Busting the morning workout myth
March 8, 2022

Busting the morning workout myth

Rachel Wadsley, PhD

Searching online, you’ll find everyone has a different opinion, backed by science, about the best time of day to work out. This might leave you scratching your head trying to figure out which time really is the best. 

We have busy lives, and fitting in a workout is often the last thing on our minds. Let’s be honest it’s way more fun to binge Netflix than pack up your gear and head to the gym. 

Below is a breakdown of the pros and cons of each time. 

Morning kick-off

Getting your workout in early has a lot of perks. First, you’ll check off one daily task before you get into the chaos of the day. Second, exercising in the morning can make you feel more alert, provide an energy boost, mental clarity, and improve your mood! Third, according to the Journal of Physiology, working out before 7 am promotes better sleep at night.  

As for drawbacks… if you’re not a morning person, waking up early for a workout can feel like torture. Getting up earlier might eat into your sleep time and leave you feeling drained or not able to perform your best during your workout. 

Afternoon energy boost

If the morning is not your jam, what about the afternoon? Maybe you can squeeze in a workout during your lunch break. Good news for you, between 2 pm and 6 pm, our bodies are at their peak performance levels. This can make afternoons perfect if you’re looking for strength training. 

Have you ever hit that afternoon wall where your energy is zapped? If you find yourself dragging and reaching for more caffeine, consider adding in a short afternoon workout to give your mind and body a natural energy boost. 

On the downside, the afternoons can be tricky to navigate. Between work and other todos, you might not have the time to step away or have access to a space to exercise. 

Evening for convenience

The evening carries the convenience factor. You’re likely done with work and have more time for other tasks. But maybe you’ve heard exercising at night will keep you awake. We’re here to bust that myth too (yes two myths busted for the price of one)!

In fact, light to moderate exercise at night can help you sleep better! The same feel good endorphins we talked about earlier are released helping you feel calm and relaxed. It’s important not to exercise and shower immediately before bed as this will increase your heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, making it harder to fall asleep. 

But pay attention to your body. You might be someone who needs an earlier workout to sleep like a baby. And for some of us, nighttime can be more challenging if we have family around or social events going on, making it harder to set time aside. 

Which time wins?

And the winner is… well, there’s no clear winner. The best time to work out is when you’ll actually work out! 

If you’re a morning person, but you’ve been told that you’ll get maximum results by exercising in the evening, you might not follow through on your plan. Maybe at night, you’re ready to wind down for the day and typically go to bed earlier. Then exercise in the morning!

Maybe you have ADHD and tend to lose focus as the day goes on. It might be easier to workout in the morning, and then you don’t have to worry about it the rest of the day. But if you have a hard time dragging yourself out or bed or personally feel more focused in the afternoon then work out when it’s easiest for you!

Don’t let someone else tell you the best time to work out. Sure there are optimal times depending on your goals. But the most important thing is having the energy or motivation to complete your exercise routine. 

Play around with your schedule. See which times are the easiest to fit into your day and how you feel both during and after your workout. Then you can create a plan that actually works for you!!!!

If you need a helping hand finding the best time to get in your workout plan or aren’t exactly sure what to do during your workouts, consider getting a remote fitness trainer. 

Trainwell (formerly CoPilot) offers virtual personal training - the best blend of in-person training with the convenience of working around your schedule. Trainwell fitness trainers will create a custom exercise program, provide nutrition guidance, help keep you motivated, are an accountability partner, and are available via video calls and text messaging. 

Get a free trainwell trial today and find the sweet spot in your day for exercising. 

Written by Rachel Wadsley, PhD

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