There are numerous things to consider when planning a fitness regimen, but have you ever thought about what time of day to work out? You may be surprised at how differently your body reacts to exercise depending on the time of day!
How Time of Day Affects Your Exercise Results
The big question is, does the time of day you work out affect the results? Yes, but it’s not a simple answer. Do you instantly get better results from working out at a specific time than others? No, not really, but your body does react differently to exercising at different times of the day.
Recent studies have observed that working out earlier in the morning could affect the genes in your muscle cells, which help boost your metabolism and burn more calories than you would at other times of the day. So, if your primary fitness goal is to slim down, you may see better results if you exercise early in the morning instead of the afternoon or evening.
However, some studies show athletes who exercise in the evening use less oxygen, allowing them to work out harder for longer than in the morning. One of the primary reasons you’ll see slightly different results from exercise is your body’s circadian rhythms.
What Is a Circadian Rhythm?
The body’s circadian rhythm is a significant factor in how your body responds to exercise, but what is the circadian rhythm? Your circadian rhythm is the physical, mental, and behavioral changes you go through in a 24-hour cycle that follow a general pattern.
Your internal clock responds to natural light and dark and responds by providing more energy or slowing down based on previous patterns. Your circadian rhythm puts your body in a pattern for eating, moving around, sleeping, and even exercising.
How Your Circadian Rhythm Affects Your Exercise
In the morning, your circadian rhythm is still waking up your body, which is why you might find you don’t have much energy for a morning workout as you do for an afternoon or evening workout. But your circadian rhythm can also help you get better workout results in the morning.
If your body is used to eating in the morning, your metabolism kicks in automatically, so if you’re exercising, you have a better chance of burning more calories. Since you’re exercising and your metabolism is kicking in simultaneously, your body is working double-time to burn calories.
If you choose to work out in the morning, it’s a good idea to wake up and give your body some time before exercising. Your system needs time to adjust and increase your energy, so take some time to drink some water and have a light snack, and you’ll find you have more energy than if you were to jump out of bed directly into exercise.
Benefits of Working Out in the Morning
We’ve talked about some of the physical benefits of working out in the morning, but there are also other benefits. Here are some advantages of exercising early in the day.
You have fewer distractions when you start your day off with a workout. You don’t have to schedule your training around other things in your day or worry about something coming up that may make you skip your exercise; you start and finish it before anything else.
More Comfortable Weather
If you live in a warm climate and love to work out or run outdoors, the morning is probably the best time to exercise as the weather is usually more pleasant. Plus, the streets, roads, and sidewalks are less likely to be crowded early in the morning.
Healthier Food Choices
Immediately before and after a workout, you’re more likely to eat healthy food because that’s what your body craves. If you start your day with a healthy meal and exercise, you’ll feel better, and your body will crave healthy food the rest of the day. Set the tone with a healthy meal and exercise in the morning!
Start Your Day Happy
It’s no secret that exercise makes us happier as our brain releases chemicals into our brain to make us feel better during and after a workout. If you work out in the morning, you’re starting your day off with a dose of happy brain chemicals to put you in a good mood.
Get It Out of the Way
If you’re one of those people that dread going to the gym, you may feel better if you do it early in the morning. Instead of going through the day thinking about having to go to the gym later, you can check it off your to-do list and feel accomplished the rest of the day! Or you can skip the fitness gym entirely and start your home gym by grabbing some high-quality weightlifting equipment for sale!
Benefits of Working Out in the Evening
There are clear benefits to working out in the morning, but what about in the evening?
Many who choose to exercise in the evening say it’s better for their focus, and it’s easy to see why. When you’re exercising at the end of the day, you don’t find yourself watching the clock to make sure you’re not late for work or class or whatever’s next on your schedule. All that’s left is to focus on the exercise.
Can Go Longer
As we mentioned before, your body is a little more primed for exercise in the evening than when you first wake up, so you expend less energy and use less oxygen. In essence, this lets you go longer exercising in the evening without pushing yourself over the limit.
Less Crowded Gyms
If you’ve ever been to a gym or fitness center in the morning, you know how busy and crowded it can get. Every place is different, but in general, you’ll find fewer people using the gym at night, giving you more opportunities to use weights and machines without having to wait.
Unwind After a Long Day
The same way exercising in the morning can help you get ready for the day, it can also help you unwind in the evening. We’ve all had those long and stressful days, and one of the best feelings is working out those negative feelings with some exercise and finishing in a much better mood than when you started. It may not be relaxing, but you’ll feel much better when you’re done!
Studies have shown that getting some exercise in the evening will help you sleep faster and for longer. The caveat is that it’s best to do light or moderate exercise, while an intense workout will pump your body and energy levels up too much to the point where you could find yourself awake late into the night.
In conclusion, the time of day does affect the results of a workout, but it’s much more complicated than a simple answer. In the end, it comes down to the individual, what they prefer, their goals, and whether they feel they have more energy in the evening or morning.