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Morning vs. Evening Workout: Which Is Better?

In News

All exercise is good for you, right? In short, this answer is true; exercise from a general point of view is typically beneficial towards the human body and should be an intricate part of people’s lifestyle. Many people can run into the issue of finding the needed amount of time to fit a daily training session into their schedule. 

Due to work and other important life obligations, people are forced to hit the gym first thing in the morning or sometimes late at night after their long workday is over.

The best time of day to get a sweat session varies upon the person, their preferences, and fitness goals. Whether you choose to do resistance training, aerobic exercise or work on muscle gains, any type of physical activity can be done in the morning or evening. 

You might be wondering which one of these methods works best. If you’re looking for a place to answer this question, continue reading below as we dive into morning versus evening workout times and the positives and negative side effects of each!

Benefits of Working Out In the Morning

For many of you out there, sleeping into the final waking moments before your alarm goes off every day seems like the ideal measure to take from Monday through Friday. It might seem like a pain to plan to wake up an extra hour or so before you’re required to travel to the office, but morning exercise has a proven track record that will pay off.

Be one of many early birds by including a warm-up in your morning fitness routine. It doesn't have to be at the crack of dawn by any means. Morning workouts can give you that extra boost of endorphins first thing in the morning and increase overall alertness.

Nutrition

Your body will burn more fat, sleep better when ready, and feel much more energized throughout the day if you choose to get a pump on first thing in the morning. Eating does play a major factor in deciding your time of choice. 

The best workout you can perform for your body is one that you’ll be up for; many people who work out first thing in the morning are fueling their drive to the fitness center with a calorie-driven breakfast meal beforehand.

By eating mass calories to begin the day, you’ll be able to quickly burn through the consumed nutrients and charge up your metabolism for the rest of the day. Ironically enough, post-gym protein intake (e.g., whey protein shakes) is better absorbed by the body at night. 

Some people also prefer working out on an empty stomach, as it can burn fat stores already in your body. While others may not deal with hunger during a fasted workout, your best bet would be to have a small workout snack beforehand. 

If you’re not a morning person, this will make a morning workout routine more difficult to implement into your routine.

Getting It Over With

For some people, going to the gym, in general, can be somewhat of a process to begin with. Working out in the morning can be one of the first things to check off your to-do list, and it can become a healthy habit over time.  

It is very common for workout time to be planned out at the beginning of the day and then never accomplished; however, when you go first thing in the morning, it can be checked right off the list before you accomplish anything else!

Early morning exercise would be the preferred match for people that fear discouraging themselves from going to the gym later on in the day because they might have another conflict of interest that interferes with their plans. Even if you don't hit up the gym early in the morning, you can always get a yoga session in to get your blood pumping.

Consistency Is Key

Generally speaking, the best workout plans are those exercise routines that show results; going to the gym and getting a solid pump consistently. For early morning gym-goers, this process seems much easier to accomplish due to the everyday obligations that must be accounted for when waking up to go work out every morning.

If you’re planning on working out at the same time every day (or as close to a specific time as possible), early morning sessions are the way to go. Longer work days can sometimes be out of the hands of employees. This can, unfortunately, lead to unplanned skip days that can begin on. 

Benefits of Working Out In the Evening

Going off the same notion as morning people and early workout routines, if you’re not a “night person,” then don’t schedule your training sessions for the evening. Those who work out in the nighttime or late afternoon tend to experience a more efficient session at this time of day, usually determined by other factors that go into their day-to-day lifestyle.

Nutrition

Like big breakfasts associated with early morning workouts, the nighttime routine requires a big dinner before lifting as well. This will similarly affect the body, fueling yourself for a more efficient training session if that’s what you’re up for at that time. The important thing to remember for both morning and evening exercise is how much your diet matters!

It’s much harder to get the most out of a particular workout without being properly energized beforehand. If you usually eat either the first thing to begin your day or consistently in the later hours of the afternoon, this should help you make an easier decision regarding when you want to exercise.

Having More Time

Contrary to the early morning ideology that going to the gym first will cross it off the daily checklist, evening exercise allows people to take their time at the gym and ensure they get all their tasks completed. 

There’s nothing worse than having to cut your training sessions short because you have to leave the gym early, and by going later on in the day, chances are you don’t have any obligations to attend to until the next day.

Continuing off of this notion, fitness centers usually aren’t as full in the wee hours of the day, meaning you’ll likely have little-to-no wait time on any machine or free weight exercise - the transitions from set to set should not be delayed whatsoever! For those who may feel a little uncomfortable working out in front of others due to the amount of weight you might be using or your familiarity with a particular machine, the later hours are the perfect time to test things out.

Sleep Cycles

Although some evidence proves working out earlier in the day contributes to better quality sleep than later on in the evening, moderate exercise won’t deter you from getting to bed on time. As long as you’re not putting your body through extreme intensity later on in the night, sleep shouldn’t be an issue in this instance, either.

Try to keep the highly intense workout sessions for the early morning hours - this will give your body a long time to wind down throughout the day, rather than potentially dealing with some mild insomnia instead. There is also a notion that lies out there that eating post nighttime workout isn’t necessarily great for the human body.

Specializing Your Workout Schedule

On the contrary, high-intensity training sessions can be very negative for people who aren’t practicing these methods earlier in the day. If you’re interested in high-intensity interval training, for instance, it might make more sense to get to the gym before work as much as possible to give your body more time to recover before going to sleep at night.

Due to the current “work-from-home” wave that’s struck the workforce over the past couple of years, there are alternative measures that can be taken if you still find it difficult to get active that early. Try the Ski-Row Air machine from EnergyFit! This dual-function cardio machine can be utilized perfectly for HIIT training and can be stored comfortably in your home.

As an alternative to driving to the gym every morning at 7 AM, try squeezing in interval training during a smaller window of break/lunchtime into your schedule as a hybrid method to get better exercise throughout the week. 

The bottom line, working out in the morning or evening can help decrease stress hormones, improve sleep quality, improve mood, and support overall health. 

 

Sources:

Benefits of Physical Activity | CDC 

Morning Exercise Benefits: Increased Metabolism and More? | NIFS

HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING | ACSM

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