Whether you can’t start your day without a morning run, or you prefer to burn off some steam at the end of the day, any exercise is better than no exercise at all. Everyone has their own theories and preferences, but ultimately when you choose to train depends on your goals. So I like to say the best time to workout is when you can commit to it!
There is no evidence to suggest that working out at different times of the day increases calorie expenditure or improves muscle growth. Some will say that evening is not ideal, as you will be raising cortisol levels (the stress hormone) when you are naturally preparing for rest. But for many people training after work is a great way to clear the mind from a busy day. For others, a lunch time workout with colleagues is not only a great motivator, but gets the blood flowing to help boost your productivity levels back in the office. Personally, I’m a morning kind of guy. I like to get a training session in before I start my busy work day. A non-negotiable morning workout means I can start the day feeling great and ensure nothing will get in the way of my training.
Training on a full stomach is never a good option. Digestion requires the blood that your working muscles will want, so it’s best to not eat within 90 minutes prior to exercise. This can be a challenge for those who prefer to train in the morning. If you often feel like you’re running on empty, try experimenting with a light snack such as a piece of fruit or a small juice or smoothie to fuel your workout. After a workout, your body is ready to replace depleted fuel, repair muscles and rehydrate. Eating (or drinking) something that combines protein and carbohydrates within 30-60 minutes of exercise is an equally important part of the process.
Unsurprisingly, gym visitation peaks at the start of the week (especially Mondays) with weekend indulgences driving people to start fresh with a new week. Depending on your personal preferences, you might enjoy the buzz of a vibrant and busy gym on a Monday or prefer minimal disruption on a Friday night. Much like the time of day, the best time in the week to train is when you can commit to it. Set yourself up for a successful week by treating your workouts like any other appointment – mark it in your calendar with a set time and day, and don’t cancel!