When Should You Work Out?

When should you work out? I mean, the answer is whenever you can, just make sure you get it done. But I don’t think that’s really what’s meant by that question. What’s being asked is, when is the best time of day to work out? And honestly, this is a tricky one to answer. There’s the science, and then there’s my personal view.

Let’s start with the science. And the science says, it doesn’t really matter. In most of the studies I’ve seen, there is no real benefit to working out at a certain time of day. Assuming all other factors of your life stay the same; calories consumed, protein, intensity, load and duration of your workout, sleep patterns, assuming they all remain fairly similar, timing doesn’t really matter. There is maybe a slight benefit to working out earlier in the day, but it’s so negligible that it’s really not worth worrying about, or shifting your entire life about for. Stick to what works for you.

So, if the science says there’s no definite answer, what then? Well, here’s my view of it, my personal preference is, earlier is better. For several reasons. Firstly, you tend to be fresher, more full of energy earlier on in the day. That’s going to give you a better workout, you can do more, you can do it better, you’re more alert. Secondly, you get it out of the way. If you do it early, it’s done. You don’t have to worry about it later on. And how many times have you finished work and thought, not tonight? If you leave your workout until later, you might be more likely to skip it, to be too worn out or drained to bother with it. So, don’t give yourself that option. Thirdly, if you workout earlier, you’re feeling the benefits throughout the day, you’re still working those muscles, and increasing your load. It might be a tiny benefit, but every little helps.

Unfortunately, at the moment, the evidence is pretty inconclusive to support any real answer for sure. So, like I said at the start, whenever is best. Whenever works best for you. If you can drag yourself up early enough to get it done then, that’s probably better. And if you can only do evenings, that’s fine too. The benefits are still there. But if you find you’re skipping too many sessions, it might be time for a change. Whatever you do, try not to give yourself excuses to quit. Fitness is important, whenever you do it. See you next week.

Dan Miller

Body Fuel Personal Fitness Trainer