THE DIFFERENCE isn’t exactly like night and day when it comes to evaluating the best time to exercise for maximum gains. But first congratulations are in order if you ever get this far. Committing to a life-changing fitness habit, after all, certainly deserves huge props any time of the day.
But if you really have to pin down the perfect time for your sweat sessions, trainers are hardly of two minds coming up with the most ideal answer.
“For all practical reasons, there is almost no difference working out in the morning, afternoon, or at night, as long as you’re able to do the same exercises and training programs,” says strength and conditioning coach Julio Veloso noted that
Raymond Santos, strength and conditioning coach of fitnessmobil.net, agrees. “Any time is truly an excellent time to train. It’s all about when you can fit exercise in.”
Chappy Callanta, strength and conditioning coach of Alab Pilipinas, also explains that workout time does not matter at all as long as you get the work done. “Find the time that best suits you. When you can make sure that there is a high level of compliance, and be consistent.”
Now that this minor concern has been hashed out, you’ll be delighted to know that working out either in the morning or at night offers unique benefits that’ll get your fitness journey off to a flying start.
We’re happy to break them down for you here.
Early Riser’s Perks
You have more energy for a more intense workout. Testosterone levels are usually at its peak in the morning, scientists attest. That means more energy for your body and muscles to handle the rigors of your daily morning grind. Because of the added energy fueling your system and enabling you to go beast mode, doing strengthening exercises in the morning assures you of surefire gains.
You have increased metabolism. Morning workouts are known for boosting your metabolism. Since your body is active early, you have more calories to burn throughout the day.
You're motivated for the whole day. Because of your morning routine, chances are high you’ll stay motivated throughout the day. Thanks to your efforts, your body can take advantage of the many feel-good benefits of serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine, which will keep you active and in a great mood the rest of the way.
Veloso also says that the best exercises done in the morning are outdoor workouts because the temperature is ambient and there is a natural source of light.
Adds Callanta, “Cardio session is the best morning routine because of the extra fat-burning potential that we have.”
Evening fitness buffs’ bounty
You can build muscles faster. Whenever you exercise, your body releases the hormone cortisol in response to the stress brought about by the intensity of your routine. Though it’s at its highest in the morning, the level of cortisol in the body decreases at night, giving your muscles the chance to develop.
You can look forward to a stress-free end to your day. There is no better way to release your daily stress than having a sweat session at night. Anxiety and random frustrations build up as your day progresses and working out is probably the smartest and most efficient way to release bad vibes. Moreover, as your day is almost over, exercising during the evening is not constrained by time.
Your sleep quality will improve. The energy you consume sweating it out in the evening guarantees you’ll get solid sleep at night. A hot bath after working out ensures you’ll sleep longer. But before you do all that, Callanta suggests you always end your nighttime workout routine with proper breathing technique.
“Lie down on your back with your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your stomach. Take a deep inhale and as you do, make sure that your belly and chest rise. As you exhale, push your belly to your spine. Inhale for two seconds and exhale for two-four seconds. Repeat for a total of 10-15 breaths. Do this before you shower,” he instructs.
Veloso also shares that low-intensity exercises such as yoga, stretching, pilates, self-massage, etc. are workouts best done at night.
“Any exercise done at night is better than no exercise at all for the whole day,” he says. “The key is to find a schedule that works for you and is sustainable for the foreseeable future.”