What Time of Day is Best to Workout?

Admittedly, this question is more complex than it may first appear. The answer isn't as simple as morning, noon, or night.

Personally, I have experience with an exercise routine at each of these times. I've done the 6am gym sessions before work. I've done the lunch hour power sessions half way through my work day. I've done the after work grind as the day is coming to a close.

And as cliche as it may sound, my general rule of thumb is that the best time of day to exercise is the time that works the best for you.

I think it's safe to say that a majority of people who exercise consistently do so early in the day, as it is easier to form the exercise habit through morning exercise. Aside from this, morning workouts raise your heart rate and metabolism, which in turn allows your body to burn more calories earlier in the day.

However, body temperature is at its lowest 1-3 hours before awakening, making morning a time of naturally lower energy and blood flow. And what good does that do Mr. Construction if he has to be at the job site -- which is 30 minutes from his house -- at 6AM?

A mid-day routine can be a great way to utilize your lunch hour, as it helps regulate hunger, and helps you avoid break-time snacking. Plus, your body temperature and hormone levels are higher than first thing in the morning.

But what good does that do Mrs. Corporate if she's always getting roped into unexpected mid-day meetings, doesn't have a gym nearby, and wouldn't have time to stretch and warm-up even if she did?

Some research suggests that 6pm is actually the best time of day to workout -- as it relates to hormone levels, body temperature, lung function, etc. Specifically, body temperature and hormone levels generally peak at 6pm, and we know exercising 3 hours before or after that peak will probably give you your best workout -- as it relates to endurance and muscle-building.

But what good does that do Mr. Entrepreneur who runs a side business at night -- complete with its own set of distractions -- after spending 8 hours at the office for his full-time job?

So again, I conclude that the best time is really the time that best works for you. Don't stress about it too much.

If working out in early in the morning allows you the time you need to get a solid workout and stick to a routine free from distraction, so be it.

If you can depend on a consistent lunch hour at work and have a gym nearby, why not?

If exercising at night fits your schedule, go for it.

The important thing is that you're making time for exercise on a consistent basis. The rest is just details.

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