Some people say that there’s a best time to train.
Some say first thing in a morning – “It gets it out of the way”
Some say straight after work – “I can’t exercise in the morning”.
Some say circadian rhythms are ideal at 3 hours after waking and 11 hours after waking……..
All are quite valid reasons……I thought I’d touch upon the advantages and disadvantages of various training times.
1. Training first thing
For some, this seems like hell on earth. Right from a cosy bed to the hustle and bustle of training……….some might see it as an out of body experience!
1. If you get it done – it’s done. I know many people who would not train AT ALL if they couldnt train at 5.30/6/6.30AM (that’s right ‘A.M!’) . With work and family commitments – it’s simply the only time available.
2. Morning training gives boost to energy levels and metabolism throughout the day.
3. Fasted exercise (before breakfast) has been reported by bodybuilders for years to speed up fat loss leading up to competition.
4. Testosterone is tends to be high in the morning, and could help muscle growth.
1. It has been suggested that morning workouts should avoid all exercises involving bending and twisting, especially within the first hour upon waking. The reason is that fluid remains in the discs of the spine for around an hour after getting up.
So, make sure you’re up early, or leave the heavy squats and deadlifts to evening or days when you’ll be up in time.
2. Some people just can’t train as well first thing. I myself like training early sometimes – but I do need that hour-and-a-half or so to eat a decent breakfast or I feel drained if training intensely (of which intense training I do most of the time – just like in bootcamp). If I’m training really heavy – I need to train later in the day or my grip doesn’t feel as strong……...find what works for you.
3. Most people tend to eat their biggest meals at teatime. Ideally, your post-workout meal should be large enough to replace your glygogen stores, and eating your biggest meal away from training might not be optimal.
4. Stress hormone cortisol tends to be highest early morning. This can hinder fat loss in some that are already particularly stressed…..Could this be detrimental to some fat loss goals if you’re not already taking care of rest and recovery? Who knows?
I do know that many often neglect sleep and need to get this is in- before adding more training.
So which is best?
The best time to train is the time that you can fit it in.
Studies have shown that people who train first thing usually adhere to training better – because it’s made a priority. Try to find a few days that fit your schedule – and stick to it. My top tip would be NOT to OVER PLAN. Eg, dont go from no exercise to 5 times a week for 60 mins as you think you have that much spare time. Start with 2-3 times , and maybe make it 20 minute of honest hard work (or even less if 20 mins is too much)….and re-assess it next week.
As it happens I trained on Sunday night at 9pm! We had been to a friends wedding the night before, had a lazy morning, and my girlfriend is on nights…………so I planned accordingly.
BOTTOM LINE = Make your exercise plan fit you – NOT YOU to IT!
PS I remember writing about training on a hot sunday a while back – click to check it out (and you dont have to use a sled – most exercises can work well) . Makes me kinda wish for those sunny Sundays again!