When it comes to working out, the best time of day is whenever you will be most likely to be there consistently. In other words, the best time to workout is largely a matter of personal preference and can depend on a variety of factors, including your schedule, energy levels, and preferences.
Workouts in the morning and evening both have their own benefits, so there is no “best” time of day. But before we get to that, let’s think about what good could come from getting up earlier to exercise.
Here are a few pros and cons of working out in the morning versus the evening to help you decide which time might work best for you:
Pros Of Working Out In The Morning
Exercising first thing in the morning has numerous positive effects on one’s health. If you have trouble maintaining a fitness regimen, try doing your workout first thing in the morning. Here are three positives that may make that early alarm worthwhile.
Boosts Energy Levels
Many people find that working out in the morning helps them feel energized and awake for the rest of the day.
Exercise has been shown to improve brain function and increase productivity, so working out in the morning might help you get more done during the day.
Gets Your Workout Out Of The Way
If you’re someone who tends to put off workouts until later in the day, working out in the morning can help you get your workout done and out of the way early on.
May Help In Weight Loss
If you work out in the morning, you might choose to do it without eating anything first if you want to lose weight. The effects of this vary from person to person, but studies show that exercising on an empty stomach makes fat burn faster. Harvard Medical School says that when a body that hasn’t eaten in a while needs energy, it turns stored fat or muscle protein into sugar.
A new study from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden may provide further light on the situation. The results of the study suggest that it is just as crucial to choose the right time of day to exercise as it is to train hard.
Cons Of Working Out In The Morning
While it’s easy to keep up with a morning fitness program, there are some major drawbacks to this strategy that may convince you to switch to a later time slot. Disadvantages of an early-morning workout include the following.
1. Difficulty Waking Up
If you’re not a morning person, getting up early to workout might be a challenge.
If you struggle with waking up early to workout, there are a few strategies you can try to make it a little easier:
- Gradually adjust your sleep schedule: If you’re used to staying up late and sleeping in, it can be tough to suddenly switch to an early morning workout routine. To make the transition easier, try gradually adjusting your sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up a little earlier each day.
- Set a consistent bedtime: Establishing a consistent bedtime can help you get better quality sleep, which can make it easier to wake up in the morning.
- Don’t hit the snooze button: Hitting the snooze button might give you a few extra minutes of sleep, but it can also disrupt your sleep cycle and make it harder to wake up. Instead, try setting your alarm for the time you actually need to get up and force yourself to get out of bed when it goes off.
- Make your bedroom a sleep-friendly environment: Creating a sleep-friendly environment can help you get better quality sleep. This includes things like keeping your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet, and using a comfortable mattress and pillows.
- Find a workout buddy: Having someone to workout with can help hold you accountable and make it easier to get out of bed in the morning.
Remember, it’s important to be patient with yourself and give yourself time to adjust to a new routine. It may take some time to get used to waking up early to workout, but with persistence and determination, you can make it a habit.
2. Lack Of Time
Depending on your schedule, you might have less time in the morning to dedicate to a workout.
If you have a busy schedule and are struggling to find time for a morning workout, here are a few strategies you can try:
- Wake up a little earlier: While it might be tough at first, waking up a little earlier can give you more time to dedicate to your workout.
- Keep your workouts short and efficient: If you don’t have a lot of time to spare, try to make the most of your workouts by keeping them short and focused. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, which involve alternating between bursts of intense exercise and brief periods of rest, are a great way to get a lot of benefits in a short amount of time.
- Workout at home: If you don’t have time to make it to the gym, consider working out at home. There are plenty of exercises you can do using just your own bodyweight, such as push-ups, squats, and lunges.
- Find a workout that fits your schedule: If you have a busy schedule, it might be helpful to find a workout that fits into your schedule more easily. For example, if you don’t have time for a long workout in the morning, consider fitting in a quick walk or run before work or during your lunch break.
- Make time for exercise: While it might be tough at first, it’s important to make time for exercise. Consider it a priority and try to fit it into your schedule as best you can. Even just a few minutes of exercise each day can make a big difference in your overall health and well-being.
Now that you know the benefits and drawbacks of working out first thing in the morning, let’s go through what we may anticipate from an evening workout.
Pros Of Working Out In The Evening
Most people who workout in the evening either stop by the gym on their way home, or go home and return later. Some people are more likely to go to the gym regularly if it is conveniently located on their way home from work. Evening exercise has many advantages, including:
Exercise can help improve sleep quality, so working out in the evening might help you sleep better at night. According to an article published in Sleep Medicine, incorporating strenuous exercise into your nightly routine can help your sleep schedule and speed up muscle recovery the next day.
Depending on your schedule, you might have more time in the evening to dedicate to a workout.
The Journal of Sports Science and Medicine reports that, due to changes in both core body temperature and hormone levels, peak muscle performance occurs in the early evening.
Better Mental Clarity
Some people find that working out in the evening helps them clear their minds and relax after a long day.
Cons Of Working Out In The Evening
A 2019 study found that those who work out first thing in the morning are more likely to maintain their fitness routines than those who wait until later in the day. A few more issues you might face in evening workouts are.
Decreased Energy Levels
If you’re already feeling tired at the end of the day, it might be harder to find the energy to workout.
If you’re feeling tired at the end of the day and struggling to find the energy to workout, there are a few strategies you can try:
- Eat a healthy snack before your workout: Having a small, healthy snack before your workout can help give you the energy you need to power through. Good options include fruits, nuts, and yogurt.
- Stay hydrated: Dehydration can lead to fatigue, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough fluids throughout the day.
- Get enough sleep: Adequate sleep is essential for maintaining energy levels, so make sure you’re getting enough rest at night.
- Find an activity you enjoy: If you’re not motivated to workout because you don’t enjoy the activity you’re doing, try finding something you do enjoy. Whether it’s dancing, swimming, or cycling, finding an activity you enjoy can help make your workouts feel more enjoyable and give you the energy you need to stick with it.
- Take breaks when needed: If you’re feeling really tired, it’s okay to take a break and come back to your workout later. Taking breaks can help you recharge and come back to your workouts with renewed energy.
Working out too close to bedtime can interfere with sleep quality.
It’s true that working out too close to bedtime can interfere with sleep quality. Exercise can stimulate the body and make it harder to fall asleep, especially if you’re doing a high-intensity workout. To help ensure that your workouts don’t interfere with your sleep, try the following strategies:
- Finish your workout a few hours before bedtime: Aim to finish your workout at least a few hours before you go to bed, to give your body time to wind down.
- Do a low-intensity workout: If you’re working out close to bedtime, try doing a low-intensity activity like yoga or walking, which can help relax the body and mind.
- Cool down properly: After your workout, be sure to cool down with some gentle stretches and deep breathing to help your body relax.
- Create a bedtime routine: Establishing a bedtime routine can help you wind down and prepare for sleep. This might include activities like reading, listening to calming music, or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation.
- Make sure your sleep environment is conducive to sleep: A comfortable, cool, and dark bedroom can help improve sleep quality. Consider using a white noise machine or earplugs to help block out any distractions, and invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows.
Ultimately, the best time to workout is the time that works best for you. If you’re having trouble deciding, try working out at different times of the day and see how it affects
You might find that you feel more energized and motivated to workout in the morning, or that you prefer the relaxation and stress relief of an evening workout. Keep in mind that it’s important to listen to your body and pay attention to your own needs and preferences.
If you’re struggling to find the time or motivation to workout, it might be helpful to try out different workouts or activities to find something that you enjoy and that fits into your schedule. It’s also important to remember that consistent, moderate-intensity exercise is more beneficial than sporadic, high-intensity workouts, so it’s better to focus on finding a routine that you can stick with rather than trying to fit in as much exercise as possible all at once.
Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant.
He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves.
Rahul has a master’s degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.