When Is The Best Time Of The Day To Exercise? We Finally Settle The Debate

Morning, afternoon, evening? We asked a personal trainer to find out.

Woman working out

It’s 6am and your alarm is screeching in your ear. It can only mean one thing: it’s time to get up and smash that killer legs session. The only problem? You’re wrecked and you can’t stop hitting snooze. Would it really be so bad if you postponed that sweat sesh until later instead?

We asked personal trainer Katriona Fox for her thoughts. Does working out at the crack of dawn really reign supreme or is training at night time just as effective?

Katriona breaks it down for us.

Morning sessions

“Morning training can have a great knock on effect for the rest of the day,” Katriona explains. “Training at this time can see better work performance and stimulate greater energy levels. It is easier to be consistent with training as there is no time to talk yourself out of going to the gym later. The sense of achievement of having already gone to the gym is an added bonus too.”

But the benefits of AM training don’t end there. “Morning training usually means better food choices are made for the rest of the day as motivation levels are that bit higher having completed the session in the morning,” Katriona continues.

The obvious downside? Er, hauling yourself out of bed an hour earlier.

Afternoon sessions

Fancy squeezing in a pilates class during your lunch hour? “Some research supports the idea that late afternoon is the best time to train,” Katriona tells us. “A higher body temperature means muscles are that bit more flexible than they might be in the morning. Strength levels have been shown to peak late afternoon and there is usually a bit more food in your belly having eaten at least breakfast and lunch before heading to the gym.”

The single most important factor about training is that it gets done.

Evening sessions

And what if you’re hotfooting it to the gym after a tough day at the office? “A late evening session can be tough. Tired and stressed after a long day at work means training hard is not always an option,” Katriona warns. “Sessions can be compromised as you are unable to put in as great an effort as you would like due to the fact that you do not have the energy. Training late also means that you end up eating later and sleep can be negatively impacted by a late night session. This is due to both the stimulation from the training and the late night feed.”

Does that mean you shouldn’t work out post 9-5? No. “Having more food than just a coffee and BCAAs might yield more energy in your workouts if the rest of your day has not been that draining,” Katriona explains.

The Verdict

So when’s the best time to train then? “Unless you’re an athlete training times are not going to have a massive impact on your results,” says Katriona.” The most important thing is to make sure to get it done – Ideally when you have the most energy so you can really give the session your all.

“Working in the averae 9 to 5 job means your training needs to be done either before or after these times,” she continues, “so realistically afternoon sessions are not going to be an option. In my opinion the morning is a better time to train. You should never trust your future self and it’s so easy to talk yourself out of going to the gym later.”

The thing to remember though? “The single most important factor about training is that it gets done,” encourages Katriona, “but there are certain times where your training session might yield better results.”

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