It’s a debate that’s been raging for years – early morning gym larks vs. late night gym owls. Who’s doing it right? Is one better than the other?
Is it better for us to get up at the crack of dawn and hit the gym before a long day at work, or should we relive the stress of that long day at the gym in the evening?
The truth? The best workout for you, is the one that you’ll actually do. Science and opinion aside, the most important thing you can do is make exercising a part of your weekly routine – and if you struggle getting out of bed and love to hit snooze on your alarm, then it’s unlikely that a 6am workout is going to stick for you in the long run. Alternatively, if you are naturally an early riser and prefer to spend your evenings binging on Netflix, then a 9pm weights session probably isn’t the best option for you.
There are three questions you should ask yourself:
- When can you actually get to the gym?
- When are you most likely to enjoy it?
- When does exercise make you feel your best?
Ultimately, the key comes in finding a balance; training and eating in the way that makes you happiest is what’s most likely to stick. But, if you’re looking for some scientific facts to back up your decision, check out the following…
Morning workout: Testosterone – which fuels energy and muscle gain – is highest in the morning
Evening workout: Cortisol – which can eat away at muscle – rises in the morning, but normalises in the evening
Morning workout: Studies have shown that those who train in the morning find it easier to power down at night than those who exercise in the evening
Evening workout: The same study found that training in the evening can raise your body temperature (almost as much as a warm bath!), which helps promote sound sleep
Morning workout: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson works out at 4.30am
Evening workout: Sports records are almost exclusively broken after the sun has gone down – yep, I’m look at you Usain Bolt.
Morning workout: Extra energy, increased metabolism
Evening workout: Longer lie-in, stress relief
Ultimately, the decision is yours! There are pros and cons for both, but the best time for you to exercise comes down to whatever you can commit to. Research suggests that it takes 21 days to form a habit, so as long as you hit the gym at a time that works for you, you can’t go wrong!