It’s a dilemma that each of us faces as we try to set up our exercise routine. Workout in the Morning or at Night? If we are going to go to the trouble of arranging our schedule and taking the time to pick the right kind of workout and commit to a plan, we want to make sure that the timing is the most beneficial.
Nobody wants to workout and not see results, right? So, which is better? Should you workout in the morning or at night?
Here’s the quick answer: It doesn’t matter.
Yep, I said it. It really doesn’t. The most important consideration is finding an exercise program that works for you, that you can stick to, and that gives you results. Completing the workout in the morning or at night is just another consideration.
Another quick note to consider: if you ask ten people which they prefer, there is a pretty good chance that each of them will give you a reason that pertains to them personally, not scientifically.
And there is a lot of science, including metabolism and sleeping and eating habits, that can be considered, but that’s a discussion for another day. I’m going to break it down into simple, everyday applications for you.
Here are some pros and cons for each that might help you decide.
Getting your workout done in the morning can give you an immediate win to start the day. Checking off a big item on your to-do list can give you the confidence to attack the rest of the day.
The chances of something popping up first thing in the morning demanding your attention and making you cancel your workout is rare (not unheard of, but rare). Exercising in the morning takes away the possibility of something else bumping it off your schedule.
If you’re headed to a gym to workout, there’s a good chance that it will be less crowded in the morning. This will give you a better chance of using your chosen machines and proceeding through your routine without having to wait.
If you are not a morning person, forcing yourself to get up earlier than usual to exercise may be a difficult task – and may contribute to you skipping workouts to get those extra few minutes of sleep.
Depending on your chosen form of exercise, you may not be able to properly shower after your workout. This could lead to feeling just plain icky throughout the day.
Already on the go.
You’ve been through your busy schedule, and this is just one of the final entries. Incorporating your workout as just another part of the day can make it easier to swing through it with the same focus you’ve applied throughout the day.
A sub-benefit of already being on the go is that you may need less of a warm-up period prior to exercising, particularly if you have a job where you are constantly on the move.
If you had a bad day at work, there are few better options for relieving stress than a good workout. You can channel your anger into your exercises. Better yet, if you are taking a kickboxing class, mental images can help you get your frustrations out.
An already busy schedule could mean getting behind and running out of time to exercise. Additionally, the later in the day, the more possibilities there are for other events to pop up that might seem more attractive than exercising. Perhaps going out with your co-workers for drinks or maybe a special dinner with your partner, etc.
Putting your exercise routine too close to bedtime or having to push it later due to the above-mentioned schedule changes can cause more harm than good – mainly because that push of energy you get from working out can wreak havoc on your sleep habits. In turn, that lack of sleep can back up on you causing other problems.
If you choose the evening, make sure that you leave at least two or three hours between the end of the workout and your bedtime. That will help your body wind down before bed.
As I said at the beginning, choosing morning or evening/night for your workout is just one of many considerations when establishing a workout program.
Look at the pros and cons I have listed above, which is by no means a comprehensive list. It really does ultimately become a matter of personal choice. Do your research and a little bit of soul-searching. Once you have all the answers in front of you, your choice should be clear.
Extra hint: If you are still not sure, mix it up. Depending on your exercise plan, do a couple of workouts in the morning and a couple in the evening. See which one feels better to you and go with it.
Establishing an exercise routine is the most important choice you made. The determining factor of time should be the one that will most likely enable you to be consistent and motivated to continue your workout program.
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