What is the Best Time to Workout?
Are Morning Workouts Better than Evening Workouts?
Crap on a cracker! Just when you get your workout routine down someone goes and says its not the ‘best time to workout.’ Gah! SERENITY NOW! Why does it seem like every time you think you got it all figured out, someone tells you there’s a better way.
Is it? Is working out in the morning going to give you better results than working out in the evening? Or is working out at 11pm at night rather than giving into that pizza promo more beneficial? (yes….yes it is.)
What is the BEST TIME TO WORKOUT!?
Well, you want answers and so do we. So we found them…kinda. *sheepishly grins* Keep reading….
First, What is Fasted Cardio
Let’s talk about this quickly because it is woven into the theory behind morning workouts allegedly being ‘better’.
Fasted cardio is a term you’ll hear a lot of bodybuilders hype up, or hashtag on Instagram. It is exactly what it sounds like it is—doing cardio after fasting for a set amount of time (usually the number of hours you slept.)
What fasted cardio entails is getting out of bed earlier than you normally would, wiping the sleep out of your eyes, grabbing a water and getting down to business—whether it’s on a run or on the treadmill.
Raise your hands if this sounds exciting! Bueller? Bueller? Buller………
Well, if you’re bodybuilding and on a hypercaloric and fat-rich diet to build size, you should definitely raise your hand and get in some fasted cardio. Studies show fasted training is more effective than fed training in relation to building muscle, improving glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. If you eat prior to cardio and you’re on the hypercaloric muscle building diet, you’re going to do some damage to your body regarding results, glucose and insulin. Hey, read the study. #Truth.
But—don’t stop there and think if you’re not a bodybuilder, you won’t benefit from working out in the morning. Unless you’re scarfing down extra cals to gain some lbs for a show, that study might not mean as much to you. It makes sense though—if you workout BEFORE you stuff your face with high fats and carbs, your body handles that abuse a little better than if you ate prior to running. Maybe it’s too busy digesting the extra food and dealing with insulin spikes to concern itself with improved adaptations. Eh?
But, what if you’re not training for a show? What if you just want to lose weight or maintain weight. Will working out in the morning help you get results faster?
Well, first there are a lot of factors to take into consideration, keep that in mind—studies out there conflict with each other about the best time to workout.
The Best Time to Workout is 6PM
There is a study that shows your body’s temperature increases in the late afternoon, and alongside that increase is improved performance and muscular function. Thus, that study and this one says you’ll be able to perform better with your body primed around 6pm.
That makes sense—you got the juices flowing, you made it through the 2pm slump at your cage, I mean cubicle. Your body temp rises and you need to let off a little steam. That’s fine and dandy if you can muster the motivation to benefit from the improved performance 6pm workouts may offer.
Just Kidding, The Best Time is to Workout in the Morning
But another study says, working up an appetite is a myth when it comes to morning workouts, and working out in the morning actually diminishes food cravings, thereby assisting in weight loss goals.
Of course, if you don’t have carbs in your system and you’re working out for 30-45 minutes, your body will go after fat as a fuel since glycogen from fast-acting carbs is not readily available for energy during a fasting state.
So, for weight loss, not performance, working out in the morning is best. But those studies indicate performance is not quite up to par unless you’re pushing yourself. Are you a person who can push yourself in the wee hours of the morning?
Ok, Seriously The Best Time to Workout Is….
*drum roll please*
When you CAN. Unless you’re training for a show, no study out there truly proves that one time is better than another to achieve SIGNIFICANTLY different results. Some say a certain time improves performance, others say it can help with insulin resistance if you’re stuffing your face like a chipmunk prepping for winter.
But it comes down to one thing: none of these results are significant enough to have an impact on an average person trying to get a workout in. Period.
If you like an empty gym in the morning or, if you want to get a good workout in before your brain figures out what you’re up to–GO! Get dressed, run and/or hit the weights.
If you need a boost to take advantage of fasted cardio benefits, consider a good pre-workout.
But, if you’re tired and not looking forward to a long stressful day at work, but WILL commit to your gym schedule—get those extra Zsss and work off your stress after work.
Check out intra-workout supplements that can extend you fuel and nutrients so you can take advantage of your body’s optimal performance window.
Morning or night, doing anything is better than doing nothing. So there you have it—no answer. We’re just keepin’ real.
But you know what you do have? Enough information to tell your buddy to zip it. Seriously, shut up Mike. Scientifically, you’re both right. Boom. You’re welcome.