Morning or Evening Workouts?
One of the most frequent questions I get asked as a personal trainer is when is the best time of day to workout? Morning or Evening?
It's a hugely debated subject, with research supporting benefits of both morning and evening workouts. Generally, there is research that shows morning workouts are better for fat loss and evenings are better for increasing muscle mass.
Your best bet is to pick a workout time that aligns with your long-term fitness goals, and something you can stick with.
Morning Workout Benefits
You get your workout out of the way. Many early risers prefer working out before work. This way they don't have to worry about working out after a long and tiring workday. After work, you can relax, knowing you've done your exercise for the day. You will have more time to spend with the family, going out to any last minute dinners and maybe evening catching happy your!
Morning workouts are better for fat loss Working out in the morning will kick start your metabolism, burning calories throughout your workday. Research shows that when you workout while fasting (i.e before breakfast) you are more likely to burn fat stores instead of carbohydrates from food. So if your goal is fat loss, setting your alarm an hour in the morning might be worth it!
Better Sleep Some studies have been conducted on the effects of morning vs. evening workouts on sleep patterns. Research shows that sleep was actually enhanced when the participants exercised in the morning compared to an evening workouts.
Evening Workout Benefits
Stress Relief After a stressful day in work, what could be better than taking your anger out on a punch bag or lifting some weights?! Having an exercise outlet can provide a healthy way too relieve stresses — a better way than hitting happy hour!
Accountability Having a motivated training partner is always a big positive! Trying to find a training partner to workout with you at 6 am will be a lot harder than finding one at 6 pm. Having someone by your side to drag you to the gym when you really don't want to, will help you to hit your goals.
To conclude, there is research that shows training in the morning has different effects than training in the evening. You are best to stick to what suits you. If you can get up early and workout before work, great. If you'd rather sleep an extra hour and workout at the end of your working day, also great. The most important is that you are consistently working out!
Van Proeyen, K., et al. "Training in the fasted state improves glucose tolerance during fat-rich diet." J Physiol. 588. 21. (2010): 4289-302. Web. July 22, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20837645
Fairbrother, K., Cartner, B., Alley, J., et al. "Effects of exercise timing on sleep architecture and nocturnal blood pressure in prehypertensives." Vascular Health and Risk Management. 10. 69. (2014): 691-698. Web. July 22, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270305/