There are perks to morning and nighttime workout. The best time to exercise depends largely on you.
Men at risk for diabetes had greater blood sugar control and lost more belly fat when they exercised in the afternoon than in the morning.
Finding time to exercise is really a challenge for many people. Exercise is important, but everyone also has lives with jobs, families, significant others, friends, household duties, errands and, you know, the need for rest and sleep.
Where does exercise fit in, then? Is it better to wake up at the crack of dawn (or earlier) to squeeze in a sweat session, or should you push yourself to extend your long day another 30 to 60 minutes?
Both morning and evening exercise have health benefits and potential pitfalls, but for most people, the right time to exercise is not about how many calories you burn or how much weight you lift — it’s more about how you feel when exercising and how exercise fits into your daily schedule.
Morning workouts truly do have an edge, according to multiple research studies, and offer a list of benefits that might even sway some night owls to get their fitness on in the morning.
People who exercise in the morning are often more consistent simply because morning workouts leave less room for excuses. If you workout first thing in the morning, you can’t skip it in the evening because duties piled up.
Waking up early might be difficult at first, but research suggests that a morning exercise habit can shift your circadian rhythm so that your body is naturally more alert in the morning and more tired in the evening, so you fall asleep earlier and can exercise in the morning again. Morning exercise also seems to boost deep sleep more than evening exercise, according to some research. Plus, sleep helps facilitate muscle growth, so you might even see more strength gains if your circadian rhythm and sleep cycle improve.
Exercising on an empty stomach — in the “fasted state” — is proven to burn more fat than exercising after a meal (in the “fed state”). This happens because your body must utilize fat stores that already exist to fuel exercise, rather than use the food you just ate as fuel. Other research also shows that the “afterburn” lasts longer when you exercise in the morning, which might help you lose weight over time.