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What Time Should You Work Out To Maximize Your Results?
We compared the benefits of working out in the morning versus working out at night!
Summer is officially here! If you are working on perfecting your Summer body for swimsuit season or taking advantage of the warmer weather to get fit, we want to help you maximize your results and be the healthiest you possible! If you’ve found you’re struggling with your workouts and not achieving your desired results, the reason could be you’re exercising at the wrong time of day.
You’ve likely been asked if you are a morning bird who likes to wake up early or a night owl who thrives later in the day. The way you answer will be dependent on your circadian rhythm, which is an internal process in your body that regulates your unique sleeping and waking cycle. Your circadian rhythm affects your heart rate, blood pressure, and core body temperature, all of which can impact your exercise performance and the quality of your workouts. So if your current exercise routine just isn’t working for you, it may be time to move your gym sessions to the opposite end of the day.
What ultimately matters is that you are consistently devoting time to exercising. Exercising in the morning or at night both come with benefits that will keep you happy and healthy. However, people who create a workout routine where they exercise at the same time each day are significantly more likely to stick with it and be healthier in the long run. It’s up to you to determine what time of day is best for your lifestyle, but here are some benefits for morning and evening workouts to help you decide.
Here’s why you should workout in the morning:
1.) People who workout in the morning tend to be extra likely to stick with their exercise routine. This is because your willpower is typically stronger earlier in the day before you become exhausted or overwhelmed by the pressures of the day and the tasks you have to accomplish. If you end up over scheduling your day, you might find you don’t have enough time to squeeze in an evening workout. Therefore, it may be easier and better for you to get into the habit of hitting the gym early in the day.
2.) Exercising in the morning prior to eating may burn more fat and be more conducive to weight loss. This is because fat oxidation, or the body’s process of breaking down fatty acids, naturally occurs in the body when you workout before eating breakfast. Therefore, you may burn more fat and calories if you exercise before your morning meal. This practice has also been shown to boost metabolism. However, remember to drink lots of water during your workout, and stop immediately if you start to feel sick or dizzy.
3.) People who workout in the morning may be more productive throughout the day. Among other benefits, exercise is scientifically proven to boost hormones, such as cortisol, that make you feel more awake. Despite being early in the day, morning workouts are correlated with getting better sleep at night, which also helps boost your energy during the day.
4.) If you’ve been feeling extra stressed or depressed, try starting your day with a workout. During exercise, your brain releases happy hormones and endorphins that create a feeling that is often referred to as a “runner’s high.” When combined with the feeling of accomplishment you get after completing a workout, you will have a more optimistic outlook that will last for the whole day.
5.) People who work out in the morning are more likely to make healthier choices throughout the day that promote long term weight loss success. Even if it’s subconscious, people want to make healthy choices to build on the exercise from the morning instead of choices that will negate the effort they just put into their fitness routine. Plus, working out in the morning is correlated with regulating your appetite, so you will ultimately eat smaller portions and fewer calories.
6.) The morning is usually the best time of day to manage health conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. If you have one of these conditions, always exercise and make changes to your fitness routine under the guidance of your doctor. That said, studies show that when compared to afternoon workout sessions, people with diabetes who exercised in the morning suffered from fewer hypoglycemic events after the activity. While exercise in general is important for lowering high blood pressure in hypertensive adults, research has found that working out in the morning leads to favorable changes in blood pressure faster than exercising later in the day.
Here’s why you should workout later in the day:
1.) If you aren’t a morning person, consistently working out in the morning may not be enjoyable for you. Getting results from an exercise routine is entirely about compliance and consistency, and if you don’t enjoy the process you are less likely to stick with it long enough to see any significant progress or results.
2.) Late afternoon or evening workouts have been associated with lower stress levels. Exercise is a great outlet to blow off steam and let go of your frustrations. If you’ve had a crazy day, spending some time at the gym can help you clear your mind and burn off anxiety along with the calories. This can help you relax and be less jittery when it’s time for bed.
3.) If you have an injury or disability that causes your joints to stiffen, working out in the afternoon or evening may be advantageous to you. Everyone is different, but typically people feel the most stiff when they wake up in the morning after not moving for an extended period of time overnight. If you wait to workout in the afternoon or evening, your body will have time to naturally warm itself up throughout the day. Warming up is critical for improving muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance, and for preventing injuries, such as sprains or muscle spasms.
4.) Working out later in the day may mean that you can workout harder for longer. Research has found that muscular function and strength peaks in the evening hours, and that the body better utilizes oxygen during nighttime workouts. This can lead to greater endurance and stamina, as well as better anaerobic performance during resistance training or sprinting.
5.) Working out in the evening will help you kick your late-night snacking habits to the curb. While midnight snacks are satisfying at the moment, they won’t help your weight loss goals and can even cause indigestion. Night time workouts cause the body to release lower amounts of ghrelin, which is the hormone that makes you feel hungry. Therefore, working out at night will help you feel satiated without needing to binge on snacks in the middle of the night.
6.) An annoying fact of all fitness journeys is that we all inevitably get stuck in plateaus, which can be frustrating and disheartening. However, working out at night has been found to be the most effective for breaking out of weight loss plateaus or taking your fitness results to the next level. A study conducted by the University of Copenhagen found that nighttime exercise significantly increased whole-body energy expenditure, even in the hours after the workout. Therefore, switching to nighttime workouts may help you start to see progress again. Plus, gyms are typically less crowded at night, which means you can add variety to your fitness routine with new equipment, or use your favorite equipment for longer.