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.
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.
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 to 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:
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!