Molly McNamee | Should you workout in the morning or evening?
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Should you workout in the morning or evening?

This is a subject that has been covered in every fitness publication, yet we still haven’t gotten an answer. Which is better, morning workouts or evening workouts?

Some people say it really does matter what time you workout. Research has shown that morning workouts promote weight loss and afternoon workouts result in more muscle. Personally, I have seen both of these things happen at all times of the day with all types of people. So I can’t say for certain if morning workouts are better than evening ones, but there are definite benefits to working out at either time.

Defense for morning workouts 

Exercising in the morning is ideal for most people who don’t particularly enjoy working out. Getting your sweat on shortly after waking allows you to get your workout out of the way. If you don’t like exercising or simply have a stressful job, chances are you won’t want to workout after a long day, even if you have every intention to do so. You should have more energy in the morning after a night of rest. I personally like to workout at the first opportunity I get in a day because I know if I wait too long, I will be tired. However, I am a morning person. Perhaps you have more energy in the afternoon; but we will talk about that later.

There are also several health benefits to AM fitness. Training in the morning will keep you be more active throughout the day. Studies have shown that morning workouts also help you make healthier choices throughout the day. You will eat better and move more. Because of this higher activity level throughout the day, working out in the morning can also help speed up your metabolism and allow you to burn more calories on a daily basis. Chances are if you workout in the evening, you go home and plop on the couch. Morning workouts have to be followed by movement, so you will likely be less sore after these training sessions.

Finally, early birds tend to be more consistent. Life happens… work runs long, a last minute meeting made it’s way into your afternoon, or you’re just tired after a long day at work.  There are far less excuses when you workout before people have been able to check their emails. If you feel like you don’t have time in the morning to workout, try this 12-minute morning workout!

Defense for evening workouts

If all you are thinking right now is, but I want to sleep in, then perhaps morning workouts are not for you. I mentioned earlier that I have better energy levels before noon, but maybe you are different. If you feel energized after work, go to the gym! Everyone is different and some people simply peak in the evening. Don’t listen to those individuals who tell you morning workouts are better. If you feel stronger and lively in the afternoon, that’s your time for fitness. If you want to workout in the afternoon but feel too tired, try starting with an 8-minute cardio routine. This should energize you and will get the ball rolling. If you like that workout video, there are plenty more like it on the MFit Membership.

The number one health benefit of evening workouts is that they can produce better sleep. Evening workouts, particularly aerobic ones can aid in overcoming insomnia. Exercise increases the body temperature for about four to five hours. After that time, the core temperature drops, which signals the body to go into rest or sleep mode. If you workout at 6am you might feel a bit sluggish around 11am. This may be fine for you depending on your schedule, but it can be a problem for some. If you workout at 6pm it will be time to go to bed by the time you hit that wall.

Finally, the only time I workout in the evening is when I need to blow off steam. A stressful day will result in one of two things. It may make you skip the gym in favor of the couch or a barstool, or it might make you want sweat and hurt a little. Evening workouts are fantastic for letting out the aggression that builds up throughout the day. This aggression may make you work harder and in return have a more challenging workout that produces better results. This study in particular shows that you will work harder in evening workouts. The workout may either be more intense or longer because you don’t have watch the clock and rush to work.

What does this all mean?

With all of the information I just gave you, you can decide for yourself when you want to workout. If your workouts are effective and you are eating a reasonable diet, you will see progress regardless of the time of day.