Early Morning vs. Evening Workout: Which One is Right for You?

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There has been a longstanding debate about whether or not you should work out in the morning or the evening. Some say it is best to shock your body right at dawn and be an early bird gym rat. But others argue that hitting the gym in the evening gives you the best bet for having a great workout.

If you look at workout icons like Dwayne Johnson who is part of the 5 AM club, the proof seems to definitely be in the pudding that this logic works. Who else is as ripped and in shape as this guy?

But then there are elite-level athletes and bodybuilders who swear that being a night owl in the gym is their recipe for success, especially because it allows for the protein powder in their shakes to really help take their workout to the next level.

In general, the first goal is to simply work out regardless of the time of day. But as you progress in your fitness journey, you will want to become more prescriptive to what makes sense for your body, your schedule, and your goals. The real goal is to find that perfect balance for you.

So how do you know what the best time to workout is for you? The truth is, there are benefits to both. And we are going to do a deep dive into both so that you can best assess what makes sense to you individually.

Benefits of the Early Morning Workout

Sometimes it is really hard to get out of bed. But many early bird gym goers say that the mental toughness required to get out of bed early is one of the biggest benefits to gain. However, there is much more than just that.

Your testosterone is at its highest in the early morning. This is important to note because your testosterone levels are what directly feed into your energy levels and how much gains you can make from a muscular perspective. Better yet, when you work out in the morning and start sweating early, you will also be able to nearly double your chances of burning fat too.

The reason that you get the most benefit from workout out in the morning is that you are forcing your body to use fat stored in your body already rather than the food you may have just snacked on before the gym. Studies have even shown how those lifting weights in the morning are equally able to produce more human growth hormones.

But you do not just have to stick to the cardio and lifting sessions in the morning. Doing morning stretches or yoga can greatly benefit your body, especially if you tend to tense up overnight while sleeping. It will also help get your mind and body in the right state to start your day on a positive note.

Benefits of Evening Workout

Now for the comparison of those early birds who go to the gym before the sun comes out. For those who can’t get themselves up early or even fathom working out so early, there is hope still in sight that you can gain a lot from the evening workout too.

Many studies have found that your energy levels can peak again later in the day and that your endurance will be better too. This means that for those looking to do more cardio-based fitness like running or swimming, doing so in the evening will feel easier and you can probably get yourself to go even longer.

Other studies have also shown that there are equal benefits to lifting weights later in the day, especially if you are a bodybuilder looking to really tap into the power of your hormones. Lifting weights in the evening play on the testosterone your body has built throughout the day and is something that anyone looking to get ripped needs.

You can also still enhance your flexibility with an evening stretching session or workout too. As the day progresses, your body will loosen up naturally. This means that you will be able to go deeper into your poses and really maximize your stretching time. Plus, there is something mentally really rewarding about stretching right before bed, and can help clear your mental state too.

The Cons to Consider

At the end of the day, it is up to you to figure out what time of day is going to get you most ready to work out and be sure of making the most of this time. The evening workouts can impact your ability to go to sleep soon after as your body will be pretty hyped up. And morning exercises can end up jeopardizing the amount of sleep you really need too.

Overall, figure out the workout time that makes sense to you and ultimately benefits your overall well-being.

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.

@jared_levenson

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