Thursday, February 18, 2010

Best time of day to work out

In my early 20s, I got a summer membership at a gym close to my work. And almost every workday morning that summer, I headed to the gym bright and early, got a good workout in and headed to work full of energy.

Right now, after at least one of the kids is in bed for the night, I head downstairs to my basement and home gym. I either lift weights or do cardio exercise while enjoying some escapism in the form of tv.

So, what's better? What time of day is the best to workout?

Ultimately, I think the best time of day to workout is whenever you will stick to it. What I think you need to do is pick a time of day that is fits into your routine and is easy to make into a habit. For some people, that's going to be first thing in the morning, others it will be after work, before heading home to supper. Perhaps you're like me and you can't reliably get to it until the day is winding down.

Now, having said that, all else being equal, I actually do think there is a superior time of the day for me to work out. I think it's first thing in the morning. When I get to workout early in the day, it sets the tone for the day. I feel great after the workout, I stay on track with my eating, and I have more energy. When I work out in the evening, like I usually do, I still feel good, but that rush sometimes keeps me awake and then is worn off by the morning.

So, why don't I always get up and work out in the morning? Well, quite frankly, at this point in my life, it just doesn't work with my routine. My children are poor sleepers and I frequently wake up through the night. If I planned to workout in the morning, I know I would be hitting the snooze button and grabbing whatever extra sleep I could. By working out in the evenings, I'm able to do it when my husband is home and I can be off duty. Occasionally, I'm still called upon, but I'd say 19 out of 20 workouts go uninterrupted. (thanks to my fabulous husband!)

Despite that, I crave the feeling I used to have for most of the day after a morning workout. When sleep regulates in my house, I will start getting up early and breaking a sweat.

So, what is the best time of day for you to workout? And is that the time that you get to do it?


  1. My favourite time to work out is the mid-afternoon. I used to have a job that allowed me to take my "lunch" break around 3:00 and come back after that for an hour or so. My boss worked in Toronto so she'd already be gone for the day anyway. Unfortunately, that's no longer the case, so I try to get up early to do yoga and do cardio at night.

    My boyfriend gets up at 5:00 am to go to the gym. I couldn't do it, but it makes him a much happier, de-stressed person.

  2. I would like to do morning, but can't, so I work out later in the evening, too. It's my hour of TV for the day. Tonight, it will be walking with Grey's Anatomy.

    It usually doesn't prevent me from falling asleep.

  3. It is hard to workout in the morning when you have children who need your attention. If you can get out of the house for a walk/run before they get out of bed, that would be great. It sounds like that might not be an option though. It sounds like you are making the most of your present situation. The day will come before you know it when the kids will be old enough that you'll be able to choose your workout time.