Trying to decide what time to book your next workout class?
Health experts have long debated when you should schedule your next workout, whether it be in the morning or evening. Many studies have mixed findings relying on different factors and desired results, but there is an overall optimal time to work out.
The general consensus amongst fitness professionals is that working out in the morning is the best time for most people to get moving.
But that may not be the case since all bodies are different.
”The right timing seems to be important to the body’s energy balance and to improving the health benefits of exercise,” Karolinska Institutet professor Juleen R. Zierath, said in a statement.
That means the time of your most efficient workout varies depending on several factors.
Elle Wermuth, a Barry’s instructor based in NYC, encourages everyone to pick “times to workout where you’ll feel the most motivated.”
“Make sure you’re moving your body during the times where you feel most energized and prioritize this,” she told The Post.
Exercising at different times of the day can affect the body in different ways, as nearly all cells in the body and their biological processes rely on circadian rhythms — the natural bodily clock that runs close to a 24-hour cycle.
A study found that exercising in the morning on an empty stomach can boost your metabolic rate and help you burn more calories during your workout.
”Late morning exercise could be more effective than late evening exercise in terms of boosting the metabolism and the burning of fat, and if this is the case, they could prove of value to people who are overweight,” Zierath said.
To be more exact, moderate to vigorous exercise between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. is the most opportune time for losing weight, according to another study.
Findings showed that those who worked out early in the morning had a lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference than the other groups — even though this group was the most sedentary of the three.
Beyond the possible physical benefits, an early morning workout can help you to move on with your day.
“You’ve gotten it out of the way and you’ve got the whole day ahead of you and you can check that off your list,” Dr. Jack Raglin exercise psychologist and professor at Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, told the “Today Show” regarding early workouts.
But some people simply don’t spring out of bed as the sun rises.
“Evening people start out more slowly in the morning; their mood or energy levels may not be comparable to a morning person’s so the whole idea of having to get up and rev it up right away is difficult,” Raglin noted.
But early birds and night owls aren’t the only ones to have different workout patterns and results. Men and women have also been found to respond to workout times differently.
A study found that morning workouts work best for women who want to lower blood pressure or reduce belly fat while evening workouts are best for women striving for upper-body muscle gains, endurance or overall mood improvement.
Meanwhile, the results were somewhat reversed for men. Exercising in the morning helped men burn more fat, but evening workouts were better for men whose aim is to lower blood pressure, the risk of heart disease and feelings of fatigue.
Despite the science, fitness experts agree that the most important factor in scheduling your workout is finding a time that works for you.
If you want to see results, consistency is key.
“Set yourself up for success by being realistic with life’s demands,” Mike Moreno, a certified personal trainer and fitness manager at Chuze Fitness Arizona, told Real Simple.
“Chances are, if you are simply consistent, you will experience the many benefits of health and fitness. The quality and consistency of your workout journey are most important.”
In fact, researchers from the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University discovered that people who set the same time of day for their workouts spent notably more time working out per week than people who set random times of day for exercise.
However, the most important thing is just to get your body moving.
“There’s no right or wrong when it comes to the time of working out,” Wermuth insisted, “as long as you are doing what works best for you.”