Debate Settled: Is it Better to Work Out in the Morning or Evening?
There’s no debate about it: Working out is one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies.
And when we do carve out time for a workout, we're always looking for ways to capitalize on our efforts.
In the pursuit of finding hacks to make the most of every shred session, we never leave a stone unturned. As you know, there's a fair bit of debate surrounding when exactly you should work out for maximum effect...
So, is it better to work out in the morning or the evening?
You tend to see local gyms packed with people exercising during both parts of the day - but perhaps it's not just because they're all trying to squeeze their exercise in around their work schedules?
Let’s take a look at the differences between choosing an AM versus a PM workout, to see if it really matters what time you lace up your gym shoes:
Morning Workout Benefits
Lots of fitness fanatics will swear up and down that it’s better to work out in the morning. There are some scientifically supported explanations for this:
Morning = Peak Energy Time
For starters, your body is at its peak energy right after you wake up. You’ve depleted none of your built-up energy stores from sleeping throughout the night yet, which could provide a boost to muscle performance.
AM Muscle Shred = Maximum HGH Production
Furthermore, there’s some evidence that you produce more human growth hormone or HGH, which is needed for muscle growth and general health, if you lift in the morning.
Before Breakfast = Fat Burning Powerhouse
If you mostly work out to lose weight, exercising in the morning could provide bonus benefits. You burn more fat by working out right after you wake up and before you eat breakfast. That's because your body doesn't have any food to draw upon for fuel, so it burns fat instead!
Evening Exercise Perks
Even with all those benefits that a morning workout boasts, the evening exercisers are not necessarily doing it all wrong:
After Work = Mega Convenient
For one, exercising after you finish work at night is incredibly convenient, especially if you have to wake up super early to beat rush hour for early-morning work shifts.
Less Oxygen = More Bang for Your Buck
There’s also some contradicting evidence that shows that athletes who work out in the evening consume less oxygen. In other words, they use less energy to accomplish the same physical feats as they would need if they worked out in the morning.
Reduced Ghrelin = Curbs PM Munchies
Nighttime workouts may also set you up for better weight loss. In fact, evening workouts could help to reduce your body’s levels of a certain hormone called ghrelin, which produces the hunger signal you feel in your stomach. If you feel less hungry, you’ll be less likely to overeat during dinner or wake up in the middle of the night for a snack.
Which Are Better: Morning or Evening Workouts?
So, which is it... Should you work out in the morning or evening?
Ultimately, most people will probably benefit from working out in the morning to get the extra fat burning and muscle building boosts.
Working out in the morning also allows you to get your exercise out of the way and move on to other daily goals.
That being said, everyone’s circadian rhythms are different. In fact, the “night owl” effect is very real. Some people simply have more energy in the latter half of the day than the former, so if that’s the case for you, consider exercising in the evening as it's always best to hit your workout feeling powerful, energetic and strong.
The bottom line is this: You should listen to your body and exercise when it works best for your circadian rhythm and unique schedule.
Don't forget: The most important thing is to work out, period.
Stay strong, warrior!
Justin | Maine, USA
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