The age-old debate about which is best – morning or evening workouts – is hotly contested in the fitness community. As it turns out, the answer to this question is multifaceted and depends on your health and fitness goals, and possibly even your genetics.
For weight loss: morning workouts
If your goal is to cut and shed some serious pounds, strongly consider getting your sweat sesh in during those first hours of the morning.
It’s been well documented that exercise is a great way to rev up your metabolism. Research has also shown that when we haven’t eaten breakfast yet, our bodies will burn and use fat as energy instead of carbohydrates
As if that weren’t enough, it turns out that when we exercise in the morning, we also tend to eat less and eat better. A 2012 study discovered that after working out for 45 minutes, women were more likely to make better food choices, eat less, and remain more physically active throughout the day
For better performance: evening workouts
Protein synthesis and lung efficiency both reach their peak in the evening. This is likely why a study from the Clinical Research Center of the University of Chicago found
that evening exercises were likely to cause people to work out harder and therefore have a higher degree of fitness.
For consistency: morning workouts
Struggling to stick to your workout routine? Then it might be time to swap out those evening workouts to early mornings.
Working out in the morning means not being able to come up with any excuses to not work out. You don’t have to worry about family, working overtime, or scheduling your exercises around social events.
Gyms also tend to be far less crowded in the mornings. This means less time standing around waiting for a coveted machine and more time pumping out reps.
For stress relief: evening workouts
When we first wake up, we’re calm and relaxed. In fact, it can be hard to feel motivated to get moving without a quality pre-workout drink or a strong cup of coffee!
After spending eight hours sitting in the office, many of us need to blow off some steam and feel the need to get up and move. Kickboxing, lifting weights, yoga, and going for a run are all great ways to release daily stress in a healthy way.
For better sleep: both!
The majority of research on this topic will claim that mornings are the best time to work out if you want an improved sleep. Exercise not only burns off sleep-disrupting energy but knowing that we have to get up early to work out also encourages us to hit the hay earlier in the evening.
But one study found that resistance training in the evening could actually improve the sleep quality of adults (link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3887339/). So if morning workouts aren’t helping you sleep, try switching to evening workouts for a week or two.
The best workout is the one you actually do
There are some benefits to working out in the morning compared to the evening and vice versa. But the fact of the matter is that the best workout is the one that you can plan and make time for.
Ask yourself questions, like:
- When can you realistically get to the gym (or work out at home)?
- What time will you enjoy working out the most?
- Is there a time of day when exercise makes you feel better than other times?
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