Is there really a best time to workout? While many experts believe the buttcrack of dawn to be the best time to burn calorie, melt fat, boost energy and stay consistent the actual truth about when the best time to train is will surprise you.
But before I tell you what I learned from hormone optimizing experts who researched the best time to workout based on performance not psychology I have to confess that I absolutely loathe working out first thing in the mornings. I've never liked it and probably never will.
The first time I tried being a morning workout person was when I got my first job as a marketing coordinator at a credit union a few months after graduating from college. I was finding it difficult to get energized to exercise in the evenings like I had been for years so decided to follow the typical workout advice on how working out first thing in the morning is better because you're less likely to skip it. I used to pack my clothes my breakfast lunch and snacks and go to the gym at 5:30 before work and it just felt so forced and unfocused so I just stopped.
The second time I tried being a morning workout person was when I started personal training. I would get up at 4:30 am to make a protein shake and go train 2 clients then I would do my own workout at 7 am then shower, eat again and train more clients until 1pm then go home play with my son then go back to the gym at 4pm to train clients for a few more hours. It was exhausting having zero down time between clients and I hated working out in the gym and getting asked questions during my workout or having people trying to chat with me while I was training. Sorry but socializing while working out just isn't my thing!
The third time I tried working out in the morning was a few
years ago when I was transitioning from fatlossworkoutsguide to
bestfemalefigure site. I would drop my
son at school then attempt to get busy with a workout by walking around the
park to warmup and rev up my motivation.
The problem is that I would rather be writing and creating content instead
See for me exercise isn't a chore that I HAVE to do. I actually love and enjoy fitness since I was a kid so it's like a treat that I get to have when I feel like taking a break from hours of work. So for me exercising mid day or late afternoon often works better. This allows me to get tons of work done in the morning when fewer people are around and when my brain wants to work. I also find that in the afternoon is when my body prefers to go harder vs. just moderate.
So what are actual health and holistic experts findings on best time to workout? The reality is that the best time to train is when your adrenaline, testosterone levels and body temperature are highest. This can vary a lot from person to person but generally it's in the afternoon for most people. Another consideration is cortisol levels (the fat storing hormone) have been found to decrease later in the day which means fat burning is higher in the afternoon! In addition to this heart rate and blood pressure are lower and pain tolerance is higher in the afternoon which means better overall performance.
So looks like my advice in ybff success guide and my body's preference for afternoon workouts has been instinctively correct for years. Of course there is a whole lot of other research on circadian rhythms and habit formation as well as stress relief that favor morning workouts so the honest truth is "the best time to train is when YOU will do it" says Paul Chek my favorite health and fitness teacher.
Perhaps the only bad time to train is late at night since intense exercise triggers your stress hormones and this is when you should be winding down to sleep. If your workout is not intense at all like mobility, stretching, yoga or just moderate walking then late night exercise may actually help you sleep better. I know this from personal experience and as you can see above from my 10 pm stretching session which is what I do to sleep better.
Of course if you have a night job like I did many years ago then you probably have a whole other set of challenges to deal with but the honest truth is if you just eat right and listen to your body your body will always tell you the best time to workout. That was 10 am for me when I was working nights and the irony of this is too hilarious!