Ask The Expert

Why The ‘Best Time’ To Exercise Is Different For Everybody

International fitness instructor Jeff Kloepping explains why the best time to hit the gym is not the same for everybody

Best Time To Work Out
What is the best time to work out? (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The best way to maintain a good level of consistent exercise is to get into a routine.

Once this becomes habit, you are far more likely to stick to it and feel more motivated when it comes to getting into the gym, going for a run or whatever that may be.

However, in order to get into a routine, you need to assess when is the best time to schedule in your session.

There are a lot of factors at play and things to consider when deciding as it really is completely unique for every individual.
 
International fitness instructor, Jeff Kloepping, is a weight loss and muscle building expert who has been working with clients to find a fitness routine that suits them.

Here, he shares his expert advice on how to decide what time to work out in order to maximise results and make it sustainable.

Editor's note: The content on this website is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The content of our articles is not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or a certified medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet or exercise routine, or trying a new supplement.

The Case For Early Morning

There are so many contributing factors when it comes to looking at different research with regards to when the best time to work out is.

The common belief is that first thing in the morning is the best time and there is some truth in this. It’s proven that working out on an empty stomach can help to transfer fat.

So, if you can get a session in before sitting down for breakfast, it could have great benefits. Equally, getting the blood pumping first thing can develop your appetite for the rest of the day, which may aid you on the nutrition side of things with craving the right type of food.

Woman Workout

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

Another huge benefit of morning training is that it is far better for your sleep. Exercise in general is known to aid sleep, however getting energised too late will mean you’re too awake to sleep at night.

However, if it’s early enough you will feel energised and ready to tackle the rest of the day and still get a good night’s kip.

The Case For Later In The Day

There are equally benefits for getting sweaty in the afternoon.

Most notably, in the mornings you may still be drowsy and have to push harder to get warmed up and your body ready to burn.

However, waiting until later in the day may mean you are already energised enough to dive straight into your warm-up routine. This also means that your reaction times may be better.

Working out later in the day is a great time to exercise due to the circadian rhythm, which is our body’s daily cycle of biological activity, one of which is the sleep-wake cycle.

Man Working Out

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

Therefore, when we work out later in the day, our core temperature is at its peak. What does this mean? Our bodies are more primed for movement: joints are more mobile and there is more blood flow to our muscles – all of which could make for a more efficient workout.

All of this means we receive more muscle activation, and actually, it’s one of the main the reasons why so many sporting events are held in the afternoon.

A Word About Hormones

Whilst it’s important to find the best time for yourself, it’s worth highlighting the fact that your hormone levels play a role in determining the optimal workout time.

It’s a known fact that things such as muscle growth, strength and stamina are dependent on testosterone levels in both men and women.

Often, the body might produce more testosterone during a late afternoon and early evening workout over a morning session.

Testosterone and growth hormone are highest in the afternoon and evening as well, and studies show that this may benefit working out later in the day for building muscle, but more research is generally needed around this topic.

In the morning however, the stress hormone cortisol, which aids the storage of fat and reduction of muscle tissue, is at its highest, and it decreases throughout the duration of the day. Thus, the cortisol hormone may be impacted less by exercise later in the day.

Man in the gym

(Photo: Adobe Stock)

Your Schedule

Sometimes, we have no choice other than to fit exercise in around a busy day. That doesn’t mean we’re not optimising the results, it’s just when we can actually fit it in.

Some prefer to work out in the evening to de-stress for example, it’s all about the energy that you put in and that’s what matters.

Putting science aside, if you’re the type of person who knows works best first thing and can fit it into your day ahead, you will naturally choose to work out then. Some people are morning people, others aren’t.

Wrapping Things Up – Final Thoughts

Finding the ‘best time’ to workout can be difficult, and it does differ for everybody.

As much as it’s largely based on personality and time preference, working out is all about consistency.

Whichever time you decide to exercise will be the best time for you, as long as you’re motivated and determined to take control of that session.

Whether it be the morning, afternoon or late evening, they each have their own advantages.

The main thing is realising how you use your session and finding that pinnacle time where you’re going to utilise your fitness routine the most.

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• Updated on 29 September 2020
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