Morning vs evening workouts. This topic is one that has been debated for ages, and yet we still don’t have a definitive answer. Some people love morning workouts. For those people, working out is part of their morning routine. I am one of those people. For me, it’s coffee and Jesus time (reading my Bible and prayer time), and then a workout. Other people cannot possibly fathom waking up any earlier than necessary – especially to workout. These people love using their end of day workouts to destress and decompress from the day’s events.
So does it really even make a difference at what time of day you choose to workout? Yes and no. Clear as mud, right?
Ultimately, the answer to this question is this…the best time to exercise is whenever the best time is for YOU to do it consistently. Do you love getting your workout in before the day gets started so you have your evenings free? Great! Stick with morning workouts. Are evenings the only time you have to squeeze in a workout or it just doesn’t happen? Perfect! Workout in the evening. When you sit down and look at the facts, people who make fitness a priority and workout consistently see more weight loss and better results over time. Studies have shown that your body adapts to your routine, meaning that if you condition your body to workout in the mornings, you will get better results during morning workouts, and vice versa.
Now, with that being said, let’s discuss the benefits and disadvantages of both morning and evening workouts:
Let’s start with morning workouts:
- When you exercise on an empty stomach, or in a “fasted state,” you actually burn more fat then when you exercise after eating, or in a “fed state.” The reason for this is that your body has to use existing fat stores to fuel your workout, not the food you just consumed.
- Working out in the morning may help to improve your sleep cycle. I am not naturally a morning person. I used to be the person that slept until the absolute last minute and scrambled in the mornings to get out the door. But after several years of incorporating a morning routine (AND having a child that is an early riser), my body has shifted into a different pattern. Morning exercise can help shift your circadian rhythm so that you are more naturally tired in the evenings to fall asleep earlier and you are able to wake up earlier with more energy. Morning exercise also promotes deeper sleep. Sleep is SO important for overall health. Sleep also aids in muscle growth, so if you are getting deeper sleep, you may also see more strength gains as well.
- Working out in the morning can help you establish a solid fitness regimen. It’s a fact that people who workout in the morning are more consistent simply because they knock it out at the beginning of the day before the days get away from them. There’s far less room for excuses this way. If you get your workout in first thing in the morning, before activities, work, kids, friends, and LIFE start to pull you in a million directions in the afternoon, you don’t have to worry about skipping the workout because it’s already done.
Now let’s chat about the benefits to working out in the evening:
- It can help to relieve stress. Exercise is such a great stress reliever ANY time of day, but working out in the evenings can help alleviate the stress of the day and help blow off steam.
- You also have hormones working in your favor. Your body produces more testosterone (men and women alike) in the afternoon, and testosterone is importantly for muscle building. So if you are looking to build muscle and gain strength, evening workouts may be more beneficial for you.
- Research has shown that most people physically function better later in the day. Endurance, strength, and flexibility improve as the day goes on, so your physical performance may improve as a result. Also, evening workouts use less oxygen, which can make workouts more effective and can help with endurance and performance. So if you are a serious competitor training for a specific goal or competition, evening workouts may be the way to go.
The bottom line is that the TIME of day you choose to work out doesn’t matter as much as actually making sure you get it done. Choose a time that works best for you and your particular habits and lifestyle, and then stay consistent with it. Studies have shown that people who work out consistently at the same time every day have better results, no matter the time they choose.
If you choose morning workouts, just be sure to take time to warm up properly to wake up muscles that may be cold and tighter from being inactive from sleep. If you choose evening workouts, make sure you put it on your calendar and make it a priority so you control your day and not let the day end up getting away from you. No matter the time of day, set yourself up for success with a plan in place so excuses no longer win…and I guarantee you’ll see results.
Which team are you? Share with me in a comment – are you team morning or evening workout?