Picking the right time of the day to work out tends to take a back seat to everything else happening in your life. You have errands that you have to run, your schedule at work almost always comes first, getting drinks with friends after work, etc. All these things carry with them a specific window of time where they can get done. But exercising can be done anytime, day or night. So how do you decide what time is best to work out?
“I heard that working out in the morning is the best”
When discussing the time of day to work out, some will argue that (Intense Workout):
Doing cardio first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, before you eat anything, is by far, the most effective.”
But I would argue that this is only the case in the smallest percentage of situations. If you are trying to go from 7% body fat to 5%, then very specific tweaks such as the above recommendation may be useful, but for you and I, it doesn’t really apply.
As Always, Stay The Course
Just because the hour of the day doesn’t matter in comparison to other times in the day, that doesn’t mean you should forgo thinking about when you work out altogether. I found a very interesting study over at Conditioning Research that takes a look at how performance is affected by workout time consistency (Ingenta Connect):
The aim of this study was to determine whether there is an effect of time of day on the adaptation to strength training at maximal effort…
These results suggest that training twice a week at a specific hour increases the peak torque and the peak anaerobic power specifically at this hour and demonstrates that there is a temporal specificity to strength training.”
Therefore, it is important for us to assess our schedule and pick a time that best suits your needs. Then try and stick with that window of time whenever possible. If you like to work out in the mornings, then you should stick to morning workouts. If you prefer an evening workout, then work out at night. Know what works best for you!
But The Gym Is Always Crowded When I Go…
Even though gym memberships have been down recently, you may still find that your gym is a bit crowdedThat’s a gym, not a subway (About.com):
The American Council on Exercise polled over 1,500 people to ask them ‘What keeps you from going to the gym?’
The results were a bit surprising given that I expected lack of time or motivation to be number one. Instead, people reported they don’t go to the gym because:
46 percent said the gyms are too crowded.”
But the word “crowded” is vaguer than you may think. Are gyms really crowded or is it just that people tend to do the same thing at the same time? Here are a few things that make most gyms seem more crowded than they really are:
The gym is most crowded on weekdays between 5:00 and 7:00 pm – stay away during these hours
Most human beings work their chests on Monday, so that should be your non-chest day
People tend to stay on a machine/apparatus/workout bench for far too long, so don’t wait for them
If a crowded gym will keep you from going, then you may want to move a few things around in order to accommodate. So use that TiVo, record your favorite show that you will end up missing by working out after 7:00 and watch it after the gym. This way, the gym will be less crowded and you will be much more likely to come back!
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