By: Meredith Porretta
Starting and sticking to a fitness routine can be tough — it’s yet another thing you have to manage in your busy schedule. Whether you need to get it done before the kids get up in the morning or you need to squeeze it in after a long day, you might ask yourself, “Is it better to work out in the morning or at night?” The answer is: it depends.
There are a number of factors to consider when figuring out what time of day is best for your exercise routine. Here are two key questions to ask yourself when figuring out what time of day your workout will benefit you the most.
1. What is Your Body Clock Like?
We all have what is called a circadian rhythm, or a natural way our body cycles through being awake and sleeping over a 24-hour period. Some people are naturally morning folks, while others are self-proclaimed night owls. Tuning in to your body’s natural tendencies can help you determine what time of day is best to work out.
2. What Are Your Commitments?
Everyone has unique commitments in their lives. This includes your work schedule, family obligations and anything else that takes up major chunks of your time. For example, if you work full time and have children, you might find that exercising early in the morning is your best bet, as it lets you fit in a workout before your busy day of caring for your kids and getting to work kicks off.
Working out in the Morning versus the Evening
Deciding when to work out is totally up to you, but there are some big health benefits to working out in the morning versus the evening. Here are a few:
- Studies have found that individuals who work out in the morning are more likely to stick with a fitness regimen successfully.
- When you get your workout out of the way first thing, you don’t have the rest of the day to find an excuse to skip it.
- Getting a morning boost of endorphins can help your day start off on a positive and happy note.
- Working out in the morning can also increase your energy levels and jumpstart your metabolism, leading to a higher caloric burn.
Things to Consider
- Allow your body 90 minutes to properly digest food before asking it to exercise. Or, wait until after you’ve exercised to eat your breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- If you work out in the evening, give yourself two hours before settling down for bed to avoid disrupting your sleep cycle.
- If you are just starting up your workout routine, be sure to consult a physician.
If you’re not sure what time of day will work best for your schedule, take a few weeks and try out different options. Try working out in the morning for a few days, then during your lunch break and then in the evening. See which option you’re most excited about and make note of what leaves you feeling energized. The most important thing is choosing a time that makes you excited to work out. That way, you are more likely to stick with the program and be successful.
What about you — do you opt for the early-morning routine or evening sweat session? Share your tips with others in the comments below. Log in or register for P&G everyday to get started.
Meredith is a mother of two, blogger for Yin Mom, Yang Mom, Etsy shop owner and freelance graphic/web designer. She resides in New England and enjoys photography, knitting, meditation, drawing and writing snarky commentary.