Many strongly believe that the early bird gets the worm.
But, is this really true?
Despite this popular mantra most fitness enthusiasts swear by, the best time to work out is an age-old debate because of the physiological effects working out can have over the body at different times.
Trying to device a solid workout regime at a particular time of the day can be bit of a challenge, especially if you aren’t sure how your body reacts to morning and evening exercises.
A morning workout may be the best way to burn fat, but your energy levels could be at peak in the evening, giving you a more advantageous training.
Nutrition is important. Therefore, whether you choose morning or evening, you need to ensure that you have a nutrient-dense meal or shake to fuel your workout.
The following article is an all-you-will-need guide on the advantages and disadvantages of morning and evening workouts. Which one is best for you? We’ll let you be the judge of that.
Morning Workouts: The Pros
Higher fat-burning potential
Working out in the morning can give your metabolism a massive boost, helping your body burn more calories throughout the day, compared to an equally intense evening workout.
You’ll make better choices in nutrition
Since you’ve already started your day on a great foot, you’ll not want to waste all that effort by eating unhealthy junk. Salads and high-protein meals will begin to look more appealing to you and you’ll be able to manage your cravings more effectively.
Your body is fresh and repaired in the morning
8 to 12 hours before waking up, your body was in sleep mode and ready to start regenerating. Oxidation takes place every day in our bodies on a cellular level and your body draws energy stored in the muscle fibers to recuperate.
Additionally, a workout can cause microscopic tears which are also repaired overnight. Since all of this action takes place during sleep, you wake up, fresh and well, newer.
You’ll start your day with a positive mindset
Exercise helps boost endorphins in the body, making you feel calmer, happier and more positive. Therefore, working out in the morning can be a great way to kicks-start your day. This could even help improve your work and social life.
You’ll sleep better in the night
While it may sound counter-intuitive, health researchers at the Appalachian State University found that exercising in the morning could help you have better sleep in the night. This is contrary to common belief that exercising in the night will tire you out and help you fall asleep faster.
Researchers found that people who workout in the daytime experience a 25 percent drop in blood pressure in the night, helping them feel calmer and fall into deeper sleep faster.
You’ll feel less stress during workout
It has been proven that people who workout regularly, feeL far less stressed and more empowered during work hours.
Your skin will be glowing throughout the day
Skip the makeup. A morning sweat sesh will give you a natural flush and post-workout glow that you can take anywhere.
Your morning Joe can fuel your workout
Consuming caffeine before a workout can help elevate speed, endurance and the overall intensity of your workout, giving you massive gains. You’ll burn more calories post-workout, with double the energy boost. Of course, too much caffeine can cause a mid-day crash so don’t overdo it.
Morning Workouts: The Cons
You have to wake up earlier
This one is pretty obvious. If you’re not a fan of waking up early, getting out of bed in the morning can feel like a huge challenge – especially if you have to do it on a regular basis.
If you’re not used to morning workouts and you end up forcing yourself to get up and exercise, chances are you won’t put in maximum effort into it as you would in the evening. Moreover, if not planned properly, waking up earlier could also disrupt your sleep pattern, causing sleep deprivation.
Higher chances of injury
Your muscles and joints are stiffer in the morning, so to reduce your risk of injury, you’ll have to spend more time on your warm-up for a morning workout. One study showed that your muscles and joints are as much as 20 percent more flexible during evening hours.
Fasted cardio might work for some people, however, most people will have to plan ahead, saving time for a snack prior to their morning workout. It may take some time to figure out the foods and portion sizes that will suit your body during exercise.
Evening Workouts: The Pros
You’ll get some extra time to sleep and you don’t have to wake up worrying about packing a change of clothes, showering super-fast in the gym or grabbing a post-workout meal after training. This can make mornings much less stressful for most people.
A chance to blow off some steam
If you had a rough day, sweating it out at the gym can be incredibly beneficial.
Lifting some iron in the evening can help clear your mind from the past events of the day, as you will focus mainly on your workout. If you’re working out after work, it can serve as a nice transition that will help de-stress your mind before you join your loved ones at home.
More positive energy after work hours
An evening workout can help provide a surge of energy for the rest of the day, which is especially needed if you had a difficult day at work.
Your body is more physically prepared
For most of us, our hormone levels and body temperature are at their peak at 6 pm. In addition, as we mentioned earlier your body is also more flexible during this time and less susceptible to injuries.
Since you don’t have to think about work anymore, you can spend more quality time in the gym. This means that you’ll spend more time warming up and doing your core workouts.
Evening Workouts: The Cons
A last minute dinner plan or meeting with friends are common distractions that typically occur in the evening. This may cause you to take gym time right off the schedule.
Additionally, after a long day, you may not feel as pumped to workout and it may be more tempting to spend the rest of the day in the couch or bed.
Due to safety concerns and the weather becoming unpredictable in the evening during winter time, you might have to limit yourself to indoor activities only.
Gyms are usually more crowded in the evening, which means getting the machine or spot you want may not be as easy. This can make your workout less efficient.
Working out 2-3 hours before bedtime can affect the overall quality of your sleep. Depending on the intensity of your workout, you’re in a more energetic state post workout, which can make it more difficult to fall asleep.
You can try yoga or gentle stretching to unwind after a busy day and enjoy restful sleep in the night.
At the end of the day – or the beginning, depending on your choice – the time you choose for exercise should be what works best for you and one that suits your schedule.
For morning risers, exercising in the morning can be a pleasurable, exciting feat, however, for others it can be quite stressful. On the other hand, exercising in the evening may help de-stress you, but at the same time, doing it too close to bedtime may affect your sleep cycle.
In the grand scheme of things, making time for physical activity is what’s really important. And remember, exercise is just 30% of the game. Be sure to nourish your body with the calories needed to fuel your workouts and plenty of protein to elevate your muscle gains via lean protein sources and whey protein.
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- Updated on April 1, 2019 by Ada Lane