In college, I remember hearing some friends talk about the best time to work out, how much you should eat before, what you should eat after.. all of these scientific facts about getting the most out of your workout. So of course once I really got into working out, I was curious myself. Is there really an ideal time of day to get that workout in? Well, in short, yes.
- The best time of day to workout first and foremost, is when you will work out. While this may seem obvious, it’s important to recognize that any workout is better than no workout. If you think working out in the morning is the “most ideal time” but miss that morning window because you tend to oversleep, then it probably isn’t.
- Working out is also going to be the most beneficial when you feel the best and have the most energy to put towards it. Once again, if you’re not a morning person and have no energy in the mornings then it probably won’t benefit you to work out at that time. You will get the most out of a good workout when you can put the most energy into it.
- Now, let’s get technical. Your body can push itself anaerobically longer and harder if you begin your workout with a supply of muscle glycogen. This will let you lift heavier, jump higher, move faster—pretty much improve every aspect of every workout that’s not tied to recovery or aerobic efficiency. Glycogen is mainly recharged by carbohydrates, and is released very quickly with exercise, brain activity, and most other tasks. This means it fluctuates throughout the day and is always highest immediately after a meal is digested containing carbohydrates. Basically, depending on your eating schedule, your body is probably ready for peak exercise in the late morning, afternoon, or early evening.
- Finally, first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, your body is forced to utilize its fat storage for energy which essentially means you can train your body to “burn fat” at this time. This is the best time of day to do an easier workout, but not something too strenuous.
Long story short, while you can definitely get all technical about it and determine an exact time of day that a workout may benefit you slightly more than another time; in reality, the time that you will make your work out happen is the best.
The time of day won’t really matter if you don’t do it at all, right?