Morning, Noon or Night... Which Time is Right? Choosing a Time to Exercise By: Kevin Yeboah

We all know that there are many factors that can contribute to your health. Some things are out of our hands, of course, but controllable factors such as exercise, nutrition, and stress management have a big impact. Exercise is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle, but in today’s fast paced world, exercise efficiency plays a large role in progression and maintenance of well-being.

Now, I’m gonna to try to go all ‘Myth Busters’ on you…

Myth: It is best to workout in the morning.

True or false? Although that seems to be the consensus in the fitness community, it isn’t necessarily true.

There are a lot of benefits to working out first thing in the morning. There is no direct evidence linking calories burned to a specific time of day, but morning workouts do kick your metabolism into high gear for the day.  That means your body is burning more calories than normal during your daily activities.

Experts say that consistency in timing is much more important than the actual time on the clock. Choosing a time of day and sticking with it is what makes the biggest impact.  Statistically speaking, studies show that people who work out most consistently do so in the morning. Also, working out first thing in the morning (before work, school or other commitments) is the best way to ensure that life does not get in the way of your routine.

People who workout in the morning usually report feeling more energized and alert for the day.  Early exercise has also been linked to better sleep patterns. Most notably, morning exercisers spend up to 75% more time in a deep sleep at night.

The jury has yet to decide whether or not we should be eating prior to a morning workout. If we’re looking at weight loss, working out on an empty stomach in the morning is fine. At this time, food energy will be low so your body will be taking energy from stored fat - this is why it is the fastest method for dropping pounds.  As great as that sounds, this energy deficiency can lead to a lower level of performance as well as dizziness and decreased endurance. The key, whether you are working out on an empty stomach or not, is to eat within 45 minutes of your workout.  This time frame is when your insulin and muscle carbohydrates are at their peak. Eating right after an intense Catalyst morning workout will help to build muscle and reduce fat.

Afternoon workouts have their benefits as well. Research shows that the best time to workout is when your body temperature is highest, which is usually late afternoon/early evening. A higher body temperature means our muscles are warm and we are the most flexible so we are less prone to injuries. Also, your strength and endurance are said to be at their max. You may have also noticed that your reaction time is quicker, and resting heart rate and blood pressure are lower in the afternoon.

Evening exercisers tend to have the most focused workouts, as all problems or worries from that day are generally behind you. Most people are less inclined to rush through an evening workout, and finishing a workout closer to bedtime is said to help greatly with recovery. The downside is that the workout may leave you feeling even more awake which can make it difficult to fall asleep.  Workouts done later in the evening don’t leave a lot of time to ingest that much needed recovery meal before bed.

Everybody is different. Some people are naturally morning people, and are more inclined to workout early. Some people prefer to workout in the afternoon, and others at night. If you can find a time to workout consistently, day or night, DO IT! Consistency is what matters most. Find what works best for your healthy lifestyle and stick with it!

Catalyst Health is open from 6:30am-8:00pm during the work week, all optimal times to get a good workout in :)

By: Kevin Yeboah
Strength and Conditioning Specialist


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