Should You Exercise in the Morning or Afternoon?

A big argument in the fitness world is about what time during the day should you exercise. I typically work out in the mornings due to my schedule; however, I was curious to know what the studies are saying about the issue. I did some digging and here is information that I found about the optimal time to work out!

It has been proven that our body temperature increases throughout the day. So, there is a theory that our optimal strength and endurance capability occurs in the afternoon. Also, our reaction time, heart rate, and blood pressure are the highest during the afternoon. These factors help prevent injuries and improve athletic performance.

Some research has also said that working out in the evenings can increase your "physical capacity, aerobic capacity, and strength output by between 8% - 30%". That's a lot!! Also, think about this: if you work out in the mornings and don't eat, you don't have any fuel to get through the workout. If I had an early dinner the night before a workout and lift weights in the morning before eating, sometimes I feel fatigued and nauseous.

Did you know your hormones, specifically testosterone and cortisol, fluctuate throughout the day? Testosterone is at it's lowest in the morning and cortisol is at it's highest in the morning in men AND women. Cortisol is a stress hormone and testosterone is an important hormone for muscle growth. Cortisol gradually decreases throughout the day and testosterone increases! High levels of cortisol have been linked to an increase in fat storage and muscle decay. Working out in the afternoon could possibly align with your hormone levels to give you optimal results.

However, the gym is the busiest from 5-8 pm due to common work schedules, timing before dinner, school, etc. This can make it difficult to have access to machines, treadmills, etc. In my opinion, if you are just starting to work out, just go to the gym whatever time is possible for you. If you are more advanced and are wanting to make those tiny improvements, perhaps try moving your workout to a different time. Right now, I don't have the luxury to move my workout period to the afternoons due to my classes. I think it would be a good idea to try working out in the morning and the afternoon to see which one you perform better at.

Know that sleep and nutrition also play a key role in your strength performance.


Thanks for reading!


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