The great debate: should you workout in the morning or afternoon?
This argument has been going on for ages but there isn’t really one clear answer. I prefer to workout in the morning, while my wife prefers the afternoon, and they both have their pros and cons.
What may work for one person may not suit another, and some will even have to workout in the morning sometimes and at night occasionally because their schedule is always changing. I do believe it is important to know the benefits and drawbacks of each of both so you can decide what’s best for you.
Excellent way to start the day- Once you do one productive thing, it can become a snowball effect. Getting a good workout in first thing in the morning can make it easier to continue to knock things off your to-do list.
Increased energy- Instead of reaching for the caffeine, get energized for the day by hitting the gym.
Boost your metabolism- Working out in the morning will help rev up your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories the rest of the day.
Less skipping out- no one is asking you to go out to eat or come to a party at six in the morning. There are typically fewer distractions to keep you from getting your workout in.
Waking up early- Yes, to workout early you have to wake up early, and some people aren’t willing to do that.
Increased warm up time- Right after waking up your body temperature is at its’ lowest. To workout safely in the morning you have to take a little longer to warm up. This can time away from your actual workout if you’re already pressed for time.
Less Time- Workouts in the morning could cause you to rush through a workout. If you have to be at work at a certain time. Getting to gym a little late will cause your workout to be shortened.
More Crowded- Really the worst times for crowds can be in the mornings or evenings. Right before most people go to work (8:00am-10:00am) and right after work (5:00-7:00). To me Mornings are slightly worse.
Stress relief- Stress tends to build up throughout the day and exercise can be a great way to relieve it.
Less rushed mornings- It can seem hard to get it all done in the mornings. By working out in the evening you can feel less rushed and get some extra sleep.
Better sleep- Some studies say those who workout a few hours before bed have been shown to have better quality sleep.
Fewer crowds- The early bird may get the worm, but (depending on your gym) those who work out in the evenings get extra towels and their choice of machines!
More time- If you work a typical day shift work schedule, your workout must be done in enough time to change and make your commute in the morning. If you show up late, then you lose time. By working out at the end of the day, you can get there when you want and workout without worrying about time constraints
Sleep disturbance- Although I mentioned there are studies that show it can help you sleep, there are also studies that claim it can hinder it. I personally believe this is different for each individual.
Procrastination- After a long, stressful day at work it can be easy to want to put off a workout or to have spent all day coming up with a millions excuses as to why you need to skip the gym today.
More distractions- Most of the time the things that we want to do happen in the evening.. parties, dates, concerts, etc. When your friend calls you up on your way to the gym asking you to join them for that movie you’ve been excited to see, it can be hard to turn them down.
We’ve been trying for years to figure out the best time to workout, whether it’s at the crack of dawn or at the end of a long day.
But, in my opinion, there is no one right answer. While research supports both morning and evening workouts, your best bet is to pick a workout that aligns with your long-term fitness goals, and something you can stick with. And if that means a changing schedule, so be it! You have to be flexible in order to stay on track!
If you don't have a fixed schedule I have a great article that teaches you how to schedule your workouts. Check it out here: Scheduling Workouts: Learning to Adapt Through the Chaos of Life