We hear so many opinions about when to exercise; some believe the morning is best because it kick starts your metabolism for the day and others believe the evening is best because you can unwind and sleep better. So here are my thoughts…
Fitting exercise into our weekly routine is tough enough for the average person, we’re working longer hours and we’re socialising a lot more – Thursdays are the new Fridays, apparently. So with life becoming more hectic, when is it that we should be exercising to reap maximum results?
If you’re a morning person and getting up an hour early to hit the gym is something you think you can happily do, then go for it. I like to get my workouts done in the morning because it sets me up for the day and gets me into a positive mindset, but early morning workouts aren’t for everyone and I totally understand that. Some people benefit more from that extra hour in bed and if you’re dragging yourself to the gym half asleep, are you really going to give an optimum performance?
If you’ve got plans in the evening or you’d much rather just get home and your morning sleep is too precious then I would advise finding local lunchtime classes. They’re often shorter (about 30 minutes) but a little more intense and still give you time to shower before getting back to work. The only issue with this is when will you make time to have lunch?
If your boss is happy for you to eat at your desk then great, but make sure you’re not rushing your food and you’re taking time to digest it. A workplace that encourages staff to exercise is great and it should be the case everywhere in my opinion; when I’m feeling fit and healthy I’m a lot more productive.
Working out in the evenings is something I often do to relax and unwind. It can help me have a better sleep and forget any stresses from that day. However, this all depends on what exercise I do and my frame of mind. A HIIT workout or spin class in the evening is more likely to give you a big boost of energy and you might then find it harder to nod off. Or, on the other hand, it may tire you out so you fall asleep quite nicely.
Everyone is different
So if you’re finding that the gym in the evening is affecting your sleep, you may need to change the style of exercise or change the time of your training. Sleep is so important and a lack of it can have a negative effect on you achieving your fitness goals so definitely take that into consideration. Or if you find that an afternoon gym session is when you perform best, keep it up.
I’ve tried to highlight some of the benefits and drawbacks of exercise at different times of the day but in all honesty, it is about what works for you and your lifestyle. I think any exercise is better than nothing, regardless of the time of day and exercising consistently is far more important for optimum results than picking a time that just doesn’t work, which leads to giving up.
Play around with the suggestions above and see what works for you, it may be that you train at different times of the day depending on what’s going on in the rest of your schedule and that is fine too.
The most important thing to focus on is regular exercise, good nutrition, enough sleep and stay as stress free as possible.