When I was a kid, I didn’t think twice about waking up early and going for a training run. Back then, however, I could easily keep going through late-night practices, too. It’s easier to find time to work out when you don’t have work or family responsibilities. If you’re struggling to find ANY time to work out in your busy schedule, you’re not alone. The question I hear most from people in your position is, “When’s the best time to exercise to get the most bang for my buck?”
I’d love to tell you that there is an easy answer, but that seldom seems to be the case. Stick with me, as I lay out everything you need to know about workout timing and the best time to exercise.
Getting in a morning sweat-session is a great way to build a routine. There are no date nights or after-work drinks or late meetings to disrupt your schedule. You wake up, you grab your shoes, and you go. As a bonus, working out before breakfast can burn up to 20% more calories than you would after a meal. And because exercise elevates your heart rate and body temperature, working out early ensures that vigorous exercise won’t interrupt your sleep routine.
There are some considerations you’ll need to take, however, if you’re a morning exerciser. Because your body temperature is lower when you wake up, you’ll need a longer warm-up before your workout to prevent injury. Also, if you have blood sugar issues, you may want to skip the morning workout. You should always wait for 90 minutes after a meal before exercising, and not many people have time for that plus a workout before, well, work.
Working out on your lunch hour can be a great way to get in a quick workout. It can be a bonus if you have coworkers to work out with and stay accountable to. But, again, it will have to be a quick workout since, in theory, your lunch hour is limited to an hour. And you’ll have to wait until after your workout to eat, because your body is more focused on digestion than fueling your muscles.
A lunchtime workout can be great, as well, because it gives you a consistent time to exercise every day. Studies show that your body will adapt to your chosen workout time – no matter when it is. If you’re a consistent nooner, your body will learn to expect exercise at that time, and to perform well at that time. Aren’t bodies a wonderful thing?
After work is a popular time to work out. It can be a great way to release the stress of your day, and shed “work brain” before you go home for the night. Your body has warmed up throughout the day, so it’s primed for movement. Your heart rate and blood pressure are generally lower in the afternoon, as well, which can help your athletic performance.
In addition, your testosterone levels (yes, for men AND women) are at their peak in the afternoon. This means that the afternoon is the best time to improve muscle strength, and to increase muscle mass.
You will want to watch out, however, because your heart rate and blood pressure are low in the evenings for a reason: your body is preparing to go to bed. If you find yourself with an altered sleep schedule, consider shifting your workout earlier in the day and see how your sleep improves.
The Bottom Line
You’ve got a busy schedule. Fitting in a workout may not be so easy as choosing the best time to exercise for your body. You’ll most likely end up scheduling around family, work, homework, events, and sleep. The good news is that’s okay! Any workout is better than no workout at all.
If you’re ready to start up a workout routine, come and visit us at Prepare for Performance. We can help you create a routine that’s right for your schedule – whenever that may be! Book your free trial session now, and let’s get that heart rate going!