Wake Up To The Power Of One
The Law of Finding Your Time
Like how some of us are morning people or night owls, crushing your workout to your peak capacity can be as crucial as getting to the gym in the first place. While the debate over the ideal workout time continues, it ultimately boils down to your personal preference, lifestyle, and goals.
“Success is what comes after you stop making excuses.” — Luis Galarza
Here are the various factors that influence your best time to workout and help you find your fitness sweet spot. This is the Law of Finding Your Time.
Kickstarting Your Day — The Morning People
Early risers will always tell you they’ve been up early to work up a sweat, maybe because of that fancy catchphrase: #RiseAndGrind. Exercising in the morning can jumpstart your metabolism and set a positive tone for the day. With an early boost of mood-enhancing endorphins, you can enjoy a natural energy enhancement that lasts throughout the day. Morning workouts are also less likely to be affected by schedule conflicts, ensuring you make it to the gym and are consistent in your routine. Don’t forget the power of a good warmup if you choose mornings — wake up that body gradually!
An Afternoon Delight — Peak Performance Hours
As the day progresses, so does your body's temperature and muscle function. Studies suggest that physical performance tends to improve — and maybe even peak — in the afternoon, making it an ideal time for more strenuous workouts. Body temperature, muscle strength, and reaction times tend to be at their highest, reducing the risk of injury and improving overall performance.
If you’re into a varied routine such as strength training or HIIT, think about striving for afternoon sessions. This time frame allows you to make the most of your body's physical capabilities, pushing yourself to achieve better results.
The Evening Unwind — The Night Owls
Evening workouts offer a chance to unwind and release the stress accumulated throughout the day. Many of us have busy mornings or unpredictable schedules, making evenings the most convenient time to exercise. Additionally, body temperature tends to be slightly higher in the evening compared to the morning, potentially reducing the risk of injury and enhancing flexibility.
Engaging in a workout during the evening can be an effective way to signal the body that it's time to wind down. Post-exercise, your body's cooling process can help promote better sleep, which is essential for overall health and recovery.
Your Personal Body Clock
There’s no denying it: Individual differences play a significant role in determining the best time to work out. Don’t forget to consider your natural inclination for being a morning person or night owl. Listen to your body and choose a time that aligns with your preferences. As always, consistency in your workout routine is paramount, no matter what time you choose.
Food, Fitness, and Timing
Beyond the clock, the timing of your workout in relation to your last meal can significantly impact your performance. Understanding how nutrition intertwines with exercise timing can help you optimize your fitness routine.
1. The Before Breakfast Slog
For those who prefer morning workouts, the debate around exercising on an empty stomach persists. Some argue that fasted cardio, or exercising before breakfast, can enhance fat burning. When you work out in a fasted state, your body relies on stored glycogen and fat for energy, potentially aiding in weight loss. The key is to listen to your body. If you find yourself feeling fatigued or dizzy, it might not be for you, so don’t force it.
2. Post-Meal Sessions
On the flip side, working out after a meal can provide a source of readily available energy. For more intense workouts, such as weightlifting or high-intensity training, this can be particularly beneficial. A balanced meal containing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats about 2-3 hours before exercise can contribute to sustained energy levels during your workout.
3. Snacking and Working Out
Afternoon workouts often fall between meals, requiring a strategic approach to eating. Consuming a small, balanced snack about 30-60 minutes before your workout can provide the necessary fuel without causing digestive discomfort — even something as simple as a piece of fruit can go a long way.
Snacks rich in carbohydrates and a moderate amount of protein, such as a banana with nut butter or yogurt with granola, also offer a quick energy boost. Experiment with different options to find what sits well with your stomach and sustains your energy levels throughout the session.
4. Dining or Training?
Balancing dinner and exercise timing is crucial for the night owls out there. Eating a well-rounded meal 2-3 hours before your workout can ensure you have the necessary energy without feeling too full. Alternatively, a smaller, easily digestible snack about 30 minutes before exercising can provide a quick energy boost. Then, you can top up on that protein after your session. Remember to adequately hydrate with any workout to support recovery and prevent dehydration, which can hinder performance.
Your Clock, Your Workout
In reality, the best time to work out is the time that fits seamlessly into your daily life and allows you to maintain a consistent routine. Whatever gets you to the gym! Whether you're an early bird, a midday exerciser, or a night owl, finding your fitness sweet spot is about aligning your workout schedule with your individual preferences and lifestyle.
Pay attention to how your body responds to different approaches and choose the time that makes you feel most motivated. Then, incorporate a thoughtful approach to nutrition based on your workout time to enhance your experience. The synergy between when you eat and when you work out is a personalized journey, so be patient and attentive to your body's signals for the best results.
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