What’s the Best Time of Day to Work Out?

Is it better to work out in the morning than later in the afternoon or evening? Get-Fit Guy compares the benefits of working out at different times of day.

Ben Greenfield,
April 20, 2013

What’s the Best Time of Day to Work Out?

Get-Fit Guy listener Sue recently wrote in asking:

“I've heard that working out in the morning is preferable to later in the day, because if you work out in the morning, your metabolism is heightened throughout the day. Is this true?”

Great question Sue! So what is the best time of day to work out?

While it certainly is true that morning exercise can “spark” your metabolism and calorie-burning, it may not be the best time to do high intensity intervals or weight training. Here’s why:

  1. Your body temperature peaks in the afternoon, usually between 2pm and 6pm, which means that you’re going to be able to do hard workouts even harder around this time, resulting in a bigger fitness boosta great thing if your goal is sports performance or cardiovascular capacity. 

  2. Your protein synthesis, or ability to use dietary proteins for muscle repair, also peaks later in the dayin the early evening between 5pm and 7pm. So if you’re finishing up a hard workout around that time of day, you’ll maximize recovery, which means that later afternoons or early evenings are the best times of day for more difficult workouts.

However, when you wake up in the morning, your liver’s carbohydrate stores are relatively empty, and an easy walk, light jog, yoga class, or bout of cardio can help to spark fat burning, so the morning is a good time of day for easy, aerobic “fasted cardio.”

See also: What Are the Health Benefits of Fasting?

I recommend that whenever possible, you do a light, easy bout of physical activity in the morning before breakfast, and then, time permitting, you include on 3-5 additional days of the week a hard, later afternoon or early evening workout with intense cardio and/or weight training.

If you have more questions about the best time of day to workout, then ask them now at Facebook.com/GetFitGuy page.

Remember to join me on Friday, April 19 at 9am PST (that’s 11am Central and 12pm Eastern) for the live launch of the Belly Burn Project with Mighty Mommy!

Morning Joggers photo from Shutterstock.

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