Does the Time of Day You Workout Affect Results
Becky says morning workouts helped her lose weight. Mikey says evening workouts burn more calories. Which is it? Does the time of day really affect your training results?
Yes and no.
Exercising in the Morning Can be Good AND Bad
You’ve likely heard Mikey at the gym swear by morning workouts to lose fat more quickly. This CAN be true.
Exercising in the Morning: Fasted Cardio
Fasted cardio is a good thing, and that’s just what you’re doing when you exercise in the morning.
It forces your body to tap into fat reserves because in most cases, you’ve used up your glycogen stores or extra carbs.
Studies have shown that the body burns a larger amount of calories from fat than carbs, but others argue that even if that is true—overall calories burned will be fewer because your perceived exertion—or how hard it is to work out in the morning, makes it so your body may burn fewer calories overall.
Well, for every study there is a study that counters it, isn’t there?
Exercising in the Morning: Cortisol Levels are High
Another issue to consider is cortisol.
In the morning, cortisol is the highest, and if you are sensitive to it, or have higher levels of cortisol or stress, exercising in the morning can actually hinder your weight loss.
Exercising in the Morning: Testosterone Levels are High
And, staying true to our statement about studies—studies show testosterone is higher in the morning and increases the ability to build muscle and lose weight. Studies also showed working out in the morning can keep testosterone levels higher throughout the day, extending the benefits of working out in the morning.
Some studies show working out in the morning makes for a more active day.
Exercising in Afternoon or Evening:
You’re not a morning person! If you find it difficult to get up in the morning but schedule your workouts for the morning, you may miss a lot of workouts!
Additionally, if working out becomes a pain versus a stress reliever, you may develop negative associations that hinder your fitness goals.
If you’re trying to lose fat, there are studies, yes MORE studies, that show the body’s core temperature is highest around 6pm. If you want to capitalize on that, workout after work.
But….keep in mind, it might be significantly harder to workout after working all day.
But, if you’re like most people who eat dinner and then veg out on the couch, an after dinner workout might benefit you….
Do you see where we are going here?
The most important thing is that you actually workout, rather than WHEN you workout. Decide when you are going to workout based on your body, your schedule, and your goals.
If you’re a morning person—go for it.
If you’re more apt to go straight to the gym after work—do it.
Just get there and get it in.
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