belief that you burn more calories in the morning stems from the fact that if you exercise first thing (before you eat) you mobilise more fatty acids – which means you burn more fat. Burning fat is of course what we want, but if you, like me, take a while to get moving in the morning, then chances are you will exercise much harder later in the day and be able to push yourself more when you’re more awake. I always feel like I want to eat more during the day when I exercise in the morning too (maybe I am just looking for more excuses not to have to workout in the morning here…) but study of healthy men showed that overall food intake throughout the day didn’t really differ whether they trained in the morning or the evening.
Exercising in the evening
Getting strong: if you are really keen to see increases in the amount of weight you can push around you will probably see better results when you exercise later in the day, simply because we have more fuel in our bodies and we are more alert and consequently will be able to exercise harder and for longer. A study from the Clinical Research Centre at the University of Chicago also indicated that it might be better to train after work because your bodies metabolism seems to adapt better. Subjects in the study who exercised in the evening reported far greater increases in levels of endocrine hormones (cortisol and thyrotropin) than those who exercised in the morning. Exercising late at night however, will increase your rate of physiological processes and you will find it hard to go straight to sleep – so if you’re planning on turning in early don’t leave your workout too late.
Pros and Cons of exercising in the morning or the evening
In summer, the morning might be the better time to aim for, it’s light early, it’s cooler and you might feel like that morning gym session enhances other aspects of your life throughout the day, like mental awareness and alertness. Exercise tend to be a mood enhancer too, so it means you’re starting out your day on the right foot. Usually no-one has had the chance to sabotage your training routine either… like a late meeting, sick kid, invitation to after-work drinks… On the other hand training after work can be a great release after a stressful day and help you sleep better at night. You will also probably train harder for longer – but will you always make it to the gym?
The Best time to Train
Is when it suits you! Some people (me) are just not morning people! It’s better for me to train later because I really can’t push myself in the morning, but an easy jog in the park is a good option then I can leave the heavy stuff to later in the day. I am the mother of two small children however, and increasingly, although it is my least favourite time to train, I do find myself hitting the gym in the early hours, because if I don’t – I just don’t get there at all – and getting there is the most important thing.