What is the best time to exercise?
What is the best time to exercise? To go for that run, cycle, or to head down to the gym? How do you choose the best time of day for you?
Summer is finally here and its been a long time coming in Northern Europe. This also means beautiful days from 5.30 am to 9.30 pm. Ideal to get some long training days in, but what or which is best for us, you or the person next to you.
Exercise is one of, if not the best thing you can do for your body and health and well being. From shedding weight to reducing the risk of ill health, exercise and sport can do all of the above. But do the benefits depend on the time day you choose?
These are just my ideas by the way, from nothing more than life experience, going to the gym, playing top level rugby (not that well), running and now cycling seriously for over a decade as well as being in and around the sports industry for over a decade.
Let’s start with the mornings.
Is morning a good time to exercise? Or is it the worst !
This for me is the hardest time to train, but living opposite a Pure Gym thats open 24hrs I see people pour in from 5 am, which is impressive. You hear of these high achievers (navy seals and other special forces for instance) who get up at 4 am and rave about how this helps their lives and therein, maybe, is where the discipline required to do this comes from. Out of all the times of the day, morning exercise takes more discipline and if you already have this, perhaps it is easier to create the habit and then change your body algorithms? So I decided to give it a go, (disclaimer, I have been helped by a small Puppy waking me at 5.30am). I have a fairly busy normal lifestyle, work, family, kids at school and, as mentioned, a pet so I already get up fairly early say 6.45am, but 5.30am has been an eye opener.
I have tried to run the 3km around my local park, or go to an early hit fit 5 days a week. I have managed this and yes, I am fitter, but holy moly I am absolutely exhausted by 7pm! This has been the major downside for me, I have found it difficult to eat beforehand so probably setting myself up for a crash later in the day, The other major downside has been having a totally different time schedule from my wife… not good. So although supposedly you can loose weight by training in the a.m. I don’t need too, and maybe this is where the fatigue came in, who knows? It is also said to improve your mood, well yes this is true, I’ve been on cracking form until about lunchtime!
Afternoon exercise (13.00 -18.00)
So for me this has always been my preferred period of the day to exercise and I find I also perform at my best, in terms of times and general performance. Upon investigation, this is due to factors like body temperature, hormones, breathing capacity, which all peak in the afternoon. Well that makes sense to me now.
The main hindrance is your working day and squeezing this time in. 45 minutes, does it mean you forfeit lunch on a daily basis? Run or cycle home from work? I can understand just the impossibility of training at this time for some people.
But remember, if you want P.B.s, give your body some energy. We would recommend half a Lucho before and half after for a typical 5-10km run.
Evening, is also a good time as I have discovered both through experience and a little research. You have got the day’s work out of the way (hopefully) and your energy levels are good enough to endure a sprint. Your flexibility, muscle strength, and short-term power output (think sprinting) peak in early evening close to the daily maximum in your body temperature. My only problem is how to keep the evenings free from other activities combined with the added tiredness after a day at the office. On top of that, yes in the summer it’s great to get outside but come winter, it’s very difficult to not shut your body down at the end of the working day when it’s dark and cold outside… well it is with mine at least!
- Create a set daily routine.
- Leave your alarm out of reach, so that you have to get out of bed to turn it off.
- Make your snacks/food and mix your drinks ahead of time. Include Carbs, Jam and toast for instance… or a Lucho! You will perform better with carbs than protein.
- Allow for some time for waking up. It’s hard to just get on the trainer and go. I would suggest allowing 30 minutes.
- Always warm up & down, and allow 10 minutes before and after.
- You need to go to bed early to wake up early to train.
- It does take time to get used to the any ritual. Be patient with yourself.
Our conclusion = So, which is it?
This is what I have found having researched in detail but I do feel its inconclusive:
Evening exercise helps to lower your night-time blood pressure; and running in the late afternoon or early evening helps you improve your form and build muscles.
Perceived Science says the best time to run or cycle is late afternoon or early evening. If you are someone intent on running longer, late afternoon and early evening are the best times for training as you are in your best shape at that point of the day. While running in the morning is the best time to run if you want to tackle depression or speed up weight loss.
I personally now think it’s more important to train when it suits you and your body. As long as you train, you will hopefully fall into a routine naturally (three mornings during the week and two afternoons at the weekends for instance).
Everybody is different, it’s a very personal endeavour.
Fuel correctly for your goals
It may seem obvious that in order to make the best of your training you need to have the required energy to do it well. The amount of fuel you need for your morning routine will largely depend on factors such as your weight, the level of effort you plan to put in and your training goals.
Make sure you eat, and fuel. Lucho Dillitos cut up and placed on your porridge for instance, will give you the rocket you need! Don’t neglect this, otherwise your gains and workouts will not hit those targets that have been set. We at Lucho Dillitos believe passionately that natural fuel is always the best.
I hope this helps you to keep going.
Please share this with others and let us have your thoughts, we’d love to hear what works for you.
THE LUCHO TEAM.