This is When You Should Be Exercising, Based on Science

by John Esposito
You might have had some moments in your life where you had to think about whether you should squeeze in a little work out in the morning, or just postpone it until later at night after work. More often than not, we make this decision based on our mood or how packed our schedule is for that day. However, it seems like we should also take into consideration when the best time for a workout is, depending on the results we want.

Morning Workouts Are Better For Losing the Extra Pounds

Experts have found through several studies that getting your blood pumping and exercising earlier in the day is better for fat burning. This, therefore, makes it a good option for those aiming for weight loss. Aside from enhanced fat burning, morning workouts have also been shown to regulate our appetite, according to researchers! But then again, some of you might be finding it a little difficult to commit to a morning exercise, especially to those who are part of the “not a morning person” club. That’s why we’ve collated some tips to help you establish that morning routine:
  1. Sleep early the night before. While it may seem very trivial, doing this can change your life for the better. If you want to wake up early feeling refreshed and ready for a good round of fat-burning sessions, you’ve got to clock in early at night. That only seems fair to your body. After all, you need the energy from a good night’s sleep to help you power through strenuous exercise.
  2. Put on your workout clothes as soon as you wake up. Especially on days when you are feeling extra lazy or unmotivated, gearing up can help you prepare mentally for a workout.
  3. Don’t overthink, just do it. If you are second-guessing if you can stick to your morning routine, just think that the sooner you cross it off your list, the sooner you don’t have to think about it. With time, you’ll be surprised that a morning run just seems like a normal part of the day you don’t even need to think about — almost like a reflex!

Afternoon and Evening Workouts Are Better for Strength Building

This is When You Should Be Exercising, Based on ScienceIf your ultimate goal is to improve your overall performance including your strength and endurance, workouts in the latter part of the day may suit you more. According to researchers, our body temperature gradually increases from the time we wake up towards evening. In fact, our body temperature is highest from around 2 pm to 6 pm. Why is this important to know, you may ask? That is because higher body temperature helps improve our performance. You may think of this analogy: hotter things are more flexible and pliable while colder things are more rigid. Applying this concept to our body, when we have a higher body temperature, our muscles and tendons are looser and more flexible. Moreover, higher body temperatures also enable the body to metabolize glucose more efficiently. And this is important because glucose is needed for our muscles to function and be able to lift weights or run on the treadmill. If you exercise at a time when your body can use up glucose well, you’ll have more energy to exercise. Thirdly, higher body temperature has been linked to faster neuromuscular transmission. This means that signals from your nerves to your muscle fibers are faster, which helps you in performing explosive movements such as when lifting weights. Last but not least, studies have found that compared to people who train in the day, those who exercised in the afternoon or at night have increased muscle density and mass. This is most likely because the level of cortisol, a catabolic hormone that aids in breaking down complex compounds into simpler ones, is lower at this time. Following this logic, lower cortisol means you would have lesser muscle breakdown and consequently higher muscle mass. But remember that while a correlation has been identified, further research is still underway regarding this topic.  

Will I Mess Up My Sleep Schedule if I Workout at Night?

The short answer to this based on a study done back in 2018 is: No, it will not. Contrary to the concerns that working out later in the day, having increased body temperature, and activating our sympathetic reflexes can cause sleep interruptions, the fact is, it does not.   As long as you keep the exercise in moderation and within a reasonable time of the day, you would not need to worry about messing up your internal body clock!  

3 Ways to Be More Consistent with Your Workouts

We know that even if you do try to work out at a certain time of the day if you do not make it a habit and are not consistent with your workout, you won’t get the results you want — whether it be losing weight or building strength. Here are some tips we have to help you in your fitness journey.
  1. This is When You Should Be Exercising, Based on ScienceGet a Workout Buddy. Having someone exercise with you will keep you motivated to adhere to your workout. Make sure you find someone who is highly motivated and supportive of you and less likely to quit halfway. This way, you can hold each other accountable throughout your journey.
  2. Think of the health benefits. Establishing a stable exercise routine will definitely pay off for both your physical and mental health. When we exercise, our bodies release hormones called endorphins which decreases our pain perception and helps in creating a positive feeling. If you think about how good you will feel about yourself, later on, you’ll get motivated to get through a 30-minute session!
  Set small milestones along the way and reward yourself accordingly. While you may not see immediate results in the first few days, you can keep your morale high by setting milestones! For instance, you can reward yourself for completing a 7-day workout routine or for sticking to your healthy diet. Make the journey fun and less stressful by learning to celebrate your victories. At the end of the day, health shouldn’t be a one-stop destination but rather a lifelong enjoyable and meaningful trip.

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