What’s the Best Time of Day to Workout for Top Results?
When it comes to building maximum size and strength, there are many different factors to consider. Of course the quality of the workout is very important and it’s also true that you need to use the right kind of training to achieve the specific results you’re looking for, as well as knowing the best time of day to workout. Building size is quite different from building pure strength for instance, while burning fat is a different ball game entirely.Then you have your genetics to consider, your diet, your sleep…But one factor that very often gets overlooked is timing. What is the best time of day to workout or train? Is there one? And does it depend on your goals?How Timing Impacts Your ResultsThe first thing to consider is how timing could have an impact on the results of your training. And to answer that, there are actually several possible interactions here.For starters, the time of day is going to impact on your energy levels, your motivation and therefore your effort. We have more or less energy depending on the time of day and this impacts how likely we are to stick to a training program and give it our all.At the same time, the time of day also impacts on when we eat. If you train near to when you’re eating, then this can obvious have some impact on the availability of amino acids and sugars.Finally, the time of day that you train also relates to what comes next. Will you be resting after training or will you be heading off to work? This also gives us some answers on the best time of day to workout.Training for Weight LossGym woman exercising with her personal trainer for Weight Loss Six PackWith those things in mind, what is the best time of day to workout if your main goal is weight loss?One possible answer is first thing in the morning. Why? Because after you’ve first woken up, you will have low blood sugar and be in what is known as a ‘fasted state’. While you slept, you of course won’t have had the opportunity to eat and that means that your blood sugar will be very low. Engage in cardio now and it will be ‘fasted cardio’, meaning that your body can’t get sugar and energy from your blood and therefore is forced to get energy from your fat stores. Studies show that training while fasted actually results in more calories being burned overall.That said, this theory is not universally popular and there are some studies that seem to contradict these findings. So take it with a pinch of salt but certainly training first thing in the morning can’t hurt if your goal is weight loss.MotivationThere’s another good reason that the best time to workout is in the morning too, as this is when your will power and motivation will be highest. Will power and determination is precisely correlated with energy. Meanwhile, decision making is a finite ability and something that we get worse at over time.Studies confirm that as we go through the day, we become increasingly more likely to give in to temptation and to make objectively ‘bad’ decisions. We have simply become tired from resisting temptation and making good calls and eventually this leads to us burning out and relenting.If you train in the morning then, you’ll be less likely to give up and more likely to stick at your program. Just make sure that you give yourself 5-10 minutes to come around – otherwise your spine will be more vulnerable to injury and you’ll be too groggy to focus from sleep inertia.For HypertrophyIf muscle mass is your main objective though, then things might be different.Fasted training doesn’t make a lot of sense when you’re trying to build muscle as you need energy in order to put all of your effort into lifting weights with high intensity. Likewise, insulin (which is released in response to high blood sugar) is one of the most anabolic hormones there is.What’s also important is that you get a source of protein in your system at the right time in relation to your training. Traditionally, the ‘anabolic window’ has always been thought to be just after training, which is why lifters will often consume a protein shake or big meal after working out.More recently, it has come to light that it actually takes about an hour for the amino acids to reach our blood. This means that consuming protein prior to training may actually make more sense.For all these reasons, consuming meats before or even during a workout is becoming increasingly popular. Either way, training in the afternoon is probably a good idea as at this point your blood should be packed with amino acids, sugars and other nutrients to help support your training.Another idea though is to take this even further to the opposite extreme and to train late at night. This is something that YouTube personality Rich Piana recommends and which he credits for his massive biceps. He believes that curling dumbbells just before bed makes a lot of sense because sleep is a naturally anabolic period. Just keep in mind that this isn’t the general advice when it comes to weightlifting. Likewise, make sure that you don’t increase your heart rate too much by lifting too fast – as this will make it hard to get to sleep.What’s the Worst Time of Day to Train?So if you’re trying to lose weight or you’re struggling to stick to a training program, consider training in the morning. This will be the best time of day to workout.If you want to build massive muscle, training later in the day after lunch and before dinner may be good advice.But one time that might be worth avoiding is 4 pm. At 4 pm, the body naturally ‘slumps’ in accord with the internal body clock. This is the time of day that we naturally have the lowest energy and motivation and even body temperature is statistically likely to be at its very lowest.One last piece of advice though is to remember that everyone is different. Just because one person thrives during their 1pm workouts, someone else might find they are more suited to training later in the day. Keep a diary and refer back to that to regularly to identify what the best time to train is for you personally.