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What is the best time of day to workout?

Sometimes you need to listen to your body clock.

Between work, family commitments, and trying to have a social life, sometimes it’s hard to make time for exercise. For many of us it’s usually a case of squeezing it in whenever we can, which makes it hard to stay in shape and build up endurance. It’s important to prioritise your health and wellbeing, and exercising regularly is a big part of that. Even going for a 20 minute walk a few times a week is better than nothing. So when is the ideal time of day to get the most out of your workout?

Your body clock

Also known as circadian rhythm, your body clock determines how you feel at different times of the day. Everybody’s circadian rhythm is different, which is why you might prefer hitting the gym at night, while your partner might find morning exercise more appealing.

Our busy lives make it hard to listen to our body clocks all the time. Let your circadian rhythm guide you as much as possible, but don’t worry if you have to go against it to lead a normal life.

Early birds vs. night owls

They say the early bird catches the worm, but only if that bird can drag itself out of bed! Here are some pros and cons about training when the sun rises, versus when it sets.

Morning workouts:

PROS:

  • Gets it over and done with so you can enjoy that hot chocolate guilt-free.
  • Sets you up for the day with a huge energy boost.
  • Kicks your metabolism into gear before you’ve even made it to work.
  • Is easier to stick to because don’t have to be anywhere else at 6am.

CONS:

  • You have to wake up early, which can be near impossible for some people.
  • You need to spend more time warming up because your muscles and joints have stiffened during sleep. Failing to warm up properly could result in injury, and nobody wants that!  

Evening workouts:

For those who like the nightlife, or find it hard to get out of bed before 8am, evening exercise is the better option.

PROS:

  • Allows you to sleep longer, or at least later.
  • It’s a great way to blow off steam from the day, and reset your mood and mind.
  • Your muscles and joints have loosened from use throughout the day.
  • You don’t have to rush to make it to work after your workout.

CONS:

  • There are more distractions and temptations to lead you astray at the end of the day.
  • Darkness can limit your options, especially if you’re a walker, runner or road cyclist.
  • Gyms are much more crowded in the evenings, which can prolong or disrupt your workout.
  • Your metabolism and sleep will be affected if you workout, and therefore eat dinner, too late.

So what’s the answer?

Many studies have been conducted to determine the time sweet spot for better fitness results, but all have been inconclusive. There remains no hard evidence that working out at a particular time of day can burn calories more efficiently, or build muscles stronger, or provide any other major health benefits.

The truth is, there is no perfect time to exercise. But there might be a perfect time for you. Working out is a very personal thing, and only you know what works for you. Experts say the most important thing is to choose a time of day you can stick with, so that exercise becomes a habit.

Whether you choose morning, evening, or even lunchtime, to exercise, make sure it becomes part of your routine. Goodlife Health Clubs are open 24/7 so you can workout exactly when you want. And with 77 locations across Australia, there’s sure to be one that works for you. Plus, Medibank members can now get 15% off Goodlife Health Clubs Active Plus memberships.

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