What is the best time for hitting the gym?
Many people are up early when it comes to working out, but others much prefer an afternoon session. Fitness professionals are divided when deciding what time of the day is the best to work out, as morning and evening sessions both have their advantages and downsides. Here are some examples of how either time of day can benefit you:
Advantages to morning sessions
- Having a workout in the morning can keep things consistent, as you may have other commitments later in the day which could affect your willpower. Exercising earlier may also help you sleep better.
- Studies have shown that working out raises your temperature and heart rate, and if you work out after 8 pm, this can prevent you from sleeping properly. This can also lead to cravings for unhealthy food and overeating. Exercising at 7 am compared to later times in the day can help you sleep better at night.
- Moderate morning workouts, such as 45 minutes of treadmill work, stop you feeling hungry after exercise. You even burn more body fat if you work out with an empty stomach, which is easier to do in the morning.
- Gyms are at their busiest at 5 pm to 8 pm. Mornings are quieter, and any other customers will work out for a fixed amount of time and won’t disturb your workout.
- People who start their day with a workout will keep to a healthy routine. Their gym sessions are followed by post-workout snacks or milkshakes, and they drink more water. Morning workouts enable you to have a balanced diet and eat more healthily.
Advantages to afternoon/evening sessions
- The body adapts to regular times, so if you choose to exercise at 3 pm, you might perform better then than at any other time due to less exhaustion and more oxygen consumption. You also have more time to fuel your body for a hard workout.
- Your body temperature is an essential factor when it comes to working out. In the mornings, your muscles can be cold and stiff, which could lead to injury. Your temperature increases during the day, and when it’s at its highest in the afternoon, your muscles’ endurance, flexibility and strength also peak.
- Your blood pressure and heart rate are at their lowest and your reaction time is faster, which enhance your workout and decrease the chance of injury.
- Hormone levels also indicate which is the best time to work out. Testosterone aids strength and muscle growth in both men and women, and your body makes more of this during afternoon training sessions than it does in the morning.
- You are more likely to find a friend to join you for a later workout session than for one in the morning. There are also more gym classes available in the evening, and going to these with other people will motivate you to push yourself and get the best out of your workout.
It is up to you what time of day you choose to work out. Just remember to keep your routine consistent, and select a time that lets you stick to it.