What is the best time of day to work out? The short answer is that it comes down to what works best for each individual when considering energy levels, motivation, and schedules. Some people feel stronger and more energetic in the morning while others find that later in the day feels best for them. Trying to decide on the best time to work out can be a bit of a challenge, especially when just starting into a workout regimen and you don’t know how your body reacts to exercise at different times of the day.
At the same time, you need to weigh how you feel with what works best with your schedule; just because you feel best at a specific time of the day does not necessarily mean that your schedule will allow you to work out exactly when you want. So we have compiled a list of things to think about when deciding on what will work best for you.
- Scheduling: First thing in the morning is typically an easier time to get in a workout as you can always wake up before everything in your day is up and running at full speed, making distraction-free exercise more likely & procrastination-proof.
- Mood boost: The mood boosting hormones that exercise releases can start your day off with increased optimism and higher self efficacy that can positively influence the rest of your day.
- Positive mindset: When you make physical activity your first priority, you bring self care and healthy habits to the forefront of your mind, which may make it more likely that you make smart nutrition decisions the rest of the day.
- Waking up early: If you are not a morning person, then this can be difficult to build into a habit.
- Slower to start: You will need to be careful to not jump straight into intense routines first thing in the morning without an extra thorough warm up.
- Nutrition/energy sources: Fasted cardio works for some people, but many will find that they need to plan ahead and have at least a snack before exercising. It takes some time and trial and error to figure out the types and quantities of food, as well as timing, that works best for your body.
- Efficiency: If you happen to be able to squeeze in a sweat session on your lunch hour, you are saving time and clearing more free-time for yourself at the end of the day.
- Well fueled: If you’re working out around lunch, you’ve probably already eaten at least one meal - mid morning snacks can help prolong your hunger and delay lunch by a short bit in order to allow you to fit in your mid-day workout.
- Better than a cup of coffee: A good mid-day workout is a very effective way to wake up both your brain and your body, which can improve your mood - and your productivity.
- Tight schedule: It can definitely be done, but it takes a quick turnaround to fit in a workout on a lunch hour.
- Meal planning: deciding if you’re going for a before or after lunch session takes a little planning and experimenting to find what works best for you.
- Blowing off steam: Pushing yourself through a tough routine after a long workday can help you reduce stress better than almost anything else.
- Energy levels: Some people may find their energy level is high in the evening, and after a day full of food, you won’t be fighting hunger or sluggish energy.
- Sleep disturbance: This is actually really easy to avoid, but still something to consider; just try not to push yourself through any high intensity training within 1-2 hours before you plan on going to bed. Stretching and yoga on the other hand, can be a great way to wind down.
- Procrastination: The biggest downfall for working out late in the day is that the longer you put it off, the more likely it is that you keep putting it off. Life gets hectic and it takes discipline to stick to your resolution of exercise with looming to-do lists and endless obligations.
Just remember when weighing all of your options that it is more important to get a workout in consistently than it is to get a perfect workout in at the perfect time of day. The most important thing you can do is to really give this some honest consideration and figure out when you are most likely to stick to the habit of working out. Like we always say; listen to your body, and in this case also your schedule & life, and with a little trial and error you will find your own perfect workout time.
What time of day do you work out, and why? What factors did we leave off of our list? Feel free to comment below or ask questions of the Fitness Blender community if you still need a little more help. If you're looking for 500+ free workout videos, thousands of healthy recipes, behind the scenes pictures & videos, workout buddies, motivation & support from people around the world, be sure to visit our mobile-friendly website!