Are AM workouts “better” and are there benefits to working out in the afternoon or evening?
3 Reasons to Choose the AM
- Set a positive tone for your day. Working out first thing in the morning can put you on track for better overall energy, better food choices throughout the day, and better mental cognition. Exercise feeds the brain. For example, aerobic training can lead to increases in the brain’s hippocampus, which plays a large role in learning and memory, and therefore potentially make your day more productive.
- Stay more consistent with your workout regime. It may be easier to build a routine if morning exercise is woven into the start of your day. We are creatures of habit and oftentimes as the day progresses things can interrupt our best intentions for fitting in a workout later in the day. Exhaustion from work or even a demanding evening schedule with the family can tempt you to push your workout off the personal schedule for the day.
- Boost your weight/fat loss. Doing a workout “fasted”, aka without eating prior to the workout, puts your body in a state of recruiting fats to supply the needed energy and can essentially help you burn more fat and lose more weight. This can be especially helpful for someone who is trying to make specific body composition changes.
3 Reasons to Choose the PM
- You don’t work daytime hours and/or you are a shift worker. Sleep is one of the most important commodities for your overall health and if you work a job with inconsistent times of day, or you work through the night, then the mornings may not work for you. Getting a good “night’s” sleep before you workout is key in being able to execute a workout well.
- Burning off the stress of the day. Life is stressful and we need an outlet to manage that stress. Exercise has proven to be a stress reducing practice and executing a workout can be the very thing you need before you tuck into bed for the night. It can give you time to process your day and be helpful to do before you go home to your loved ones, improving relationships.
- Boost your performance in your workouts. Punching the workout clock in the evening means that you have had some good nutrition throughout the day and generally have more energy to lift heavier and push a little harder. This could lead to that one extra rep or that heavier pair of weights. You may be less likely to injure yourself if you are more awake and alert, and paying more attention to your form as well.
The biggest question one needs to ask themself is, “What time of day do I feel I have my best energy?” Choosing to do your workout when you feel the most mentally and physically alert is going to bring you the best results, and help you be the most consistent in your fit lifestyle.
Considering how your sleep, or lack of sleep, affects your training is also key. Skipping a workout or pushing it later in the day if you had a poor night’s sleep is important, so learn to flex the plan.