So you’ve decided to improve your health and overall wellbeing. You have your exercise plan worked out. But now you’re wondering, morning workouts vs evening workouts…which is better?
Perhaps you cringe at the thought of getting up at 5 am. Or you are too tired after work to lift a finger. Tied up with the kids? Deciding on a workout time can really impact your motivation, enjoyment, and success.
When it comes to exercise times, both have their advantages. Read on to work out which session is best for you…
Morning Workouts Vs Evening Workouts – Which is Best?
If you don’t mind early rising, here are some benefits to morning workouts:
Start Your Day on the Right Foot
You’ll feel energised before starting work. Morning workouts awaken the senses, making you fresh and alert for the day. It lessens daily food cravings and increases overall activity, according to a study by the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Plus, you feel a sense of achievement for already accomplishing something for the day.
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 the 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).
Morning workouts give you time alone before the household erupts. It’s a good opportunity to gather your thoughts and plan your day.
Busy Day? No Worries
It’s easy for the day to get away from us. If you’re stuck with overtime or chasing up kids, it doesn’t matter. You’ve already done your daily exercise. Morning workouts keep your routine consistent with fewer interruptions. This leads to a higher success rate of achieving your fitness goal.
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 it’s regulated by natural light. In the evenings your body releases melatonin which is a chemical that makes you sleepy. It’s between 10 pm and 2 am (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 into bed early.
If you have time later in the day, here are some benefits to evening workouts:
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 means less rushing around in the morning. You can hit that snooze button a bit longer.
Reflect and Destress
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 and feelings 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 hard labor.
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 the 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. If you prefer a workout buddy, then evening sessions may be better for you.
Still Not Sure?
Here are 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. It’s debatable whether it helps you fall asleep easier or interferes with the ‘wind down’ process because your body and brain is too stimulated by endorphins.
- Do you prefer the sunrise or sunset?
Morning Workouts Vs Evening Workouts – Find Your Fit
When it comes down to it, it’s a personal choice. Experiment to see which time of the day you’re most energetic and motivated. Try one session for a while and then switch it up to compare. You might discover your preference changes as your fitness improves. Find what fits in with your schedule and always listen to your body. As long as you’re consistent, you’re on the right track.
When it comes to morning workouts vs evening workouts, the winner is still you.
Already have a preference? What session time works for you?