Working Out in the Morning, Afternoon, or Night?

Exercise is important, but how do we fit it into our bustling schedules? What is the best time of day to exercise? Does it really matter, or is exercising when I can good enough? There are a lot of good questions, and luckily, I have some answers. When you’re brand new to making exercise a regular part of your routine, it can seem daunting to try to figure out how (and when) to make room in your busy life for it.  Let’s take a closer look at why people choose one time of day over another for their workouts as well as the possible pros and cons of each..

Morning:

Morning is my personal favorite time of day to work out. It feels good to start the day with something that helps me work towards a goal, that is just for me, and something that energizes me for the rest of my day. There’s nothing like starting the day with a feeling of accomplishment.  Some of my clients agree that no matter how the rest of their day goes, they feel good about the fact they started it off with taking care of themselves and a feeling that they’ve already achieved something. It’s like that great feeling you get when you check something off a to-do list. We start the day by checking off a big ‘to-do’ from the list!

For many of my clients, they have experienced struggles with consistency in their workouts and often is improved by switching up the time of day they choose to set aside for their workout. The biggest improvement I’ve seen is in people who’ve changed from evening workouts after a full workday to morning workouts before work.  After work, some people are too tired to put their full effort into a workout. Or worse, they get stuck at work or derailed by unexpected distractions, can’t make it in time and end up missing their work out altogether. It’s harder to find an excuse to miss your workout when the day is only just starting and the day-to-day demands aren’t taking over just yet.

Not a “morning person”? Let’s face it, getting up at the crack of dawn to exercise (or do much of anything else) isn’t for everyone. Also, habitually skipping out on sleep from having to get up early for a morning workout can actually have more harmful effects than good. Repeated lack of sleep is linked to poor health and a higher risk of disease. We are exercising to improve our health, not make more problems!  If your sleep patterns can’t seem to get aligned, depending on your body’s circadian rhythms an early AM workout may not be the ideal choice for you.

Afternoon:

Working out during the lunch hour is a great solution for many working professionals.  They’re likely to be less tired than they would be after work. Some even find that midday exercise gives them a boost of energy for the rest of the afternoon.  This is great because so many professionals experience a mid-afternoon dip in energy, this habit may help to combat or overcome that.

One drawback to an afternoon gym sesh is lack of time, especially depending how close you are to your favorite Youfit from work. A lot of us are pressed for time during lunch hour, especially if you don’t have a flexible schedule. It could be difficult to get in a full workout coupled with getting back in your work attire and factoring in a bite to eat. We get it, so try taking half your lunch break to eat and the other half to get outside and go for a brisk walk. Bring a favorite coworker with you and get in some social benefits as well as health benefits at the same time!

Night:

Exercising at night after work is a popular choice. working out at night means more time for a regular morning routine. After all, mornings can be hectic with everything going on already – i.e. take the dog out, get ready, drop the kids off at school, and get to work (phew!).  Some research suggests that people may work harder during an evening workout, and the popular belief that evening exercise disturbs sleep has been disproven. In fact, evening exercise has been shown to help people fall asleep faster, have deeper sleep and more regular sleep habits. It can be a great way to relieve yourself from the stresses of the day and take care of yourself in preparation for a new day tomorrow.

If you’re unsure what time of day works best for you I recommend trying out different times for a couple weeks to see what you respond to.  If one time of day is not working out, try out an alternate time of day. The good news is, research suggests that if someone works out consistently at any given time of day, their body can actually adapt to that time of day being the best for them!  The most important thing is to find the time of day for exercise that consistently works best for YOU and your schedule so exercise becomes a lifelong habit.

Looking for even more personalized motivation? Speak with any member of your club’s friendly team staff about one-on-one personal training with a certified YouCoach today!

Jaclyn Castner

Jaclyn Castner, Master YouCoach, Youfit Pompano - South Federal Highway Jaclyn Castner has received certifications from an impressive list of top organizations including the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and PTA Global BCE and additionally is a NASM Women’s Fitness Specialist and NASM Senior Fitness Specialist. Hailing from Vancouver, this loving dog mom to two Yorkshire terriers prides herself on helping clients achieve their goals, like getting off medications for blood pressure and diabetes. Jaclyn became a personal trainer because she wanted to inspire the same positive changes and impact people’s lives for the better after she hired her own personal trainer after high school.