Updated: Oct 4, 2018
When it really comes down to it, the best time to train, is the most convenient time for YOU.
Do you like training first thing in the morning? At lunch? After work?
To maintain a steady fitness routine, you should aim to train at a time you can consistently go to (This might change per day). A few things to consider when choosing the best time for you:
What type of training are you doing?
High intensity and cardio sessions can be a bit too much too handle after a heavy meal, therefore most people choose to train high intensity first thing in the morning. This way, they can choose to consume food or not, before they train. If you are performing high intensity or cardio exercise later during the day, make sure you watch your food intake before - too much can make you feel sick, not enough food can make you feel flat, and depleted.
If you are strength training and lifting heavy weights, it is always recommended to fuel your body 60-90mins before your session. When lifting heavy, you want to have as much fuel/energy in your body to achieve and hit your targets. If you haven’t consumed enough food before hand, you may feel flat and depleted and won’t be able to perform your best.
For some people, this means getting 1-3 meals in, before their strength training session.
Training in the morning has been shown to boost energy levels and focus, post session. This is beneficial for those who sit down most of the day, and need energy to concentrate at work. Early morning training has the benefit of kick starting your metabolism for the day. So while you're sitting down at work, your body is still recovering from your morning sweat session.
Others may prefer to finish off their busy day with an evening session, to tire them out before bed. Training in the evening doesn't work for everyone though. Training releases endorphins and can wake you body even more, making it counter productive if you need an early night.
Specific Training Goals
Study has shown that your strength is at the lowest point, early in the morning. Therefore, if your goals are power or strength based, your performance will most likely be better in the arfternoon/evening.
Low intensity or steady state cardio isn't affected by the time of day, but rather your personal energy level. It can be performed either morning or evening, depending on your preference. If you are in a fasted state (before your first meal, when your at your lower-than-normal blood sugar, insulin and glycogen levels), some fat burning may occur.
The most important thing to remember is that you need to find a time the fits your lifestyle, and your environment. Whatever time of day is going to make you train CONSISTENTLY is the best option! Remember to assess your training goal, and fuel your body correctly for your desired training session.
Ash Besse xx