Have you ever wondered if your own personal best time to exercise really is the best? Even though you can’t stand to rise before 8am, should you bite the bullet and try the sunrise session at the studio? Or are you better off exercising in the evening; after you’ve had a day’s worth of calories and desk-dwelling?
Here are some things to consider when you’re trying to determine your “perfect” workout time slot, and the pros and cons for each time of day:
Early birding it?
One benefit of working out early in the day is that as long as you can get up and dressed, you’re virtually guaranteed to get it done. No meetings or family issues or late lunches to get in the way. No time to talk yourself out of it. Plus, you should take note of a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise that showed that those who exercise in the morning are less likely to be tempted by unhealthy food during the rest of the day. Plus, these same participants did not consume additional food throughout the day to make up for the calories they burned. Pretty impressive, right? If you exercise first thing, you’re also more likely to be more active throughout the day, cashing in on the crack-o-dawn burst of energy you treated yourself to.
Prefer a nooner?
Think about it; you’re required by law to take a lunch break, so why not make that time an unbreakable exercise date with yourself? You’ll be glad you did. Studies have shown that those who exercise midday are likely to perform with better cognitive functioning throughout the rest of their day. You’re also more likely to nip anxiety in the bud, which is a welcome benefit if you’ve got an afternoon meeting or presentation. Plus, isn’t hitting the pavement or the studio a much more attractive and healthier option than hitting the local burger-and-fry joint? And if you spend so much time sitting, do you really want to sit during your lunch break, too?
Have a nighttime niche?
While this option might require the strongest self-motivation out of them all, especially after a long day at work (hmmmm . . . pizza and a movie, or planks and pushups?) there can be great benefits to late-day workouts. For one, you’re likely to face fewer crowds, giving you the time and space you want for a truly fulfilling workout. Also, research shows that nighttime exercisers are able to exercise harder and longer. Plus, muscle function and strength peak in the evening. And afterwards, you could actually – get this – enjoy a leisurely post-exercise shower. Nighttime exercise can also serve as a kick butt stress reducer, which means no more taking it out on your friends and family.
The bottom line is this: the best time to work out is the time that makes the most sense for you, and that you’ll regularly fit into your schedule. We suggest experimenting with different HIIT sessions to find the one that works best for you. Be daring enough to try times that you never thought you’d like – it may just become your new personal BEST time to work out.