The Most Effective Time to Work Out

If you’re trying to maximize your results on the treadmill or bench press, timing is everything. But finding the most effective time to work out can be challenging when life’s distractions, obligations and to-do lists get in the way. Evening workouts, for instance, are prone to being derailed by errands, social plans and familial duties that can throw off your sleep cycle. Morning exercise can feel like a daunting task when you’re already struggling to stick to your routine.

While morning workouts may not be for everyone, those who do manage to lace up their sneakers first thing often find it easier to maintain consistency. “The biggest thing is just getting it done,” says personal trainer Mark Brisby, owner of Santa Barbara’s The Training Room. “When you do it in the morning, it’s not something that can get pushed aside or lost.”

A recent study also found that people who exercise in the morning are more likely to stick with their fitness routine than those who workout at night. This could be because the morning workout leaves less room for excuses or a lack of motivation to skip a gym session, especially when it’s the only opportunity for exercise before the day gets busy.

Some people who workout in the morning say their energy level stays high throughout the day and they have more energy to tackle tasks on their to-do list. Plus, those who work out in the early hours tend to feel accomplished and on a roll when they finish their workout, which can give them more mental motivation to continue with their healthy habits.

The Most Effective Time to Work Out

For those who have more energy at night, there’s a strong case to make for exercising in the afternoon or evening. For starters, researchers note that your body’s reaction speed and oxygen uptake kinetics are higher later in the day, which can help you burn more calories and achieve a greater workout intensity.

Another reason to hit the gym at night: Studies have shown that exercising just before bed has a positive impact on sleep quality. That’s because when you work out, your body releases the hormone melatonin, which helps induce sleep. The trick is to keep your workout short, which is why you should avoid any high-impact exercises within an hour or two of when you plan on going to bed.

Still, both experts agree that it’s important to be flexible and listen to your body and schedule & life. With a bit of trial and error, you’ll be sure to find your best fit for the most effective time to work out. The key is to get it done consistently — and reap the rewards! Hopefully these tips will help you do just that.

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