“When is the best time to workout?”— this might be one of the most googled things among fitness enthusiasts, and numerous studies on this matter have been done. After a quest to find the answer, you may be surprised to find that, according to experts, there is no best time to exercise — it’s far more important that you do it on a regular basis.
Since we all are humans with different chronotypes, we are ‘active’ in different times of the day — some may be more motivated for morning exercise, while others prefer to sweat at dusk. When we feel like doing it, we tend to go to greater lengths. With more intensity, the result is more obvious. However, this doesn’t mean working out at a certain time won’t benefit anything specific. Different time does boost dissimilar bodily functions.
FAT BURNING MORNING
If you love kickstarting the day with a morning run, chances are you can manage your weight well. A light jog before first meal of the day utilizes the reserved energy, mainly ‘stored fat’ — the one that your body will keep on accumulating unless you move hard enough to burn it out — as your body’s source of energy.
However, not everyone can be a ‘morning person’, and forcing yourself too hard to wake up early could backfire — you may end up having a negative feeling with the exercise routine that you cancel all your workout plans (this happens all the time, man).
Still, above all, the most important thing is that you ‘do’ it. If you are not made for a morning run, then you can pick other movement-based activities to do in other times of the day, consistently. If you want to lose weight but find it hard to move vigorously with your stomach empty, you should have some small bites before going on a run, and don’t worry much if your stored fat is being burned. Working out has myriad more benefits than just fat burning.
By afternoon, you already have had some meals, and your body has warmed up already, so you are now good, or even at your best, for workouts with high intensity. In addition, an afternoon workout can perk you up, which means you can be more energetic physically and mentally to resume working on your task. If you can, try attending a workout class during your lunch break, or if you are a freelancer, try including a workout in the afternoon’s schedule.
STRESS RELIEF EVENING
Some people may be afraid that working out in late evening can affect their sleep, so they decide to do none. Is this the right belief? — the answer is yes and no.
Our bodies react to things differently, so there is no single answer that applies to all. Some sweat hard and have the best night’s sleep, while others have trouble falling asleep after being so active. Nevertheless, a bit (or a lot, if it feels right to you) of workout after a long nerve-racking day can help relieve stress, which is undeniably helpful for a good night’s sleep.
If the late evening is the only slot available for your workout routine, you should not avoid sweating just because you are worried about not being able to fall asleep. Try some, take note of your own unique pattern, and pick what your body likes best. Yoga could be a good choice to practice in the late evening — it gradually helps improving your body strength and there are flows without a lot of high intensity movements, and it calms your mind very well.
WHAT IF MY TIMING IS NEVER RIGHT?
As previously stated, forcing yourself too hard could backfire. But if your tasks won’t allow you to work out in the evening but you are not a morning person, and your afternoon schedule is always packed, you can ‘train’ yourself to get up and move your body if you aspire to take good care of your health.
To train yourself, never push too hard. Take baby steps — starting with a short, light workout like jogging for 15 minutes, before going further. Give yourself time to get used to the new routine. However, if you can’t really go any further than 15 minutes a day, bear in mind that if you do it almost daily, you will have up to 450 workout minutes a month, which is quite a lot, without having to make a drastic change in your routine.
IN A NUTSHELL
Working out in different times may give you different benefits, but what matters most is still ‘consistency’. Also, if you do exercises at the time that work outs for you, you tend to go more intense, which means more noticeable results.
Pick your own right time, and never let “I don’t have time” be your excuse.