Our bodies are ruled by rhythms. From our sleep cycles, energy levels to body temperatures, everything has an impact on your daily life – especially, your workout.
Working out, in general, is crucial to your overall health and well-being. But, when your goals and reasons for working out are specific, the time of day you choose to break a sweat could be making all the difference.
Based on your needs, here’s research-backed evidence to help you maximize your results!
Goal: Weight loss
Time of Day: Early morning
The American Council of Exercise conducted a study, proving that people who exercise soon after waking up tend to be both more consistent and exercise more often – as compared to others who workout at other times in the day.
Other research proves that a 45-minute morning working out can make you less ravenous for breakfast, more prone to make healthy food choices and more likely to keep moving and burning calories throughout your entire day.
Goal: Get Stronger
Time of Day: Late Afternoon or Early Evening
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Your body’s natural testosterone levels are at their highest levels between 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Plus, your body’s temperature is at its peak. Together, this means that you will feel stronger, more flexible, and your lungs will be working at their optimal efficiency, boosting your overall endurance through tough strength workouts.
Goal: Sleep Better
Time of Day: Right After Waking Up
The National Sleep Foundation’s experts hold that exposure to daylight soon after waking up (during a run, bike ride or even drive to the gym) has the effect of putting a timestamp on your brain. This reminds your brain when it rose and when you need to power down at night.
Health researchers at Appalachian State University further found that morning exercise reduces blood pressure and causes an additional 25 percent dip at night, which is correlated with better sleep.
But remember, exercise can never substitute for sleep. In other words, never sacrifice necessary sleep for a morning run. Simply get your required 6-8 hours and workout later in your day.
Goal: Reset Your Body Clock
Time of Day: Mid-Afternoon
When traveling, your natural circadian rhythms are thrown off by switching to a night shift, viewing artificial light in the evening (when your brain expects darkness) and even getting older.
Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles performed a series of experiments on mice who had been bred to have a malfunctioning sense of time. The findings proved that while exercise overall helps get the mice back on schedule, the effects were at its peak when running in the afternoon.
While midday workouts have yet to be proven on jet-lagged humans, it couldn’t hurt to cancel your afternoon lunch and head to the gym instead!
Goal: Setting a Personal Record
Time of Day: The Same Time, All The Time (consistency is key!)
Have you ever had a workout that felt effortless – something just seemed to click? That’s exactly how you wanted to feel during a competition, and your best chance to achieve this is if you workout at the same time every day.
Whether you choose to workout at 8:00 a.m., noon or 8 p.m. the timing must be consistent so you can rule out any factors that could be sabotaging your performance and results. This will allow you act, for example, reaching out to a coach, analyzing your workout or changing your nutrition.
This will ensure that when race day arrives, you’ll know you did everything in your power to put your best foot forward.
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