The timing of exercise has an impact on weight loss, which may surprise some people. Whether you work out in the morning or the evening, the time of day has a significant impact on your ability to lose weight.
Whether it’s in the morning or at night, many of us find a way to squeeze in a workout in between our other responsibilities. Scientific research reveals that to reap greater benefits from exercise, we need to keep a closer eye on our training time.
Consistency is key when it comes to finding the best time of day to get your workouts in. Everyone is unique in their way. Your desire, way of life, and physiology all play a role in determining when is the “appropriate” time.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer, although early workouts have distinct advantages. Let’s take a look at the advantages of working out in the morning.
Exercise should be done in the morning, especially if it is done on an empty stomach. An increase in metabolic activity in the early morning is a healthy sign for weight loss. This means that in addition to improving one’s overall health, exercising in the morning will also help one burn more fat.
Additionally, morning workouts can help you stay active all day and fall asleep at a reasonable hour, which is just what your body needs. Fresh and active the next day is possible. A good night’s sleep is also said to aid in the process of losing weight.
After a long day at work, many people would rather work out in the evenings instead of in the morning. Heavy activities should be avoided at night, according to the study, as this can disrupt a person’s sleep cycle. The Journal of Physiology released a study in 2019 that found that exercising after 7 p.m. causes later bedtimes.
Evenings are ideal for practicing stress-reducing activities like yoga, according to experts.
Consider the following advantages if you’re undecided about starting an early workout regimen.
- Distractions are reduced: You’re less likely to be distracted if you work out in the morning. After a good night’s sleep, you haven’t even begun the day’s tasks. You’re also less likely to receive telephonic, textual, and electronic communication from others. You’ll be more likely to stick to your training plan if there are fewer distractions.
- Avoid the sweltering conditions: The warmest part of the day is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the summer, so working out in the morning is preferable. This is the time of year to stay indoors and avoid strenuous physical activity. On particularly hot days, it’s ideal to work out outside in the early morning hours if you can.
- Foods that are better for you: Setting the tone for a healthy day with an early morning workout might be beneficial to your health. 2,680 college students undertook a 15-week fitness program in a research published in the International Journal of ObesityTrusted Source in 2018. Three 30-minute cardio workouts were scheduled each week. Not a single one of the pupils were instructed to alter their eating habits. They also made healthier food choices, such as consuming less red meat and fried foods, for those who persisted with the program. This research didn’t investigate the ideal time of day to exercise, but it found that exercising can lead to healthier eating habits. Exercise in the morning can help you make better decisions throughout the rest of the day.
- Increased alertness: Your body’s hormonal swings may be better accommodated by an early workout. The hormone cortisol is known for its ability to keep you awake and focused. Even though it’s commonly referred to as the stress hormone, cortisol isn’t harmful until there’s an imbalance. Cortisol levels rise in the morning and fall in the evening, as is typical. Around 8 a.m., it hits its peak. Because of your body’s natural circadian cycle, this time of day may be ideal for you to work out.
- Increased overall energy: Regular exercise is a great way to increase your energy and decrease your tiredness. Your heart and lungs receive oxygen and nutrients as a result of physical activity. Your cardiovascular system, stamina, and endurance will all benefit from this exercise regimen. A more energizing day might be yours if you work out in the morning.
- Increased concentration: Regardless of the time of day you engage in physical activity, your ability to focus and concentrate is enhanced. However, if you find it difficult to concentrate during the day, a morning workout may be the answer. Getting some exercise in the morning has been shown to boost attention, visual learning, and judgment, according to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2019. A 30-minute treadmill walk in the morning or an 8-hour sitting period were both tested in the study. They also took three-minute breaks every 30 minutes on some days. Those who exercised in the morning were more alert throughout the day, especially when paired with regular breaks.
- Better mood: Stress management begins with regular physical activity. The “feel-good” neurotransmitters driving a runner’s high, endorphins, are produced in greater quantities in the brain when you exercise. It serves as a diversion from worrying thoughts as well. Getting some exercise in the morning is a terrific way to start your day off right. Also, you’ll have a positive view of the day because you’ll feel accomplished.
- Weight loss aid: Research published in EBioMedicineTrusted Source suggests that early workouts may be helpful for weight loss. A total of 10 young men participated in the study, which involved individual workouts in the morning, afternoon, and at night. The researchers observed that when they exercised in the morning before eating breakfast, their 24-hour fat burn was the highest. Exercise in the morning may be beneficial to those who want to lose weight.
- Controlling one’s hunger: Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, is reduced as a result of regular exercise. Peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1, which are known as satiety hormones, are also increased. Working exercise first thing in the morning, on the other hand, may help you curb your appetite even more. For 45 minutes a day, 35 women walked on a treadmill in the morning for a study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise in 2012. The women’s brain waves were then monitored while they looked at photographs of food and flowers. Exactly a week later, the same thing happened. The researchers found that when the women didn’t exercise in the morning, their brains were more responsive to images of food. Exercise in the early morning may help your brain better process food cues, as evidenced by this study.
- Increased overall activity: The benefits of working out early don’t end when the sun rises. Daily mobility is linked to morning exercise, as reported by the same research team in 2012 in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (Trusted Source). Following a morning walk of 45 minutes, the participants’ 24-hour physical activity increased. Morning exercise may be helpful if you’re aiming to lead a more active lifestyle.
- Blood glucose control: Type 1 diabetes management requires regular physical activity (T1DM). But for those with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), working out might be difficult. A low blood glucose level may result from exercise-induced hypoglycemia. A study published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and TechnologyTrusted Source in 2015 indicated that exercising in the morning reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Treadmill workouts were performed twice a day by 35 persons with Type 1 Diabetes (T1DM) in the study. When compared to workouts in the afternoon, the risk of hypoglycemia episodes was lower during morning sessions. Cortisol, according to the experts, maybe a factor. When cortisol levels are high, it helps regulate blood sugar levels. Hypoglycemia may be more likely to occur at lower levels later in the day.
- Blood pressure management: Hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects one in three persons in the United States. Naturally lowering blood pressure can be accomplished through regular physical activity. Exercise in the morning may be the best option, according to a 2014 study published in Vascular Health and Risk ManagementTrusted Source. Twenty prehypertensive people exercised on a treadmill three times a day at 7 a.m., 1 p.m., and 7 p.m. for three days in a row. A medical device was also worn by the participants to check their blood pressure. The best results for lowering blood pressure were reported on days when participants exercised at 7 a.m.
- Improved sleep: A good night’s sleep may be as close as a morning workout. At 7 a.m., persons who exercised in Vascular Health and Risk ManagementTrusted Source had better sleep than those who didn’t exercise at all.
After their workout in the morning, the individuals slept more soundly and woke up less frequently at night. They were also able to fall asleep more quickly.
Even more sleep benefits can be gained by exercising outside in the morning. Melatonin levels may be increased at night by early exposure to light.
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Should you eat before?
While working out before breakfast has some advantages, it is essential to regulate your blood sugar before exercising. If you don’t, your body will struggle to keep up with you during your workout. To get the most out of your workout, eat an early-morning carb and protein-rich lunch. These nutrients will provide you with the energy you need to work out, as well as prepare your muscles for it.
These are some of the best pre-workout food options:
- A banana and peanut butter spread.
- Almond milk and berries in porridge.
- Greek yogurt with apples in yogurt.
Before doing out, consume these items one to three hours prior. Trying out different times may be necessary to find the optimal one for you.
You’ll need to refuel your body’s glucose and protein resources after exercising. You should have a post-workout meal within 15 minutes of exercising.
- Vegetables and a turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread.
- A fruit and protein powder smoothie
- Several berries and a cup of Greek yogurt.
- Stay hydrated throughout your workout by drinking plenty of water before, during, and after.
Morning vs. evening
Working out first thing in the morning has the advantage of being easier to commit to and more likely to be completed before the rest of the day’s obligations take over.
After a long day at work or school, many people find themselves exhausted at night. Motivating yourself to exercise can be a challenge. Exercising late at night might also enhance your energy and make it difficult to sleep in the first place.
However, this does not mean that evening workouts are without value. Among the possible benefits are:
- An increase in body heat. Temperatures peak between 4 and 5 p.m. To make things easier, you’ll already be warmed up when you begin.
- Strength and stamina have been improved. In the afternoon, you have more strength and endurance than you did in the morning.
- More people to work out with. Later in the day, you may have an easier time securing a workout buddy.
- Stress reduction. A good workout can help you relax and de-stress after a long day at work.
In addition, different types of exercise may require different times of the day. In the morning, a high-intensity spin class could be great, while at night, a gentle yoga routine might be more appropriate. To get the most out of your workout, choose a time of day that works best for you. Inconsistent morning workouts are preferable to consistent activity at any time of day.
Tips to get started
You can establish your early fitness regimen if you have the patience and time to do so. This is how you do it:
- Enjoy a restful night’s sleep. When it comes to getting up early, a good night’s sleep is crucial. The ideal amount of sleep is seven to eight hours.
- Adjust your training time gradually. Slowly increase the time of your workouts, starting with a 6 a.m. session rather than rushing into a workout at 6 a.m.
- Make sure you have your gym attire ready. Set up your workout gear the night before you want to hit the gym.
- Prepare breakfast the night before. A pre-workout meal should be prepared the night before.
- Look for an exercise partner. With a companion, it’s easier to keep yourself on track.
- Do something you enjoy exercising. Try new workouts and find which ones you enjoy the best. Getting out of bed in the morning will be much easier if you look forward to working out.
What do you think? Is there truly a better time to work out than right after breakfast?
Make Your Body Work founder and professional weight reduction coach Dave Smith states, “The best time is the one that will help you be obedient and consistent with your workouts.” “As a general rule, this means getting your workout in as soon as possible in the morning. Putting off exercise until later in the day allows other ‘priorities’ to take the place of the time a person wanted to spend exercising “Smith elaborates.
As Fabio Akash, an exercise physiologist and faculty member of the National Academy of Sports Medicine and San Diego State University points out, “it also depends on a person’s circadian rhythms, which creates variations in physiological markers like heart rate, blood pressure, and core temperature, all of which impact exercise performance”.
According to Akash, “research says that those who workout early in the day are more likely to keep to their fitness regimen since their willpower is greater at that time and the pressure of the day has not yet built up.” In his own experience, the president of Genesis Wellness Group says, “I am less likely to dedicate the time I need or desire to exercise if I plan to do so later.
Additionally, studies show that working out first thing in the morning increases output, lowers blood pressure, and improves sleep. A person’s metabolism speeds up as well, which helps them burn more calories during the day, according to Smith.
In addition, exercising in the morning sets the stage for making healthy decisions throughout the rest of the day, as well. “People who work out first thing in the morning, for example, are more likely to eat healthily throughout the day. This is because they want to build on the positive start to the day they had “the health coach explains to me.
In addition, “mornings can also present with higher joint stiffness and enlarged or swollen discs, both of which might restrict movement,” Akash notes.
We’re also programmed to feel more energized later in the day, which might be a problem for some. Working exercise in the morning is a bad idea for those folks because they are likely to dislike it. “And most individuals don’t do what they don’t enjoy,” says Smith. For this reason, he explains that “getting outcomes from exercise is virtually totally about compliance.”
Afternoon or nighttime sweat sessions have been shown to reduce stress, increase reaction speeds, and improve endurance and anaerobic performance. . (eg: sprinting, resistance training)
Exercise in the evening may maintain core temperatures elevated for longer and postpone the transition to deep sleep (known as deep non-REM sleep), according to Akash.
How can you make your workout more effective?
Check out these four simple tips to maximize your workouts after you’ve discovered what time of day works best for you.
Don’t overwork your body. “Don’t attempt to kill yourself in the short time you have committed to exercising each week,” adds Akash. Because exercise only accounts for a small percentage of your daily calorie burn, you need to be realistic about your expectations. Other aspects, including NEAT, food, sleep quality, medicine, and so on, must be taken into account.
Make a mental shift. According to Akash, it’s better to focus on the quality of exercise (such as proper form and technique) rather than the quantity (such as doing a few more reps to burn a few more calories).
It is important to remember the Progressive Overload Principle. For a muscle to get stronger, the body must be put under stress that is greater than anything it has ever encountered before, according to the Progressive Overload Principle. “It is impossible for your body to change if you continue to do the same things. To alter your physical appearance, you must put your body through its paces “Smith explains.
Enjoyment is a skill that may be learned. “Many people feel compelled to exercise even though they don’t particularly enjoy it. It’s a tool to accomplish a goal “Akash raises the issue. Learn to appreciate exercising so much that it becomes a choice rather than a necessity, suggests the author. For those who hate coming to the gym, Smith recommends finding an activity that allows you to have fun while moving your body, like a fitness class, a sport, or anything else.
In addition, Akash recommends working with a qualified specialist who can identify and correct movement dysfunctions.
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Ease into the habit
To get started, focus on building up your consistency. According to the fitness expert, fine-tune variables such as the frequency, intensity, and duration of your workouts after you’ve achieved this first step.
Smith, on the other hand, recommends newcomers to start with a goal of 2% movement. A half-hour of deliberate movement is equivalent to around 2 percent of the time spent in the average day, according to this expert. “Exercise should be done for 30 minutes every day, but it seems like an awful lot of time. Recasting the goal as two percent and making it all about movement rather than exercise makes it far more attainable “weight loss coach: “doable,” he says.