What’s the best time of day to workout? Fitness trainers answer the most Googled questions

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What time of day should you be exercising? Stylist Strong trainers answer the most Googled health and fitness questions

We all have personal preferences when it comes to exercise. You might love squatting and deadlifting heavy weights, while your best friend prefers a sweaty HIIT class. Some people love getting outside to run while others would rather get their heart rate up in the water. Training fasted works for certain people, while many can’t fathom the idea of even leaving the house without breakfast let alone pushing their body to exercise.

But one difference that really causes a stir is when we train. First thing in the morning, during your lunch break, straight from work or before bed – whatever you do, we bet you can’t imagine any other way. But are you doing it right?

Each week, three trainers from Stylist Strong, Stylist’s fitness brand that runs strength training classes focused on incorporating weights into fitness, answer some of the most asked questions from women who want to get into lifting. This time, they’re letting us know when we should be hitting the gym floor to get the most out of our workouts. 

What’s the best time of day to workout? 

EMMA OBAYUVANA, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“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 of the day, depending on what kind of week they have and tailor that for their own needs. Like 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, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“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, strength training is always best to be fueled 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.” 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MORNING TRAINING?

EMMA OBAYUVANA, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

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 gone through a few meals by now. 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.”

TESS GLYNNE-JONES, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“From experience my most productive clients are in the morning, because it just sets them up pretty well for the day. They’re in a slightly more stressed, productive state for the rest of the day. And they actually seem to be a bit happier too, because I think if you train at the end of the day, stuff can come up that distracts you or you can just be knackered or you might not want to do the exercise. So I’d say morning or lunchtime tend to be the best. I think quite a good tip is that if you have flexibility about when you can take your break, go to the gym mid morning when it’s not so busy then come back and eat at your desk.”

SHOULD YOU TRAIN IN THE EVENING?

EMMA OBAYUVANA, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“Evening training can be good after quite a stressful day. Maybe you had a busy day, and all sorts of things are on your mind, you have a lot of things on your plate to deal with. With evening training you can use all that pent up stress and energy to channel it into your workout and then after get a restful nights sleep. 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. Because for example, having a nice yoga class in an evening that would actually help me to sleep. If you’re just the kind of person that needs a few hours come off from that buzz, just don’t exercise in the evening.”

TESS GLYNNE-JONES, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

Training puts your body into a really stressed state, so you want to sooth your parasympathetic nervous system, reduce that fight or flight mode, 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 me because you’re not sleeping until later anyway. So even if you train to 6pm and you’re going to bed to half 11, that’s what gives your body five and a half hours to chill out and get into recovery mode.”

READY TO START WEIGHT TRAINING?

Stylist Strong is a fitness brand specialising in strength training specifically tailored for women. Our classes are designed to build both physical and mental strength in a smart and informed way.

So, whether you’re a beginner or already have strength-training experience, Stylist Strong has a class to suit you. Come and try our strength-based classes at our own purpose-built studio at The AllBright Mayfair.

Images: Getty

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