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Is There an Ideal Time of Day to Workout?

Biological Considerations:

Experts in the field of neurology have been saying for years that the best time to exercise might be late afternoon. This theory is based on circadian rhythms that operate like an internal clock in the human body.  These rhythmus are controlled by the hypothalamus (part of the brain) and have great impact on sleep patterns, blood pressure and the release of certain hormones.  They also to some degree control body temperature, which is at its highest peak at around 2-4 pm. Muscles are like elastic rubber bands, the hotter they are the more pliable they become. It also holds true the colder a muscle is the more difficult it will be for the muscle to contract and lengthen. It makes sense that if your body is warmer as the day progresses you are less likely to injure yourself while exercising.  Hence if one desires to workout first thing in the morning when body temperatures are slightly lower, then a longer warm-up might be needed.

 

As mentioned before sleep patterns are controlled by these rhythmus and after dusk the internal clock starts to slow down along with your metabolism. This slowing down process prepares you for what hopefully will be a restful night’s sleep. If these patterns get disrupted with exercise which raises metabolism, your body might not be ready for bed. Whether or not exercising at night affects your sleep is based on your chronotype and genetics. Chronotype is the genetic attribute we all have and it determines how well we function during different time intervals of the normal 24 hr cycle. The question is, are you a night owl or a lark?  As you might guess larks are sharpest mentally and physically in the morning and owls work better at night. This may explain why some people (owls) can workout at 10 pm, with a plethora of energy and others (larks) prefer to feel energized after their 5 am workout.                 

 

Energy Considerations:

After waking from a semi fast of 6-12 hrs, you will be most likely on the verge of dehydration. Studies show when glucose and fluid levels are below normal, strength is compromised. The National Strength and Conditioning Association investigated the effects of strength, muscle mass and body fat on 16 college age men who exercised at either 10:00am or after 6:00 pm. The results are as follows: The PM grouped displayed a 3.2% increase in lean mass compared with 0.6% gain found in the AM group. The PM grouped also displayed a 4% decrease in body fat compared to a 5% increase in the PM group. However, definite conclusions need to be negated due the small sample size.

 

Some experts believe performing cardio first thing in morning before your first meal will burn more adipose tissue (fat) compared to later on in the day. If blood glucose is low then in theory the body will be forced to rely on adipose tissue for fuel. It’s important morningworkout.jpgto keep in mind; amino acids from muscle tissue are also used during cardio sessions to provide fuel as well. Probably not the best scenario if you want to keep those muscles you have worked so hard to achieve.

 

Time Constraints Considerations:

 Some people believe the morning workout is best due to the fact that no matter how badly they want to workout if not performed in the morning things always seem to get in the way later on in the day. Others feel the night time workout is the only time they have time to de stress. The most important aspect is when can you find time to make exercising a habit in your life? The most successful exercise programs are the ones where people make exercising a part of their normal routine.  If exercising first thing in the morning or at midnight is the only way you will exercise on constant basis then regardless of energy, make those times, the time to workout!          

    

              

 

" The man who wishes to succeed will find a way, the man who doesn't will find an excuse. The darkest hour still has 60 minutes" -Des Renford 

  

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Copyright 2007 Mountainfitness by Robert, all rights reserved. Always consult with your physician before starting any exercise program. The information contained on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Copyright 2007 Mountainfitness by Robert, all rights reserved. Always consult with your physician before starting any exercise program. The information contained on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.