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July 20, 2011

What is the Best Time of Day to Exercise?

By Mark Sisson
136 Comments

Many people, myself included, prefer streamlining fitness to obsessing over its minutiae. Although I’m no fan of their footwear, Nike’s “Just Do It” really does capture my view of what exercise should be. Find what you like doing and what works for you, and simply go do it. But not everyone is that way. Tons of people truly enjoy the nitty gritty details. They like the research, the nutrient timing, the supplementation. They’re the ones discussing the respective differences between sumo deadlifts, regular deadlifts, and Romanian deadlifts. They’re the ones who want to wring out every last drop of performance.

I get that. I used to be like that, too, but now I take more of an academic interest. That’s not to say I don’t pay attention to what I’m doing, because while I like to think I’m just going with the flow and doing what I enjoy, I also like knowing that what I’m doing is effective. Basically, I don’t like wasting time. Plus, many readers fall into the latter category of those who want the details.

Today, I’m going to look at the effect (if there is one) of workout timing. Should you lift in the morning upon waking, or at night? Are the effects of morning exercise different than the effects of afternoon exercise? Does working out right before bed disrupt sleep or improve it? Let’s explore these and other questions as we decide which is the best time of day to work out – if such a thing definitively exists at all.

I’ll go down the line and examine the effect of diurnal variation on various aspects of exercise. Let’s dig in.

Performance

If you’re interested in performance, some evidence seems to point toward the afternoon and early evening as the best time to exercise. In one recent study, ten and eleven year old boys performed better in the afternoon than in the morning. Grip strength improved 5.9%, squat jump performance increased 3.5%, the “5 jump” test improved 5%, and performance increased 5.5% (peak) and 6% (mean) during the Wingate test (which measures peak anaerobic output) from morning to afternoon. They also tested the boys in mid afternoon (2:00 PM) and early evening (6:00 PM), but found no difference in performance. This study found a similar result in morning and afternoon PE students using the Wingate test, but the authors suggest that longer warmups during morning sessions could mitigate the performance deficit. So, morning workouts require longer warmups? I can buy that.

Sprinting? Try afternoons for maximal power, but don’t think you’ll have any extra stamina. This study found that maximal power was highest during the first three sprints (of ten total) in the afternoon when compared to morning sprints. Fatiguability was no greater, though.

Another cycling study found that afternoon power output was greater than morning power output in trained cyclists. Fatigue was not affected by time of day, however.

Another study compared the knee extensor strength (via the mighty half squat!) of two groups of trainees. The first group had spent 10 weeks training in the morning, while the second group had spent 10 weeks training in the evening. Both groups improved over baseline, but the evening trainees enjoyed greater strength gains.

I wouldn’t assume that all exercise is better in the afternoon, however. The authors of this study suggest that submaximal exercise – like jogging, walking, hiking, or anything that relies on stamina and little else, really – is not negatively impacted by diurnal variation, which makes sense in light of the previous studies showing that while maximal power decreases in the morning, stamina does not.

Takeaway: Raw power and performance in weight lifting, cycling, and sprinting is highest in the afternoon and evening. Stamina does not increase or decrease, however, and the changes in performance may be mitigated by more extensive warmups. If you’re a high level athlete or really interested in how you perform, afternoons and evenings are best. If you’re just trying to get and/or stay fit, strong, and healthy, morning workouts are just fine.

Hormonal Effects

How does timing change how a workout affects your hormonal profile?

One study found that lifting heavy things in the evening, as opposed to the morning, resulted in a more anabolic (strength and size-building) testosterone/cortisol ratio. Baseline cortisol values were lower in the evening (which is normal) and higher in the morning (also normal; cortisol is necessary for morning wakefulness), which probably explains why evening training worked better. If you’re starting with already elevated cortisol, some intense training is only going to spike it even more. If you’re starting with moderate cortisol, intense training won’t have as negative an effect and your testosterone levels will likely be sufficient to counteract the rising cortisol.

Not all research is so clear-cut, though. In a study on muscular hypertrophy (growth), both morning and afternoon weight-training worked equally well at growing muscles and increasing maximal strength. There was a slight, but statistically insignificant advantage to training at night.

Takeaway: Don’t hop directly under the bar in your pajamas with bleary eyes. Take the time to wake up and relax before working out. That might mean pushing your morning CrossFit class to an afternoon session, or at least a late morning one. We know that cortisol is normally elevated in the mornings, and exercise increases cortisol, so be aware of how the two interact.

Health

How does diurnal variation affect the general health benefits of exercise? Obviously, if you can perform better and reap bigger strength gains in the afternoon, you’ll probably gain more lean mass and lose more fat, but what does the research show?

There are mixed results. Post-menopausal women were split up into two groups in a recent walking study. One would walk in the morning, while the other would walk in the evening. At the end of the study, evening walkers had lower fat mass despite eating larger breakfasts. Both groups improved their aerobic fitness, but the evening walkers did better overall.

Recently, much has been made of the neuroprotective effects of exercise. In other words, the pursuit of brawn appears to lead to brain, too. A recent study found that the neuroprotective effects of aerobic exercise were modulated by its timing. Rats ran for 20 minutes on a rat wheel, either early in the morning or in the afternoon, after which their HAT/HDAC ratios were measured. HAT are histone acetyltransferases, and HDAC are histone deacetylases. The HAT/HDAC ratio indicates how much acetylation is occuring. Higher ratios indicate more histone acetylation and greater neuroprotection, while lower ratios indicate less neuroprotection. So, high is good, low is bad. Both exercise protocols increased the ratio, but the afternoon session increased it more than the early morning session.

But the time of day doesn’t always matter. Check out this study, in which morning and afternoon treadmill sessions were tested for their respective effects on blood fluidity post exercise: blood fluidity improved across the board, regardless of when the exercise was performed. Another study found that resistance training (3 sets of 7 reps at 80% of one rep max) improved platelet function, irrespective of time of day. Morning and afternoon sessions were equally beneficial.

Takeaway: Evening/afternoon sessions seem to be somewhat more protective and beneficial, but morning sessions are also helpful – just less so. And there are other parameters on which diurnal variation has no effect, so it’s not a clear cut answer either way. Let’s put it this way – both are good.

Sleep

Everyone can agree that exercise in general improves the quality and incidence of sleep. Simply put, if you’re on a regular exercise regimen, you’ll probably sleep better, deeper, and easier. But what about working out right before bed? Will the cortisol spike and keep you awake? Will the increased heart rate keep you from settling down? Let’s find out and look at some studies.

Here’s one that found a 5:00 pm 30-minute session of moderate exercise improved sleep in elderly patients who normally had trouble falling asleep. They fell asleep faster and enjoyed greater satisfaction with the quality of their sleep. Another, using underwater exercise in untrained subjects, found that late afternoon (4:30 pm) exercise had no effect on sleep. Even late night, “vigorous exercise” may not negatively impact your sleep, as a study in trained cyclists showed. The subjects were able to get to sleep 30 minutes after three hours of cycling at 65-75% of their max heart rate without issue.

Takeaway: Unless you personally find that late night exercise negatively impacts your sleep, don’t worry about exercising at night.

Sustainability

We’re all individuals here, but there may be patterns of workout consistency that correlate with the timing of workouts. Do morning exercisers work out more consistently than afternoon or evening exercisers?

One study found that people who exercised in the mornings were more likely to exercise in general, while people who said they exercised at night or in the afternoon were less active overall. I wouldn’t read too much into this, and I think a likely explanation is that people who are willing to wake up early to work out are more likely to stick with something – like a workout regimen. Early risers are generally more consistent, I think most people would agree, and this research bears that out.

Takeaway: Epidemiology is nothing to hang your hat on. Correlations may indicate something about populations, but if you, yourself, find you exercise better at a particular time of day, they are almost useless.

As for me, I like late morning workouts, but that’s just because late morning works best for me and my schedule. I’m not trying to optimize my hormonal responses, boost my metabolism, or maximize my workout grip strength. I’m just working regular exercise into my daily routine, when and where it fits.

You can read the research and follow the links, but ultimately, the best time of day to exercise is the time of day that works for you. If you’re dead tired after work, perhaps a morning session is the answer. If late night workouts keep you buzzed and awake, move them back an hour and go from there. Also, as the context of your life changes, you’ll have to mix up your workout schedule on the fly. Get a bad night’s sleep? Your cortisol is raging, and a late afternoon workout is probably better than an early morning one.

When do you workout? Does it work for you? Thanks for reading, and be sure to let us all know about your workout schedule!

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126 Comments on "What is the Best Time of Day to Exercise?"

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Daria
Daria
5 years 4 months ago

I’d think getting workouts done first thing in the morning is ideal because if you wait until afternoon/evening there are likely to be more excuses or distractions that come up during the day that cause you to miss the evening workout.

I used to be too tired by the end of the day to ever workout, but going Primal helped me with that and I’ve been pretty consistent. I’d like to be one of the morning workout people because the gym is less crowded, but I can’t seem to drag myself out of bed that early.

Obey the Badger
Obey the Badger
5 years 4 months ago

Totally agreed!

I found I make more excuses if I wait until the afternoon, and not even good ones (i.e. “my stomach is upset”, “I’ve got a headache”, and of course, “damn, I’m tired!”)

ioelus
ioelus
5 years 4 months ago
I love how timely some of Mark’s posts are. Worked out this morning for the first time in … ever, I think. Felt horrible doing it; felt great when I was finished. I was surprised to find that, after changing the way I worked out (fewer times per week), I practically CRAVE working out. It’s something to look forward to. I find myself making time for it. During the school year, with two little ones now, I don’t normally get time to myself until 9:00 PM or later, and I work out outside, so this past winter was fun. Not… Read more »
Bree
Bree
3 years 2 months ago

I agree with you. The other good thing about morning work outs is it starts your day off with something productive. Anytime I start my day off doing something good I do a lot more than days when I don’t. When I don’t start my day off doing something productive I tend to make excuses like in your example. PS, I love your avatar. A lot. 🙂

Mike
Mike
5 years 4 months ago

not only that but morning workouts make me feel better during the day. I just feel more energized and fresh.

Karen
Karen
5 years 4 months ago

I totally agree! That’s why mornings work for me; there is ALWAYS something happening in the afternoons and evenings to keep me from it.

King of Random Things
5 years 4 months ago

I find that if I can just pick one of the 5 Primal exercises a day and do a set once an awhile throughout the day, never to failure, I can reach my goal of total reps for the day, whatever it is, 250 pushup, 100 chin ups, it gets done and I get to feel good about it. Works for me and that is what it’s all about. Walk the dog for an hour most evenings, we both sleep better. Get Vet visits, “nothing but muscle and bone is his report and healthy as a horse.”

pam
pam
5 years 4 months ago

sorry, i just hate moving in mornings.
how some people can do that is beyond my comprehension. i’m so lethargic in morning. haha.

Kim
Kim
2 years 6 months ago

I have an incrediably stressful job, after work I am fried and exhausted. I stick to AM exercise, sometimes as early as 5a. Ideally I perform better running at 7a, but there isn’t always time for that.

Graham
5 years 4 months ago

The last part of this is brilliant. “Get a bad night’s sleep? Your cortisol is raging, and a late afternoon workout is probably better than an early morning one.” I completely agree. If I’m stressed (finishing grad school…) and don’t sleep well, early morning workouts destroy my day. If I wait until the afternoon, its great! If I DO sleep well, nothing gets me pumped up like a morning session. I gotta make the call on the fly, and not everyone can do that, but hey – being a student sometimes has its advantages!

Shema
Shema
5 years 4 months ago

Sorry to diverge, but this question is somewhat related. If I’m going to “treat” myself to something a bit higher in carbs, is it better to workout AFTER or BEFORE ingesting those carbs? I’ve heard conflicting things…

Primal Toad
5 years 4 months ago

I’ve heard that some carbs pre workout can boost yourperformance. Just a little such as a half piece of fruit. It makes sense to me. You have some extra energy.

Then you want to eat most of your carbs post workout. So you might eat 10 about 15-30 minutes prior to a workout but then you may eat 50 or more after your workout depending on what your goals are.

Does this make sense?

Shema
Shema
5 years 4 months ago

This is great info – thanks guys!

Hal
5 years 4 months ago

From what I understand, higher carbohydrate intake is more useful AFTER a workout (between 15 and 30 minutes). Your body is ready and eager to replace stored energy, and so you should be happy to give it some. Not too much, of course, and make sure it’s a good source (fruit or starchy veg, as opposed to grains or processed sugars).

Kim
Kim
2 years 6 months ago

Women need a recovery meal within 30min, men 60 min. Don’t forget leafy greens and water, they are huge in recovery and often forgotten about as post recovery.

Cecilia
5 years 4 months ago

Dr Mercola has interesting information on post workout meals

Mike
Mike
5 years 4 months ago

I believe carb intake PWO would be better at least from what i’ve heard. It stimulates protein synthesis. Fat intake will do that same but it will take longer.

Why this is important im not sure. Why should it matter if one methods takes less time than the other. Isnt it accomplishing the same thing at the end of the day?

Jen
Jen
5 years 4 months ago
I have tried every time of day, and honestly, morning is the worst for me. I’m not a morning person, I hate eating in the morning, I hate working out in the morning. I always feel sick when I do either of these things in the early AM right after I wake up. 10:30 or 11 is a great time for me, I’m awake and have more energy, and can eat a great lunch right after. If I can’t do it at that time for some reason, 2 pm is also an optimal time for me. I am a stay… Read more »
Primal Toad
5 years 4 months ago
I used to workout first thing in the morning every day. I then started to change it up a bit and workout prior to lunch, then prior to dinner and then just whenever. Ive begun to like the randomness. I will sometimes workout in the morning within an hour of waking up, sometimes I’ll workout pre lunch, pre dinner, etc. I always used to be in high fasted state since I worked out in the morning after sleeping. Now it does not matter. I tend to do best with a little fuel. Most of the time I will have gone… Read more »
Amy
Amy
5 years 4 months ago
I’m a flip-flopper. My workout patterns fluctuate based on what I’m dealing with in life at any given time. When life is relatively “low-emotional impact” I’m more organized and structured. But when I’m wrestling with stuff emotionally, everything’s all over and I have to roll with the punches to make stuff happen. In my organized zone, I LOVE working out in the morning. I’ll get up at 4:30am, have a snack and give myself about an hr to fully wake up before CrossFitting. 3-5 days a week. And boy, do those endorphines make me feel soooooo good all the way… Read more »
Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 4 months ago
I wish I could walk through the forest 5 -6 hours a day. This would make me extremely happy. Being on my legs, hiking up hill, climbing over rocks is my preferred exercise…and I don’t care what time of the day it happens. I like to lift heavy things here and there but working in a large garden, plowing the earth over and digging holes by hand is a LOT more satisfying than spending time in the freakin’ gym. I regret signing up for a gym membership for 1 year, thinking lifting heavy things and ‘working’ out would be beneficial… Read more »
Dan
Dan
5 years 4 months ago

I find for the gym you’ve got to have goals, and a program to get you to them (or at the very least a program.. and a program that makes you feel good afterwards… and there is a lot of variation) then you have something to focus on, and trust me once you have that your not bored, theres plenty to think about and focus on.

Hal
5 years 4 months ago

I work out in the early evening – mostly out of convenience. But I also wonder if working out in the evening helps with getting your body limbered up. After all, you’re moving throughout the day, as opposed to lying still for a long tract of time. It kind of makes sense logically that your limbs may have loosened up.

Dave
Dave
5 years 4 months ago

“but ultimately, the best time of day to exercise is the time of day that works for you.”

That is really the bottom line for me!
I am up here in the land of 24hr Sun right now and soon it will be back to darkness… so working out when I feel good.. paying attention to my “chi” has always worked for me.

Eric Schmitz
5 years 4 months ago
I’m also in the “do what works best for you” camp. I’ve been a strong proponent of the idea that the best possible exercise program a person can be on is the one that they will stick with. And there is no better motivator to sticking with it than results. So you get into a really nice positive feedback loop. I’ve been doing Slow Burn since last August, I have stuck with it very consistently (with a few exceptions here and there), and the results have been so awesome that I keep going back, even look forward to the workout.… Read more »
Ashley North
Ashley North
5 years 4 months ago

I like to workout first thing in the morning before breakfast. It wakes me up, gets me energized, and sets the tone for my day. I also don’t have to worry about showering/changing/doing my hair all over again later on. Working out at night (8 or later) almost always guarantees a bad night of sleep for me.
I was actually surprised that the afternoon/evening came out slightly on top according to most of those studies. But you are absolutely right, Mark, JUST DO IT! No sense in fussing over the clock.

Beth
Beth
5 years 4 months ago
Interesting post–slightly bummed to see that for the most part, benefits are slightly greater in the afternoon, as I absolutely need to work out in the AMs or it simply doesn’t happen. I guess I have to live w/the fact that a slightly less beneficial workout that I actually DO is way better than a more ideal one that I end up scratching 5 times out of 7 b/c I am tired, busy, etc. Besides, I have to think that the peace, quiet and beauty an early AM run, walk or bike ride provides its own kind of mental/spiritual benefits,… Read more »
The Real Food Mama
5 years 4 months ago

I really can’t do much activity in the evenings, a small after dinner walk usually is nice, but more than that and I am all energetic and can’t settle down enough to go to sleep!

Morning usually doesn’t allow much time, due to the whole getting kids up and ready for the day!!

I sorta let my activity really be the PLAY that goes with my day! Picking up kids, walking the stairs a million times a day, playing tag outside….it all goes with the territory of being a Stay at Home Mom! PLAY PLAY PLAY!! Throughout the day!

Mary Hone
5 years 4 months ago

I have always been a morning exerciser. I like to get it done and move on with my day. I will schedule appointments for afternoon so it doesn’t conflict with my workout time. I walk or ride my bike outside, so it’s cooler too. I do like an evening walk in the summer though.

Anne
5 years 4 months ago

With a heat index of 120 this week, I’ve been exercising before the first crack of dawn (when the heat index is only 85!)

Otherwise, I love the early evening because I always seem to have more pep for workouts at that time. I avoid the 3:30 slump–that’s never been a good time for me, not since the days of middle school track practice!

Amy
Amy
5 years 4 months ago

oooh yeah. 3:30 slump. this got me EVERY time in college when i was playing ultimate 20+hrs/wk. practice was at 4. and i was invariably confronted with the 3:30 nap-attack that would have me soooo groggy for practice.

Laura
Laura
5 years 4 months ago
I’d say the best workout is whenever you get one! I used to be a first-thing gym-goer, I loved getting my blood moving around. It was great to start my day feeling like I’ve already accomplished something useful. And there’s no way in a million years I would ever go to the gym after work!!! My husband lifts after work, and he finds that he feels really drained. He always feels stronger on vacations/weekends. Now I don’t get to go to the gym because I feed breakfast at the horsebarn before work instead. Knowing the horsies are hungry is a… Read more »
Kishore
Kishore
5 years 4 months ago

Doesn’t a high morning cortisol equate to better workout drive in the mornings?
Just like how your body takes about 3-4 weeks to switch from carb fuel to fat fuel, I wonder if you give it enough time the performance might even out.

Obey the Badger
Obey the Badger
5 years 4 months ago
I was wondering the same thing. I typically get up early enough to digest something light, drink some water to hydrate, maybe have a cup of black tea, then head to the box to workout. I’m usually up at 4:00 AM and I’m at the gym around 5:30 to start warming up. I would think this would be enough time to at least wake up and keep the cortisol levels at bay… but then again, I’m no expert. I wonder if there’s research on those who workout immediately after they wake up, and those who wait an hour or two… Read more »
Tony
5 years 4 months ago
I think the bottom line, as Mark say, is stick with what works in your schedule. Personally I prefer early to late afternoon. I play competitive tennis and the thought of playing early isn’t appealing. Possibly because I am not a morning person, but maybe because it is a power sport and the research Mark cites shows peak power to be lower in the morning. Also the mental concentration required is a factor for me. I do go into the odd 10-km race which are invariably in the morning but running is somewhat “mindless” and I can handle it. I… Read more »
Austin
Austin
5 years 4 months ago

My favorite exercise by far is playing golf. I walk 18 holes every day which is basically walking 6-7 miles while playing a game.

Carla
5 years 4 months ago

I always loved working out in the mornings because that was when I had the most energy and I found it easier to be consistent. But now after going back to work several months ago, I have had to switch to late afternoon or evening workouts and it took months to get used to it! I also find it’s harder to get up and go after a long day. On weekends I still like to exercise in the mornings.

emily
emily
5 years 4 months ago

How are you all working out in this horrible heat? I would go to my local pool to swim, which is my go-to workout in the summer, but it’s packed with folks, so I can’t really swim, it’s more like stand around in warm water.

WildGrok
WildGrok
5 years 4 months ago

I prefer exercise in the morning: you have the rest the day to recover and have more time to play or be with your family in the evening. Also if you missed your workout you have the rest of the day to include it (in which case I prefer noon).
In my case I recognize an advantage to workout in the evening: it is much better for flexibility (yoga, stretches).

Bill
5 years 4 months ago

Nice, Austin. You getting better from playing so much?
People underestimate how golf mimics a primal hunt. I am an instructor and let every student know about that.

Brandon
Brandon
5 years 4 months ago

What about the CW argument that working out in the morning on an empty stomach burns more fat than working out later in the day after you have ingested carbs? Would this apply equally to someone who is Primal? My thinking would be no….

Barb
Barb
5 years 4 months ago

I was wondering the same thing…

Angelo
Angelo
5 years 4 months ago

I’m notoriously sucky at mornings (except when somebody ‘sleeps over’ though), but I’ve tried to keep exercise early in the day to be sure to do it before eating. This got me to skip workouts too much though 😉 How does eating and exercise mix then? Working out just after a meal never works, and I always thought the order was primally logical (Grok would have to chase and kill before he could eat, right?)

kepo
kepo
5 years 4 months ago

The best time for me in on my lunch break around noon. I find that I can maximize my sleep squeezing in every moment before I have to go to work. and when I get off work I want to spend time with my wife and pets.

lisa
lisa
5 years 4 months ago
Personally, even though its almost impossible for me lately, AM before breakfast has always given me the best results, and puts me in a “powerful cheerful” mood for the day. Lately I’ve been going when I can. During the week, that is usually after 5. Horrible workout, no desire to even be working out after living a whole hectic day. It doesn’t make it too much easier to “just do it” – in about three months, have not seen any improvements, clothes don’t fit much better, and I miss how after just a couple of weeks of crazy morning cardio… Read more »
Pamela
Pamela
5 years 4 months ago
I used to get up early to workout but that did not last long due to distractions that kept me up late. Plus, I’m not a morning person during the week. Recently I started biking to the train station four miles from my house to get a morning workout in before work. Then in the evening I bike home, rest for a few minutes (ride home is much harder because it’s on an incline and I’m over weight) chat with the kids, and either do 20 minutes of KB, body weight exercises, WOW or yoga, free weights or nothing at… Read more »
Sugarbaby
5 years 4 months ago

Glad to read that evening walking was good for menopausal women . I used to walk early all the time, but like walking later these days.

Miss Brooklyn
Miss Brooklyn
5 years 4 months ago

Even if hormonal response yada yada yada really mattered, I don’t have enough spare time in my schedule to plan around it. I have time in the morning, so I work out in the morning.

rosalie
5 years 4 months ago

I have read that people who work out in the morning are more consistant in maintaining regular workouts – that is number 1 in my books!!

Bill
5 years 4 months ago

But, apparently, if you do happen to eat carbs, the Glut-4 receptors are opened up and they won’t be turned into bodyfat.

Abby Bologa
Abby Bologa
5 years 4 months ago
I get this. I’m a matter of a fact kind of girl and though most of the stats are terms for young lads this easily translates to the ladies as. It would make sense if performance is up during the after. Simply because I’m more awake. I think first in foremost it’s attitude. If you believe you are going to do better in the afternoon than you will. If it’s in the morn then you will too. That’s a belief system. Strengthen the belief and I think everything else follows. And you gain more energy and vitality. Like they say… Read more »
Mark D. Holloman
Mark D. Holloman
5 years 4 months ago

Hello everyone,
I know this sounds childishly simple but I’ve found that the best time to workout is whenever I’m feeling highly motivated.This is not to say that I don’t have a daily workout program, but we all get to that point where we get a little bogged down with hitting the gym.But then there are times in the early mornings when I cannot sleep and I’m feeling a surge of energy. That is the perfect time when I will get in there and crush my workout. Or go for a latenight walk or bike ride.

Leida
Leida
5 years 4 months ago
I workout the best first thing in the morning and at lunch. I am one of those people who wakes up 5 min before the alarm goes off at 4 am, bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to go. Definetly not after 2 pm. At best I can do a walk or a leaisurly swim after work between 4 and 5 pm. I have my favorite Zumba class at 6:30 pm, and it is a trial for me to attend it. Then I get so warped up I can’t sleep. I drop it for the summer, and I relax… Read more »
Molly
Molly
5 years 4 months ago

Most people (not PB types, of course) just need to move whenever they’ll get off their carcasses to do it. Nitpicking about what time of day they do it is like worrying about what brand of bottled water to give a guy who’s dying of thirst. Just give him some water, Man!

I’ve always exercised first thing in the morning because then it gets done for certain. The rest of the day can go to pot but at least I’ve gotten that exercise task off my list. There’s something empowering about that.

Peggy The Primal Parent
5 years 4 months ago
I used to exercise before I ever went primal. Now it just seems obsessive and boring. Just throwing out the tv, leaving the house, and eating well is pretty inspiring for energy and natural movement. I am stronger than I ever was in my old days of weight training and sprinting and I don’t do anything formal at all, just play, walking, biking, swinging from the monkey bars… The time you eat according to the time you play is really neither here nor there. I guess some people have their reasons for a strict exercise routine but I can’t personally… Read more »
Maui
Maui
5 years 4 months ago

My primal ancestors used to fish, so I like to workout based on the wind and the tides. I usually do two-a-days when the moon is new and full.

AmyNVegas
AmyNVegas
5 years 4 months ago
Since I am at work by 6:15 during the school year before work is not possible I already have to wake up way before my body is ready and as one other posted stated if I don’t hit the gym on the way home there is no going back out. Now summer is a different story I workout whatever time I feel like it. Sometimes in mid morning on an IF to try to jog some fat stores loose(I have about 100 to lose still) and sometimes in the early afternoon after a doctor’s appt or something just to save… Read more »
Randy Clere
Randy Clere
5 years 4 months ago

I enjoy getting up at 0400, stretch, use my TP rollers, intu-flo joint mobility warm ups, swing clubbells (CST), all done here at home and then get on the bike and go… somedays it is race walking. Never have been good at exercise durning the evening…. I rise naturally at 0400, so this is the best time for me!

ActiveCha
ActiveCha
5 years 4 months ago

My work has this great policy that allows employees to combine their lunch and their breaks together for workout purposes. So, I get 1.5 hours at lunch everyday which gives me ample to workout, freshen up and eat lunch!

I’ve grown to really enjoy working out at lunch – I’ve found that it keeps me focused and more alert during the afternoon and then I have my evenings to do whatever I want!

Susan Alexander
5 years 4 months ago
I think it’s great that all the detail and links are here for those who need them – it’s great info, all very well researched. For me, I’m happy to be at about the same place as Mark: “I’m not trying to optimize my hormonal responses, boost my metabolism, or maximize my workout grip strength. I’m just working regular exercise into my daily routine, when and where it fits.” Fairly recently, I changed by sacred, much-loved early morning bike ride to much later in the day – for 2 reasons: 1) I found (by experimenting) that early morning is the… Read more »
Gman
Gman
5 years 4 months ago

I definately find that as I get older(58) and workout in the mornings…I need a good warmup, if I am going to ramp up and do some hard work. Doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold outside…I still need the warmup…I didn’t used
to feel it was that important…but now I do…

Primal Recipe
5 years 4 months ago
Being a fitness expert I’ve pretty much heard it all when it comes to exercise timing for weight loss, performance, etc. In the end, I think the best thing you can do is figure it out for yourself – we’re all different. For example, I do really well mentally in the morning. I can be more productive between 6-7am then I can all evening. But forget about working out in the morning, I hate it, I can’t do it. I give my best effort, and therefore get the best results, when I workout in the evenings. I think that’s the… Read more »
Milemom
Milemom
5 years 4 months ago

Crack of dawn or nothing: I was out the door at 4:30 or 4:45am all freezing winter(but now that I’m jobless, it’s more like 5 or 6 am). Anyway, I can’t even conceive of running any other time (5 kids, crazy schedule) but in college I would often run at midnight. Three cheers for reflective vests 🙂
A time and a season for all.

CathyN
CathyN
5 years 4 months ago

Great article. I generally workout late afternoon. I can’t wait to get home from work and hit my gym. On the other hand, in the am I’m a slug. I get told all the time that one must workout in the mornings or there is not much benefit (not that I listen to them).

Except for hiking, I like pm workouts.

Gary Deagle
5 years 4 months ago

I like to workout at noon or early afternoon. If I workout to early I feel like my strength is compromised. If I workout to late then it messes up my sleep.

Marc
Marc
5 years 4 months ago

According to the spinal biomechanics expert, Dr.Stuart McGill, in his book “Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance” he states that you should avoid doing anything that involves bending and twisting in the first hour after waking up because spinal discs fill with fluid overnight the extra fluid magnifies whatever stresses put on the discs.

Tori
Tori
5 years 4 months ago
I crossfit at 6:30 every morning. When I go to an evening class due to a morning conflict such as a doctor’s appointment, I find that I do not perform as well. I think it depends on what your body is used to. If you have a sleep schedule and are used to waking up to work out, and not used to working out in the afternoon evening, I think you will find performance better in the morning. It is all in what you have trained your body to do. I have also found that I am weighed down by… Read more »
WhatAboutJason
5 years 4 months ago

I found doing my CrossFit WOD in the morning (i’m talking the 6am class) tends to give me a ton of energy throughout the day, even though it hurts like hell getting out of bed that early.

Mark
5 years 4 months ago

I like to workout right in the middle of the afternoon! It kind of splits my day up and I always have the most energy for my workouts around this time as well 🙂

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