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Best Time for Training? Mornings vs Evenings

Updated: Jan 8


Its a new year and some of us are getting back into the action of exercising more consistently once again. So if you're just starting out and you want some pointers, check out the breakdown on benefits for training either in the morning or at night.


Benefits of Training in the Evenings:

Studies have proven that training at night is best for strength, performance gains and overall physical health in regular and experienced lifters (source). If you're a novice just getting started, the results aren't as clear cut from the study, however here are a few reason's why training at night could be better...

  • Our body temperature is higher later in the day then when we wake up. This reduces the time needed for warm-ups and ensures our muscles won't get injured.

  • Hydration is better later in the day as well. When we sleep our breath emits some water vapor (particularly in a cooler, drier rooms in the winter). So when we wake in the morning we aren't as hydrated as we would be towards the ladder stages of our day.

  • Glycogen storage is better at the end of our day after a few meals as well. We store carbohydrates as fuel (glycogen) for our muscles to use when we train them, so training later in the day will use these stored fuel sources more effectively - improving our strength and endurance outcomes.

  • Finally our body is more connected to our muscle system later in our day. Neuromuscularly speaking, we aren't fully ready to go once we get out of bed in the morning (many of us require a few cups of coffee to even see straight). So training later in the day can improve coordination and reduce compensation.


Benefits of Training in the Morning:

One of the primary benefits of training in the morning, for most of us, is consistency. We are not often obligated to do work, chores, or run errands earlier in the day which could mean we become more physically fit, and in control of our physical goals. Here are a few other reasons training in the morning is good for us...

  • First, if our goal is to improve our aerobic fitness, for running, cycling and the like, there are no studies that prove what time of day is better yet. So we can likely get good benefits training our cardio-aerobic fitness in the morning.

  • Another reason why training in the morning is beneficial for most of us is because it improves our will-power during the day. If we've already done something important earlier in the day then that will improve our mood and can help us make other healthier choices later in our day.

  • Exercise puts us in a good mood, because when we recreate our body releases endorphins which can boost our mindset. So starting your day with a little mood booster could be just what we all need!

  • Finally, exercising in the morning can boost our metabolism - if only for a short while post-exercise (2-3 hours later our metabolism will return to its normal level of caloric expenditure).

Here are some tips on how to improve our morning workout routines to get the same benefits you can get in the afternoon or evening...

  • If we raise our core temperature in the morning, via a longer full body warm-up before our workout we can make sure our muscles are better prepared for physical exercise.

  • Taking a stimulant before our workout in the morning can make sure or mind and body are more alert and connected. Raising the chances that our neuromuscular connectivity is closer to what we might have later in our day - and who doesn't like a coffee or tea in the morning?

  • Choose a similar time to train every morning, our body's are governed by our circadian rhythms, and they will bend a bit to fit our habits. If we can form a consistent rhythm with our morning workouts we could optimize our nervous system to be more prepared for a morning workout routine.

I hope this quick article helps you, check out other articles on this site if you have the time! Thanks for reading!


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