Should You Workout In The Morning Or Night? The Unexpected Answer

Bill FlemingJul 17, 2020
Should You Workout In The Morning Or Night? The Unexpected Answer

Conventional wisdom would have us believe that you should workout in the morning (wrong). But, should you work out in the morning or night? We have the answer.

It can be hard to fit working out into your already busy schedule. This leads many people to wake up early to get their workout in, or workout late at night for lack of a better time. But which one is the right choice?

Is it better to workout in the morning or night?

Keep reading as we explore the answer to this question.

Is it Better to Workout in the Morning or Night?

There are benefits to working out at night and in the morning.

The most obvious of these come down to your personal schedule. If you tend to work late, working out in the morning might be the only viable option. If you work early in the morning, an afternoon or night workout makes the most sense.

Generally speaking, working out is good for you and you should do it whenever you get the chance. Even though one might be better than the other, that doesn't mean you should forego exercise if you can't fit that optimal time into your schedule.

That being said, which one is better? Let's start by looking at morning workouts.

The Benefits of Working Out in the Morning

For many people, working out in the morning is easier than working out at night.

When you wake up and get over that initial grogginess, you're refreshed and full of energy. A morning exercise can help you feel less tired at work, and give you a mood boost that will follow you the rest of the day. You don't have to worry about fitting in a workout later in the day -- when you get home from work you can sit back and relax knowing you got your exercise in.

One study in support of morning workouts shows that when women worked out in the morning, they were much less distracted by tempting food than under no exercise. These same women also tended to exercise more throughout the day, in addition to their morning workout. A morning workout puts personal health at the front of your mind, and lets you focus on maintaining it easier.

Another study shows that working out before you eat breakfast allows you to burn more body fat. Of course, hunger can make it hard to do anything, so it's best to get to the workout quickly after waking before the hunger hits hard.

Finally, some people find their ability to sleep is affected when they work out at night. When you exercise you raise your core body temperature and get your heart rate pumping. It's much easier to get to sleep when your body is cool as opposed to hot, so morning workouts might be best if you suffer from insomnia.

Based on all of this, you might think that working out in the morning is the way to go. However, there are a lot of benefits that come with working out at night, too!

The Benefits of Working Out at Night

For many, night is simply the most efficient time to work out. As it turns out, this could be the ideal time to get your workout going.

One big reason comes down to body temperature. As the day goes on your body temperature rises, which increases your muscle function, endurance, and enzyme activity. Considering this, you'll be able to get in a longer, more effective workout at night than in the morning.

This study shows that the ideal time for night workouts is between 2:00 and 6:00 p.m. If you can work this into your schedule, you could be looking at some very effective workouts. This also gives you time to cool down before bed, saving your sleep schedule.

A study from 2018 shows that late workouts don't affect your sleep as long as you wait about an hour after your workout to go to bed. If you can pull this off, you don't have to worry about throwing off your sleep schedule.

Working out at night means you can have a much more relaxed warm-up, as you've likely been moving around all day. This can save you a considerable amount of time, and lets you get more core workout in.

In the morning, your cortisol levels are at their highest, which can inhibit muscle growth. In contrast, testosterone levels rise in the evening, which helps muscle growth. In this way, you could build muscle much faster by working out late.

Finally, working out helps boost your metabolism. By working out after you've eaten supper, you're allowing your metabolism to go throughout the night. This will help you burn calories faster, thus allowing you to lose more weight.

The Mental Health Benefits

One thing exercise does, whether in the morning or at night, is give you great mental health benefits.

Exercise has been shown to help decrease stress levels, fight against depression and anxiety, and increase your self-esteem as you see progress.  It also strengthens many aspects of your brain, from your memory to the speed in which you make connections.

In the morning, this could put you in a good mood for the rest of the day. This is better for yourself, and for those around you. At night it could take away anxious thoughts of the next day, and put you in a more relaxed state before bed.

So, What Is the Best Time to Workout?

Considering all this information, should you workout in the morning or night?

There are some clear benefits to both, and ultimately it'll come down to your schedule, as mentioned before. However, if you can, you should try working out at night. Not only will it help you boost your metabolism, but it's a great way to unwind after a long day, and it won't affect your sleep schedule as long as you give yourself some time before bed.

If you can't work out at night, find a time that works best for you. As long as you're working out, you should be proud of yourself for making the effort.

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