When is the best time to Exercise?

When Is The Best Time To Exercise?

For decades there has been a question among fitness fanatics of when is the best time to exercise? Many of those looking to lose weight or improve their fitness levels tout the benefits of early morning exercise, whilst others prefer to get their sweat on later in the day.

I’m breaking down the barriers and discussing the science on this highly popular topic. Keep reading to find out if there is a particular “best” time of day to exercise.

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Many fitness zealots simply love exercising. It’s easy to understand why. The rush of endorphins after a great workout is addictive.

Those starting out on their fitness journey may not have felt the sheer rush a good workout provides yet and may view their recent escapades into exercising as a chore that must be done in order to lose weight.

While exercising is an essential element to weight loss, it’s OK to feel like this. Just remember, exercising is an opportunity to push your body and prove to yourself that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. That amazing feeling of accomplishment will come to you in time.

Whether you are starting out and haven’t seen many results just yet, or you’re looking to really amp up your body’s ability to lose weight, I’m sure the question has crossed your mind once or twice; “Is there a best time to exercise for weight loss?”

When is the best time to exercise?

This age-old question has been studied for decades, however, there appear to be benefits to be reaped for both early morning exercise, afternoon workouts, and exercise later in the day when your body has had a chance to come around to life.

Let’s dig a little deeper into these benefits below.

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Is the best time to exercise in the morning?

Early morning exercise means you’ll get your workout done at the crack of dawn before you start your day. You can begin your day with a big rush of endorphins and a bit of an ego boost in knowing you’ve already accomplished something before 9 am that many others probably wouldn’t all day.

You can also get on with the rest of your day, and have your evening to relax, cook, or binge your latest box set on Amazon Prime.

Some researchers suggest that the best time to exercise is in the morning on an empty stomach. The thinking behind this is when you exercise fasted, your body is forced to use its large amount of stored fat to fuel your workout.

Research has also indicated that early morning exercise can boost fat loss by a whopping 20 percent. This is largely due to the body’s hormonal composition in the morning, which is better conditioned to draw energy from its fat reserves.

However, over time your body will adjust to how it burns fat and carbs. So whether you exercise fasted or fed, it won’t make that much of a difference to the amount of fat you lose.

One potential benefit of early morning workouts is the possibility of boosting your brain function.

Is it best to exercise in the morning for weight loss?

A study conducted by the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and The University of Western Australia examined how the timing of a workout affected the cognitive performance of 65 participants aged between 55 and 80 years old.

Although the research pool was based on older people, the results showed that even a short morning exercise session enhanced their brain function which lasted throughout the day.

Reducing your caloric intake is crucial when trying to lose weight. Another benefit of early morning exercise appears to be the higher likelihood of consuming fewer calories throughout the day, according to a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Is the best time of day to exercise in the afternoon or evening?

While early morning exercise may be the best time to exercise for some, performing your exercise later in the day does have some rewards too.

Other researchers have claimed that afternoon workouts or working out in the evening when your body has naturally warmed up is better for you. Which could be a blessing for you in terms of performance.

Your body needs glycogen (or carbohydrates) to burn as a fuel source for exercise. Your stored glycogen levels get used as you perform your daily activities. If you are someone who tires easily when exercising, topping up your glycogen levels prior to working out wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Your body temperature increases throughout the day which can optimize your muscle function, strength, and endurance.

Furthermore, afternoon workouts can be better for avoiding injury. You’ll have better hand-eye coordination, higher lung function, and increased speed which is particularly beneficial when doing high-intensity interval training.

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According to research in the Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, those who exercise later in the day have more energy to workout longer than early morning exercisers.

Sleep plays a vital role in weight loss. Not getting enough sleep can interfere with your appetite-regulating hormones; Leptin and Ghrelin. Which in turn can leave you feeling hungrier and, maybe inevitably, pile on the pounds.

Your cortisol levels are also higher when you’re tired. This puts your body into stress mode leaving your body feeling like it needs to hold onto excess fat.

Exercising in general can improve your sleep, however, research has shown that those who exercise later in the day tend to get better sleep than early morning exercisers.

Is there a best time to exercise for weight loss?

There are solid weight loss benefits for both early morning exercise and for exercise later in the day.

However, a recent study into those who have maintained their weight loss suggests that it may not necessarily matter what time of day that you exercise. The findings concluded quite simply that if you workout consistently each week you will burn more calories.

The results of the study showed that those who consistently exercise during the same time of day, regardless of the actual time, tend to get an additional hour of exercise each week when compared to those who workout inconsistently.

I.e those who exercise for 30 minutes one day, and 45 minutes the next. Or, who exercise once or twice a week.

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However, although it may not appear to matter what time of day you choose to exercise, the participants of this study who were more consistent with their exercise tended to work out in the morning when life is less likely to get in the way.

How to determine your best time to exercise?

Considering there are numerous benefits for both early morning exercise and exercise later in the day, how do you figure out when is the best time of day to exercise for you?

It appears there is quite a simple answer. The best time to exercise is the time that fits into your schedule on a regular basis.

To figure out your best time to exercise, you may consider thinking about times during the day when you feel most energetic and aim to fit your workout in during those times – if your schedule permits of course.

Another option, if you suffer from the dreaded mid-afternoon slump could be to replace your coffee break with a workout. This could help with cognitive function and enable you to be more productive when returning to work.

In terms of weight loss, the key takeaway is that consistency is king. Remaining consistent in your efforts is far more important than worrying about which fuel source your body taps into for your workout.

What do you think is the best time to exercise? Are you an early bird or do you prefer to exercise later in the day? Let me know in the comments.

The best time of day to exercise for weight loss
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Is it best to exercise in the morning for weight loss?

When is the best time to workout for weight loss?

Working out, regardless of time is good for weight loss. However, to reap the benefits of an all-day fat loss, AM workouts may be better. This allows you to burn calories throughout the day when you are already on the go. Working out in the evening time does have some benefits, however, a large portion of your calorie burn will be done while sleeping meaning you may not burn as much fat.

How to figure out the best time for me to exercise?

Considering there are numerous benefits for both early morning exercise and exercise later in the day, how do you figure out when is the best time of day to exercise for you?

It appears there is quite a simple answer. The best time to exercise is the time that fits into your schedule on a regular basis.

To figure out your best time to exercise, you may consider thinking about times during the day when you feel most energetic and aim to fit your workout in during those times – if your schedule permits of course.

Another option, if you suffer from the dreaded mid-afternoon slump could be to replace your coffee break with a workout. This could help with cognitive function and enable you to be more productive when returning to work.

In terms of weight loss, the key takeaway is that consistency is king. Remaining consistent in your efforts is far more important than worrying about which fuel source your body taps into for your workout.

13 thoughts on “When Is The Best Time To Exercise?”

  1. This is a great post! I have a question! Do you know if it is better to stay consistent with the time you workout or should you switch it up? Do some AM and some PM? Thank you!

    1. Louise O'Boyle

      There are benefits to both am and pm workouts. Your body will eventually get used to working out at a specific time and can therefore slow down on progress (slightly). Switching up your timings is certainly a good idea as you will reap many of the benefits this way. For instance, am workouts are good for an all day fat burn on the go which may see more calories burned than an evening workout where your calorie burning continues during sleep.

  2. Very interesting post! I have often wondered what is the best solution for me. For now I have chosen to practice yoga in the morning and an aerobic workout in the evening to release the tensions of the day!
    I appreciated your suggestions!!!

  3. Wow…this post is so refreshing to read because I have no idea about the best timing to do exercise at all! For me, I always prefer to go running after dinner, it’s so relaxing to do after a long stressful day!

  4. This post was really informative! This question has been debated for a long time and it’s nice to know the benefits of working out in the morning vs. afternoon/evening. I will keep this post in mind when I create a workout routine for myself 🙂

  5. With a the articles I post about fitness, this is a topic I never thought of. Great information on workout schedules that I will have adopt myself. Thanks for the read.

  6. I love morning exercises because I feel more accomplish during the day. But night is also fine especially if I need more time to sleep. Great explanation on this topic

  7. My best time is the morning, that’s when I feel the most motivated and have the most energy. Plus it sets the tone for the rest of the day. It’s definitely important for people to get fitness in whenever it works for them to avoid added stress. It’s hard enough to fit a regular routine in, whatever works for you!

  8. This was great to read because I just need to get started and was using if I don’t exercise in the AM what was the point. I am now encourage and will just get started. Thanks for sharing a very informative blog.

  9. I really appreciate all of the great information in this article! I typically find myself working out either mid-morning or early evening because that’s when I can squeeze it in. I would love to be able to wake up a bit earlier and get a workout in but that is never a routine I’m consistent with. Thanks so much for this post!

  10. I am so NOT a morning workout person (or a morning person in general lol) generally because I feel lethargic, slow, and unmotivated. I need time to move around and get warmed up during the day. I prefer to work out in the evenings, some time between 6-8, right before I have my last meal of the day.

    curatingstories.com

  11. If I could get up earlier, I would love to consistently work out in the morning, but I’ve learned I just have to do it whenever I have time. It’s good to know there isn’t an official best time.

  12. This is so in-depth! I generally prefer to exercise in the morning as I go into a work flow later in the day and completely forget to exercise.

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