Debating whether it would be more beneficial to set an alarm for an early morning workout or save yourself some ZZZs and fit in physical activity later in the day?
There is research in defense of morning, afternoon and evening exercise. It really all depends on your fitness goals.
Prefer high-intensity workouts? Schedule those HIIT sessions for the evening (4 to 8 p.m.) for optimal performance.
Trying to lose weight? Hit the pavement fist thing in the morning, which jumpstarts your metabolism and has been shown – albeit in mice – to burn more fat. (Our tips on fueling your body for early morning exercise can be found here.)
But let’s get frank for a minute. Any time you choose to exercise is better than no time exercising at all. So when it comes to determining what time is the best time to workout, it’s essential – and maybe even more influential than scientific arguments for one hour over another – to factor lifestyle, schedule, household demands and maybe even personal shortfalls into your decision.
For example, if you’re a night owl, skimping on sleep to exercise in the morning could prove counterproductive in the long run. And if you have a habit of planning to sweat at the end of the workday but always find yourself too exhausted to make it happen, perhaps it’s time for a shift. Likewise, if you repeatedly find yourself skipping out on exercise to accommodate unexpected events or scheduling conflicts that arise throughout the day, it could be time to find a better time of day for making exercise a priority.
Long story short: The best time to workout is whatever time of day you are most likely to make it a regular occurrence because there are benefits to staying consistent. If making a sweat session part of your morning routine – when interruptions are less likely – guarantees that it will happen on a regular basis, give it a try. If walking out of the office signals to your brain (and legs) that it’s time to head to the gym, that is likely the best time for you to exercise.
Whether you decide morning, afternoon or evening is prime time to get your heart pumping, consider implementing the following practices to make it more likely you’ll stick to your plan:
1. Schedule it. Put a workout session on the calendar and actually assign a timespan to the activity so the window is reserved for exercise and less likely to fill up with conflicts.
2. Dress the part. If you’re waking up to work out, set out shoes and clothes the night before. If you plan to hit the pavement or gym later in the day, have your gear packed, ready and with you.
3. Put your money where your mouth is. When you’ve paid for a class, you’re more likely to stick to that commitment and show up. The same could be said for a gym membership. What a waste to not use it!
4. Partner up. Find a friend and plan to exercise together. When someone else is depending on you (and vice versa), you’re more likely to follow through with a plan.
No matter what time you determine is best for exercise, Etage Athletic Club’s doors are open to accommodate any and all schedules and goals. Monday through Friday, we welcome you from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, our facility operates from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Join us any time!