LAST UPDATED: March 12th, 2021
The fast pace of life and daily obligations don’t let us exercise at the same time every day.
Most of us can work out in the evening, but a morning workout has many benefits.
What time of day is the best for working out?
It depends on many factors, but first, it depends on the goal you want to achieve. (1)
So, let’s see the pros and cons of exercising at different times of the day.
What is the best time to exercise:
Morning workout: Best for weight loss
When is the best time to exercise to lose weight?
The morning workout is what experts recommend since your metabolism is faster in the morning. (2)
Let’s say you go to bed at 11 pm and you get 7 hours of sleep.
Your body will be rested and full of energy.
The first thing you should do after waking up is to eat a good healthy breakfast, but don’t exaggerate.
Your metabolism will start working and your body will get more energy for a morning workout.
Your body is even 20% less flexible in the morning compared to later during the day since your tendons and muscles are cold and not warmed-up after sleeping.
That’s why if you exercise in the morning you need to warm-up a bit longer to avoid injuries.
In my opinion, if you want to lose weight the best time for exercise is before breakfast. (3)
Your body will use the sugars and carbs fast in the morning so it will start burning fat layers.
What if you can’t exercise hungry?
In that case, eat some snacks before breakfast like yogurt, a few almonds, fruit, or one slice of bread.
You should eat a healthy breakfast after exercising.
I sometimes work out in the morning and trust me, a morning workout improves your mood and it boosts your energy.
- You will boost your metabolism
- You will improve your mood
- If you are not a morning person then this period definitely isn’t for you.
Afternoon workout: Best for muscle mass
When it comes to afternoon exercising the perfect time is 4-7 pm.
Your body is rested and warmed-up then so you can start working out faster.
The higher body temperature at this time decreases your heartbeat.
Of course, you shouldn’t skip the warming-up part.
This is a good time of day for exercising if you are prone to injuries and muscle inflammation since your body is best prepared in the afternoon and it’s harder to hurt your muscles or sprain your ankles. (4)
I usually work out at 4-6 pm.
- You will have more endurance
- You will increase muscle mass faster
- Someone doesn’t like exercising after lunch
Evening workout: Best for strength and muscle definition
Your body is in a totally different biological condition in the afternoon and in the evening compared to in the morning.
That’s the time when most people’s bodies are most efficient.
The best athletic performances and world records are usually set late in the afternoon or in the evening.
Exercising in the evening is best if you want to build muscles and strengthen your body because your muscles are warmed-up during the day and certain hormones necessary for strengthening are at the highest level at that time of day. (5)
Weightlifting in the evening is for building muscles due to the levels of testosterone and cortisol.
Cortisol is a hormone that regulates the blood sugar level among other and it breaks down muscles.
And testosterone does the opposite of cortisol, it builds and increases muscle mass which covers the anabolic processes.
The level of cortisol is higher in the morning and lower in the evening.
The level of testosterone is also higher in the morning (Guys can notice that)
But, the level of testosterone is higher than the level of cortisol in the evening and the anabolic condition is stronger which is better for building muscles.
Furthermore, the effect of exercising is best in the evening since your muscles are supplied with oxygen then and the workout is easier.
If your goal is muscle definition and strength then this is the right time for you.
Evening workout can also regulate the amount of food you eat for dinner, and besides, it’s a great way to relieve stress.
One negative side of working out in the evening is that it can disturb your sleep, so you should finish your workout 1-3 hours before going to bed.
When I work out in the evening I usually do that at 7-9 pm.
And the gym is overcrowded at that time so it can be a downside as well.
Your muscles are warmed-up in the evening, but your body isn’t ready for a hard workout, it’s ready for a strength workout.
Walking before sleeping can help you fall asleep more easily and sleep better.
- You will be warmed-up for a hard workout
- You will increase strength
- You should finish 1-3 hours before your bedtime
- The gym is usually overcrowded in this period.
So, what is the best time to exercise?
To answer the question in the title:
The correct answer to this question is to work out at the time when you feel good; you have more will and energy to successfully finish your workout.
Therefore, it’s an individual thing when it’s the best time to exercise; some people enjoy working out in the morning, whereas some find it great to do that in the evening.
Every workout has its advantages and disadvantages.
The worst you can do is NOT to exercise.
So, pick the time you like, don’t try to find excuses because you can have a good workout at any time of the day.
The only bad workout is the one that never happens.
If you want to maximize your gym efforts, read more about the best supplements to use:
My name is Cliff and I am a personal coach, sports lover, fitness enthusiast and author of MusclesMagician. I have 15+ years of experience in fitness and bodybuilding and I want to share it with you. I am here to help you build muscles and lose fat faster.