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The Best Time to Exercise

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

When it comes to fitness and working out, there are many factors to consider. What kind of activities, how often... and of course when? Should you do your workout at night before going to sleep, or is first thing in the morning better? It can be hard to know when is the best time to exercise for maximum benefit.

So what do you think, is morning exercise or evening exercise best? Read on to find out the answer and discover other tips for getting the most out of your fitness regime.

In this article, I will cover:


When is the best time to exercise?

An old-fashioned alarm clock with a woman in workout clothes stretching in the background.

Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or a new exerciser, you've probably asked yourself this question: "Should I work out in the morning or in the evening?"

Is morning exercise better than nighttime workouts? Do different times of day really make a difference?

It turns out, the answer is yes, time of day does make a difference. When it comes to workouts that are high in intensity, it is better to do them in the evening rather than in the morning.

Why is evening best for intense workouts?

Evening exercise is best, because when you work out in the evening your recovery is much, much better.

And when you work out at a high intensity, the important thing is getting your body recovered as quickly as possible. The evening is the best time for that.

While your cortisol levels can spike more in the evening after physical activity, it clears out a lot faster than if you do your workout in the morning. Evening workouts can help out with testosterone levels as well.

Check out the references below for more information on the link between hormones, your body clock, metabolism, and physical activity at different times of the day.

You will certainly notice an improvement if you shift your schedule and start doing your intense workouts in the evening. I never do workouts in the morning. Instead, I always opt to do my workout routine in the evening, say 6 or 7 or 8 o'clock.

It is important to note that this rule applies to intense exercise routines only. If you do low-intensity activities like walking, it is perfectly okay to do those in the morning.


The two major types of exercise

A woman and a man sprinting in workout clothes do high-intensity exercise interval training in a gym.

There are two types of exercise that are good for your body: high-intensity and low-intensity. To learn more about the benefits of each type, go here. As mentioned, above, the timing of your exercise routine matters more for high intensity and not as much for low intensity.

So what is the difference between the two?

1. Low intensity involves things like walking, rowing, or gentle swimming, where you are still able to maintain a conversation comfortably. These are the kinds of activities that you can maintain for a while without too much exertion. It won't be a problem to do these activities in the morning, as your body won't have a hard time recovering from them.

2. High-intensity exercise, on the other hand, is the really heavy-duty kind of exercise. Things like sprints, interval training, going up hills, and circuit training are examples. They push your muscles, get you breathing, and up your body temperature quickly.

Intensity is the single most important thing when it comes to losing weight and belly fat. It will burn more fat than any other factor, such as duration.

Interval training is a great choice when it comes to high-intensity exercise. The goal is to do short bursts of heavy-duty activity (where you get your heart rate and breathing going), alternated with periods of rest.

If you want to learn more about the best type of exercises for burning fat, check out this video where I demonstrate some easy exercise ideas that will pump out the sweat, help you build muscle and strength, and get your metabolism going so that you can start burning fat.


Other tips for making the most of your exercise routine

Now you know that the absolute best time to exercise is in the latter part of the day. But what else can you do to help up your fitness game?

  • Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep. If you don't get enough quality sleep and are feeling drained, then your body won't have enough energy for good quality exercise. And that will just make things worse, not better. So make sleep a priority.
  • Don't eat sugar - even a little. This will interfere with your weight loss efforts.
  • Start off slow if you are new to exercising. Don't jump right into high-intensity exercises if you are new to exercise. If you are not quite fit yet, start slowly and build yourself up to the more intense type of workouts.
  • Take rest days. You don't have to exercise every day. In fact, doing it every day might get in the way of your weight loss efforts. Working out every single day is one of the top 3 exercise mistakes people commonly make.

Close-up pictures of a woman sleeping in her bed on a purple striped pillow.

Following these tips will help you lose weight and see results even faster.


The bottom line

If you are looking to up your weight loss, burn fat, build strength and muscle, sleep better, and get more fit, exercise is a really important piece of the puzzle.

But only if it is done right.

Working with your body clock and paying attention to when you schedule your workouts is very important. And as it turns out, the best time to exercise at high intensity is in the evening.

To review, here are a few key takeaways when considering when and how to work in your fitness routines.

  1. Schedule time in the evening before you go to sleep or in the late afternoon after work to do your intense workouts. This will help you maximize your recovery, which is very important.
  2. Walk, row, or do other low-intensity activities in the morning if you would like.
  3. If you are an elite athlete and do two sessions per day, do your less intense activity in the morning (like walking) and save your more hardcore workout for the end of the day.
  4. Make sure to get plenty of sleep, avoid sugar, start off slow, and take rest days. These tips will all help you get the most of your fitness regime.

When do you work out? Try shifting to evening exercises, and see how you feel. Then go ahead and leave me a comment below sharing your results.


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