The best time to workout in a day is that time – when you can workout consistently. Because to get the best results, you have to be consistent with your workouts.
After becoming consistent with your workouts, then you need to look for the best time to workout in a day.
As the lifestyle and daily schedule are different from person to person – the best workout time also varies from person to person.
For some, the best time to workout can be in the evening. For some, it can be at night. And for some, the best time to workout can be in the morning. In this post you will read a detailed comparison between morning vs evening exercise.
Keep reading to find out which is the best time to exercise in a day for you.
Morning vs Evening Exercise
The best time to exercise hugely depends on the type of workout you are doing. For example, early morning can be a suitable time to run but not so great for weight lifting. But for most exercises and training methods exercising in the evening seems most suitable.
In the evening, you can run, workout at the gym, do HIIT workouts or do yoga. Evening seems to be that magical shirt that fits all.
But if you want to find out – the optimal workout time that also enhances your workout performance, then keep reading. In the below section, I will cover it in much more detail.
Morning exercise vs evening exercise plus night exercise – detailed comparison
When we wake up in the morning, our core temperatures remain low. Thus to do any kind of weight lifting or gym exercises we need to warm up for long durations.
Apart from the long warmup time, in the morning you can feel sleepy if you do not have adequate amounts of sleep.
This is a major drawback of exercising in the morning. Because this can lead to workout injuries.
But there are some positive sides of morning exercises:
Advantages of morning exercise
Best for fat loss: In the morning, we wake up with an empty stomach. If you eat your dinner early at around 8-9 pm and wake up at 7.30 am then – you were in a fasting state for around 10-11 hours. Thus if you began working out in the morning on an empty stomach then you can see better results in terms of burning more body fat.
Good for habit-forming: Let’s be real. Many of us struggle to exercise consistently. In the morning we are not burdened with many tasks. So if we want we can manage 20-30 minutes for our morning workouts. It’s good to workout in the morning if you want to workout daily.
Best for yoga & meditation: If you do yoga and meditation, then morning is the best time for them. You can also do yoga in the evening but in the morning, you remain much more relaxed. So, for both yoga and meditation morning is the best time.
Best for bodyweight exercises: Bodyweight workout sessions tend to vary between 20-30 minutes. This makes morning one of the best times to do bodyweight workouts. As compared to gym workouts – gym workouts require more energy and last for 45-60 minutes or more.
Related: 10 Daily exercises you should do to stay fit.
Advantages of evening exercise
Best for gym exercises: Exercising in the evening is good for gym workouts. Because after eating breakfast and lunch, you get enough fuel for gym workouts that last for 45-60 minutes or even longer.
Good for different training methods: Evening workouts can be the best time to workout for a variety of training methods. Be it running, weight lifting, gym workouts, HIIT workouts, running or bodyweight training – in the evening, you can do all of them without any problem.
Best for long workout sessions: If you can manage time, then an evening workout makes the best time to workout for long hours. As your body is fueled up, between 4 pm – 6 pm makes an ideal time for your long workout sessions.
Advantages of night exercise
Enough time for a long workout: At the end of the day you will be free from other tasks. This can give you enough time to complete a long workout. You can easily workout for an hour at night.
Good for gym workouts: Exercising between 7-9 pm is good for weight lifting and gym workouts. Also, at this time, your core temperature remains high. So, you need a shorter warmup which can help you do actual workouts for a long duration.
Deep sleep at night: If you complete your night workout before 9 pm and sleep at around 11.30 pm, then you can have a deep sleep from the tiredness of the workout.
Disadvantages of morning exercise
Needs strong willpower: After waking up many may feel like they don’t want to exercise. Thus to push through that initial feeling, you need some willpower to exercise in the morning.
Best for a limited number of training methods: Another disadvantage of morning exercise at around 7 am – 8 am is that it’s not an ideal time to workout for gym workouts and weight lifting.
Eating breakfast becomes an issue: It’s recommended to eat your breakfast within 2 hours from the time you wake up in the morning. Also, after eating a moderate breakfast you need to wait for some time before you can workout. This is another problem that arises if you want to workout for 60-90 minutes.
Long warm-up time: In the morning our core temperature remains low and without a proper warmup, our body remains less flexible. 10-15 minutes of warmup time can lower the actual time of the workout. And without proper warmup in the morning, the chances of workout injuries remain high.
Disadvantages of evening exercise
Hard to manage time: A person with a 9 to 5 job might find it hard to manage time for an evening workout. It’s still possible and many people do manage to workout in the evening after their job but it’s challenging. With a daily job, it’s easier to manage time for morning workouts.
You can get busy: If you do not keep your daily schedule in check and do not block some time for your evening workouts then you might get busy and not get time to workout in the evening.
Disadvantages of night exercise
Can take longer to fall asleep: If your night workout extends after 9 pm it might take longer for you to fall asleep – if you sleep at 10.30 – 11 pm.
Less time with family: If you only spend your late evenings with your family then – working out between 7 – 8.30 pm can lower the amount of time you spent with your family.
Low scope for outdoor exercises: As you are exercising at night there is no sun to give you some light for your outdoor exercises. If your premises have no lights placed outdoors then you need to use the treadmill instead of the ground.
Morning workout vs Evening workout
For bodyweight workouts, morning and evening both are the best time to exercise. But evening workout shines when it comes to any type of weight lifting or gym workouts. So when deciding between morning vs evening exercise – you should workout in the evening if you want to do more than just bodyweight exercises.
You can also go to the gym in the morning but if you want to do any type of weight lifting, you have to warm up properly before you exercise. Also, it’s recommended to eat your breakfast within 2 hours from wake up. So you need to schedule your workouts accordingly.
If you prefer to go to the gym after breakfast at around 9 am. You have to wait for 20-45 minutes after you have eaten your breakfast. The waiting time will increase or decrease according to the amount of food you have eaten in your breakfast.
Related: 10 Home workout secrets for getting better results from your workouts.
Evening workout vs night workout
Evening workouts and night workouts are very close to each other. Thus there isn’t much difference. One thing that will differentiate between an evening workout and a night workout is your sleeping pattern.
Exercising in the evening will give you a sound sleep at night. But working out late at night can hinder your normal sleeping behaviour. It’s recommended that you finish your night workout before 9 pm. So that you can sleep normally at around 11.30 pm.
Other than the sleeping pattern, in the evening gyms are naturally crowded. So if you prefer working out alone or want to avoid any person walks in while you are doing bench press, you can workout at night.
At night normally gyms will have fewer people working out. So you can get to use most of the equipment freely.
According to your schedule and your preferences, you can choose whether you want to workout at night or in the evening. Both are good for gym workouts as well as bodyweight training.
Morning workout vs evening & Night Workout
In this comparison post about morning vs evening vs night exercise – on the surface, the real competition is in between morning workout vs evening and night workout.
Because there are only 2-3 hours of difference between evening and night workouts.
Although you can also workout late at night. It’s not recommended. Because it can heavily leave an impact on your usual sleeping behaviour.
Also, if you decide to workout late at night, you should avoid any heavy exercise. You can do slow jogging on the treadmill or do any low-impact exercises.
Winner: Morning vs evening vs night exercise
Taking in all the factors – evening exercise is the best time to workout. During this time you can choose most of the training methods and build your body.
In the evening your body is already fueled up so without any pre-workout drinks you can expect your performance will remain at its peak.
A 2014 study conducted by Malhotra et al found significant strength gain while exercising at early evennig vs exercising in the morning.
Apart from gym workouts – the evening is also good for running and HIIT workouts.
If you can manage time to workout in the evening then go ahead with your decision. The evening is a great time to exercise.
But if you can’t manage time in the evening then you can workout at night or in the morning but you have to remember a few guidelines that I have already talked about previously in this article.
Is it better to workout in the morning or at night?
If you want to do only – bodyweight workout then morning is the best time. But if you want to do some advanced training or want to do gym workouts then workout at night.
Because in the morning your core temperature remains low and your body is less flexible in comparison to nighttime. So if you want to do gym workouts at around 7 am-8 am you have to spend some extra minutes warming up properly.
Warming up properly is important if you want to do gym workouts in the morning.
You can also do bodyweight workouts at night. But it’s a lot harder to form this as a habit. If you believe you can workout frequently at night then go ahead – there’s nothing against doing pushups and other bodyweight exercises at night.
Should you do early morning workout
Exercising on an empty stomach in the morning can help you burn more fat and helps to boost your metabolism. If your main goal for your workout is to shed some extra body fat, then you can workout early in the morning.
As you are exercising early in the morning, try to avoid heavy weight lifting. Or it’s even better to limit yourself to just doing bodyweight exercises and running. Running and burpees can help you burn a lot of calories.
Doing just one burpee can burn you up to 0.5 calories. So, doing 20 burpees can burn up to 10 calories.
Should you do late night workout
You can workout late at night but it can make it harder to fall asleep afterwards. As a general rule – avoid exercising 3 hours before you want to fall asleep.
It’s better to end your workouts before 9 pm. So that you can follow your normal sleeping pattern. Messing up with your sleeping time can affect other things and if you do it for an extended period then it can become a serious health issue.
Another thing to remember if you still want to workout late at night – don’t do any active workouts. You can do slow jogging or rowing, cycling on a stationary bike etc.
Which time is best for what workouts
The right time for every workout is when you can do it. But there is a best time for each exercise. Here are the best time for these exercises:
- Morning: Good for bodyweight exercises, cardio, running, yoga etc.
- Evening: Evening is best for most of the workouts. To name a few – evening is good for gym workouts, weightlifting, HIIT and many others.
- Night: Night is good for gym workouts, running on a treadmill or doing low-impact workouts.