What’s the best time of day to workout? Fitness trainers discuss morning vs evening exercise

Posted by for Strong Women

What time of day should you be exercising? Fitness answer the most googled health and fitness questions. 

What’s the best time of day to workout? 

EMMA OBAYUVANA

“This is always subjective depending on the person, what they want to achieve and also their own schedule. A person can choose what time of the day they train and explore different benefits of training at different times, depending on what kind of week they have and tailor that for their own needs. For me, for example: sometimes I go through a period of time where I am doing morning training because my schedule will allow it, or it’s hot and it’s easy to wake up in the morning. But sometimes I have a lot of morning classes and so my training will be in the afternoons.” 

TESS GLYNNE-JONES

“I think this is one that completely depends on the person. So some people will train fasted in the morning, which is absolutely fine. But you might want to adapt your style depending on the time of day. For example, with strength training it’s always best to be fuelled beforehand. So people who train in the morning tend to be more cardio goers than people who train post 9am, once you’ve had time to get some food. But people will respond differently.” 

Woman doing yoga
How to boost your mind-muscle connection for a better workout

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MORNING TRAINING?

EMMA OBAYUVANA

Some studies show that training fasted in the morning, on a completely empty stomach is the optimal time to train. It can mentally set you up for the day, you’ll feel more organised, refreshed or energised for the day. Training after breakfast or lunch can have benefits, too – you might have a little bit more energy because you may have eaten a couple of meals. You’ll be able to actually really go for powerful, intense workouts, whether that’s resistance or cardio. And also, another good reason for training at lunchtime specifically is you might avoid that afternoon slump at work because of your endorphins post training.”

SHOULD YOU TRAIN IN THE EVENING?

EMMA OBAYUVANA

“Evening training can be good after quite a stressful day so you can use all that pent up stress and energy to channel into your workout and get a restful night’s sleep afterwards. We can also have a longer time to work out, as there’s nowhere to go after. But evening exercise can make you overstimulated, so make sure that there’s ample amount of time between you finishing the workout and actual bedtime. 

Often our schedules are busy, so we find the latest class, race to the gym really late, do the workout, rush home, have a shower and then try and sleep all within an hour of finishing. We need time to come down from the buzz of exercise before we sleep. You can avoid that by choosing what kind of workout you do. For example, having a nice yoga class in the evening would actually help me to sleep. If you’re just the kind of person that needs a few hours to come off from that buzz, just don’t exercise in the evening.”

TESS GLYNNE-JONES

Training puts your body into a really stressed state, so you want to soothe your parasympathetic nervous system, , after you train especially if you’re training in the evening. So if you train intensely late at night, and then even if you sleep pretty well, it might take your body a couple of hours to actually go into recovery mode. 

I would suggest training earlier in the day, pre-5 or 6pm. If you’re not a morning person, it’s still better to do some sort of exercise even if it’s late at night than none at all. In a book called Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker it basically says you are naturally an early bird or night owl and you can’t change that. So if you’re someone who stays up really late and doesn’t like getting up early, you would benefit more from training late because you’re not sleeping until later anyway. Even if you train until 6pm and you’re going to bed at 11.30pm, that still gives your body five and a half hours to chill out and get into recovery mode.”

Follow @StrongWomenUK on Instagram for the latest workouts, delicious recipes and motivation from your favourite fitness experts.

Images: Getty

Sign up for workouts, nutritious recipes and expert tips. You'll also get your Beginner's Guide To Strength Training.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Share this article