As gyms and health clubs become packed in January into February, millions of resolution-seeking folks work to burn off the festive pounds. Losing weight by getting fit is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, but it’s also a tricky one to maintain. So, if you’re struggling to make it to that 6am HIIT class, or you’re tempted to skip the gym after work, it may be because you are not exercising at the right time for your body.
When it comes to exercise we can be divided into two groups—the early birds and the night owls—and not trying to fight that could help you stay motivated. Although there is no right or wrong time to exercise, there IS an ideal time of day when your body and mind are in full working order and you can get the most out of your workout. Here’s a few things to consider when determining when is the best time to workout.
Do you struggle to fall asleep post-workout?
After ten plus years in the health and wellness business, I can say that morning training is likely to be better for you. Sure, some people experience problems with sleep after they’ve trained too close to bed because their adrenalin level is high, their brain is active, and it’s difficult to wind down. So, if your schedule allows, try a morning session and compare your sleep to when you train in the morning. If you only have time to exercise in the evening, just be mindful of your workout. Many people notice differences between cardio and weightlifting. After cardio, they sleep like a rock, whereas after weightlifting they’re too energized to sleep.
Can’t stick to your workout routine?
There are two reasons why morning exercise tackles this issue. First, our willpower is said to be strongest in the morning, and secondly, it stops other things from getting in the way of a workout. After a long day of work, sometimes all you really want to do is go home and settle in. The next evening, you’re out for dinner, and the day after that you end up working late. We all know how those unexpected things can keep coming up, and get in the way of our workout routine. So, by getting your workout in first thing in the morning, you can still enjoy all your social events without having to use them as an excuse. Plus, if you hate queuing for weights or waiting for the treadmill, the gym tends to be less crowded in the earlier hours.
Are you trying to lose weight rather than just staying fit?
While keeping fit and feeling good are many people’s reasons for exercising, weight loss tends to top the list. If that’s you, then it could be wise to get your workouts in early. Morning workouts are said to kickstart your metabolism, so you may burn even more calories during the day. Studies also show that people who exercise in the morning tend to make healthier food choices for the rest of the day.
Do you need to relieve stress?
If you need a mental relief from a long day, or something to free your mind, destressing and taking your frustration out on an evening workout is probably the best choice. It’s much more likely to clear your mind and calm you down than a bottle of wine or comfort food on the couch.
Do you have a hard time fueling for a workout?
Morning exercise might not be for you if your body doesn’t respond well to fasted workouts either. Many people experience dizziness during an early morning session and it usually occurs because they have not fueled their body enough before a workout. Every person is different when it comes to food intake before working out. Therefore, it’s also a fact to consider when scheduling your workout. Consider, can you train on a completely empty stomach? Then morning training shouldn’t be an issue. But if you need some energy in your tank other than a banana or handful of nuts, training in the evening means you can eat at least two hours before your workout to ensure your food is fully digested and already converted into energy.
Written for Cliff Original by Frederick Entenmann, Best-Selling Author, Health & Wellness Consultant, Life Performance Coach for CEOs and Professional Athletes, and Founder of Mind-Body-Life. Frederick is a former professional athlete who is a leader in the fields of corrective, high-performance exercise kinesiology, mind and body holistic health.