Is There a Best Time to Exercise?


When Should You Exercise

There are many people who think the best time to exercise is in the morning, while others believe it is in the afternoon or early evening. The debate continues and I decided to research if there really is an optimal time for exercise. Here is what I discovered: Everyone is correct.

The experts agree that the best time to exercise is based on your schedule, your motivational needs, and when your exercise leaves you feeling the best. You need to be successful at following through with your exercise plan and fitness goals, so whatever you need to do to accomplish these goals to ensure you don’t give up is of the utmost importance. The focus needs to be on getting your workout into your daily schedule and not what time of day to work out.

When WILL you work out? Determine your exercise habits. If you are not a morning person, then forcing yourself to get up early (before work) and exercise will be discouraging. If you like to exercise during your lunch hour or after work, do it! Your exercise routine should fit comfortably into your daily schedule for you to be most successful. Your exercise plan should not be discouraging or something you don’t look forward to; it needs to be a valued part of your day.

When do you FEEL the best? Determine your best time to exercise. Try different times with your schedule to find your best exercise time. Get up early and work out; try working out during your lunch hour; and then try exercising before dinner time. Assess how your body feels; are you more energized and motivated during one point in the day over the others? Did you apply more effort to your workout at one point in the day over the others? If you were more eager and applied yourself to a lunch hour workout over the morning and evening times, then you found your best exercise time. Use your body’s clock and rhythm to get started.

Other Considerations

  • Glycogen: Your workouts will be longer and more effective if your body has a storage of muscle glycogen. Glycogen is mainly recharged by carbs and typically your glycogen stores are higher in the late morning, afternoon, or early evening. You should try to begin your workouts with a full-tank of glycogen to avoid hitting that wall and feeling super fatigued after your workout. Bonus! You lose more body fat when exercising off your glycogen stores.
  • On an Empty Stomach: Your body uses fat stores for energy to make it through your workout when you exercise on an empty stomach. This is beneficial when the exercise is not as intense; be sure to perform your easier exercise of the day when working out on an empty stomach.
  • Morning Exercisers: Be sure to take additional time to warm up your body prior to your workout. Exercise injuries are more common with people who workout in the morning hours, so please give your body some extra time to get warmed up and ready for your exercises.

Times to Avoid

  • Before Bedtime: Sleep is essential to maintaining weight loss and staying healthy. Exercising prior to bedtime will create an insomnia situation in your body; you will not get a restful night’s sleep and be tired the next day. This will inhibit your ability to maintain a proper workout plan as well as maintain your hard weight loss work and continue your healthy lifestyle. Your body needs the ability to recover and rest.
  • On a Full Stomach: After you eat, the blood rushes to your digestive tract to support digestion. There is minimal blood available to go to your muscles to help you get an efficient and safe workout. To avoid problems, always exercise at least 90 minutes after a meal.

The Bottom Line

Any exercise is better than no exercise. Work hard, never give up, and be consistent.

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