It’s something we all question ourselves when starting our fitness regime. What time is best to exercise? Which session is easier? Perhaps you cringe at getting up at 5am. Or you’re too tired after work to lift a finger.
When it comes to workout times, both have their advantages:
Start Your Day on the Right Foot
You’ll feel energized before starting work. Morning workouts awaken the senses, making you fresh and alert for the day. It lessens daily food cravings and increase overall activity, according to a study by the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Plus, there’s a sense of achievement for already accomplishing something.
It’ll put you in a better mood for work, no more Monday blahs.
Burn Calories Before Breakfast
How’s that for a head-start! Some people like a snack or protein shake to fuel their workout. Others prefer a fasted workout. It’s believed this leads to faster fat-burning. When the body is fasting, it’ll use up remaining sugar stores for fuel. Once that’s depleted, it taps into fat reserves, converting it to more energy. Fasted workouts combat insulin resistance (potential risk to type 2 diabetes).
As you build muscle, your metabolism is boosted. Aerobic HIIT and strength training encourage an afterburn that can last all day.
Morning workouts give you time alone before the household erupts awake. It’s a good opportunity to gather your thoughts and plan your day. (Whether you can stick to that plan is another story…)
Busy Day? No Worries
It’s easy for the day to get away. If you get stuck doing overtime or chasing up kids, it doesn’t matter. You’ve already done your daily exercise. Morning workouts keep your routine consistent with less interruptions.
Keep Your Body Clock in Check
You can better manage your body clock by rising early. Your circadian rhythms influence behavior and biological factors, and its regulated by natural light. In the evenings your body releases melatonin which is a chemical that makes you sleepy. It’s between 10pm and 2am (stage 3 slow-wave-sleep) that your body releases growth hormones and goes into repair mode. Interrupting this cycle can leave you groggy the next day. With a morning workout, you’ll have no problems crashing in bed early.
In the evening, you’re not bound by the clock. You can dedicate more time to your workout without worrying about work or other commitments. It also mean less rushing around in the morning. You can hit that snooze button a bit longer.
Reflect and De-stress
Blow off some steam. If you’ve had a frustrating day, you can release your tension before bed. It’s a good time to process your thoughts from the day.
Working out in the evening keeps you away from the pub, or a night of pizza and Netflix. Less temptation = less calories.
Work Your Muscles
It’s a great stretch after sitting in the office all day. And it’s a good way to stop your muscles from seizing after a day of labour.
A study was conducted with 20 males performing morning and evening workouts. Results show that oxygen intake and muscle strength allowed longer performance in the evening (up to 20%). Another study
measured several biological responses. It concluded the body is better at handling high temperatures in the afternoon. Muscles and soft tissues are more flexible with heat, reducing risk of injuries.
Most friends find it easier to catch up in the evenings. You’re both more flexible with your commitments out of the way.
Still Not Sure?
Here’s some other factors to consider:
- Your type of training (e.g. when doing strength training, your body produces more testosterone in the evening).
- The impact of evening workouts on sleep. Its debatable whether it helps you fall asleep easier or interferes with the ‘wind down’ process because your body/brain is too stimulated by endorphins.
- Do you prefer the sunrise or sunset?
Find Your Fit
It comes down to personal choice. I found morning fasted workouts most effective for me. For others, evening workouts may be more beneficial.
Find what fits your schedule and always listen to your body. So long as you’re exercising, you’re on the right track.
When it comes to morning workouts vs evening workouts, the winner is you regardless.