Is There Really A "Best Time Of The Day" To Workout?

I've tried working out at night, in the morning, in the afternoon- all different times in an attempt to see if there really is a "best" time to workout. So I did an experiment. One week of working out in the night time compared to my normal routine of working out in the mornings. What were the pros and cons of each? Did one make me feel better than the other? Was one more productive than the other? I was going to find out.

AM Workout 

This is my usual routine, I like to get up the morning and immediately move my body.

The pro's: 

  • No one is awake to interrupt me. Brodie is either asleep or at work, most people understand office hours so I don't get any phone calls and it is too cold for anyone else to be walking around, so there is no one to distract me.
  • I find it so much easier to wake up and get out of bed when I know I have something to be doing. If I wake up and have no immediate plans I will spend way too much time in bed mindlessly scrolling through Instagram.
  • While I do feel a little sleepy at first it doesn't last long. I feel like I have the energy to do those heavy lifts or make the most out of my HIIT workouts.
  • Once it is done, it is done for the day. I like to get it out of the way early in the day to leave room for more productivity during the afternoon. I feel like it also sets me up to be more productive because I have already ticked one thing off my to-do list. 
The cons:
  • There is a little bit of a time constraint (could also be a pro in the form of not overtraining!) but it makes me feel like I have to sometimes rush to fit the whole session in.
  • It is still dark when I wake up. I used to be a firm believer in "if the sun is not up, neither am I."
  • I often begin the workout, especially the warm-up- feeling very stiff and uptight which could increase the chance of injury.
  • I get hungry real fast during my workout, I've had some pre-workout but that does not really compare to fuelling my body with actual food before training. 

PM Workout

The pros: 

  • I felt like I had more fuel for the actual workout. I mean I had a full day of eating under my belt that I could use to really power through those heavy lifts.
  • It was therapeutic to finish the day with a sweat session, kind of like I sweating out all the stuff I spend the day stressing over.
  • I had all the time in the world to spend exercising and sweating it out. Which meant I could go hard, but also meant it would easy for me to slip back into my overtraining ways.
  • I was well and truly ready for bed earlier than usual (now see the con to relate to this)

The cons: 

  • Some days I felt super sluggish- I noticed it especially on HIIT days, I didn't feel like I was capable of making those jumps and my stomach felt physically heavy and sloshy when I was jumping around.
  • By the time I got home from work, it was hard to pull myself off the couch and into some activewear. I was tired and lethargic most days and it took a whole load of effort to get up and get it done.
  • While I was ready for bed earlier, when I did get into bed I was still on that post-workout endorphin high and spent quite a lot time trying to unwind and get myself to sleep.
  • On one day I had to skip my workout because I was invited to the last minute dinner, had I have been working out in the morning I still would have gotten my training in for that day.
So.. will you be working out in the AM or the PM?

I like my routine how it is, but it is good to know how training in the afternoon made me feel and the outcomes that it came with. I enjoy working out and moving my body first thing in the morning so I am going to stick with that. For you, you need to choose a time that works for you, if you have a baby and a shift job you might not even have a set time, you just have to fit it in when you can and that's okay! Just remember to choose the time that helps you stay consistent. 

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