Some say that training early in the morning is the way to go if you want to really improve your health, while others say that training in the evening will allow you to perform best. But what does the literature have to say about the best time to train?
What did they test? The authors reviewed the current literature to explore the effect of training at different times on health and performance.
What did they find? When you train does not matter that much for overall health and performance. However, for people who are being tested at a specific performance outcome on a specific time, training closer to that time may allow them to perform better on their testing day.
What does it mean for you? Training whenever is most convenient for you but be mindful that you may leave some performance gains on the table if your testing sessions are at a much different time than your training sessions.
What’s the Problem?
Picture this. The alarm clock rings. It’s 4am. You are barely making it out of bed, questioning your sanity and feeling as lethargic as ever. It doesn’t matter tho, because you are on a mission to train early in the morning before anyone else is up. Why? Because you read somewhere that training very early in the morning is better for your health and training performance. That’s why.
My highly ironic intro-to-the-intro aside, “when’s the best time to train”, may be one of the main questions many people have when embarking on their fitness journey. However, the information that exists out there attempting to answer said question can be a bit confusing.
The Time Magazine says “working out in the morning — especially on an empty stomach — is the best way to burn stored fat, making it ideal for weight loss.”
An article in the Washington Post mentions that “morning exercise lowered blood pressure in female exercisers significantly better than the same workouts in the evening” and that “for men, evening exercise was the clear winner in terms of health. The evening exercisers significantly lowered their cholesterol levels, while the morning exercisers, surprisingly, slightly raised theirs”
Other sources say that you should workout whenever it feels best and according to your schedule.